Martin Westney explains the security and energy-saving benefits of AGT glass products, his growing portfolio of clients, and the opportunities available to foreign firms in Kurdistan.
Can you give us some details about AGT?
AGT was established in 2009, but I have been in the window film industry for over 21 years. We have installed projects in Jordan, Nigeria, Mauritania, and Kenya. Our most popular products are anti-blast window films and anchoring systems. We take the existing glass and apply a special film on the inside. It is perfectly clear and will hold the glass in place should there be a blast or a natural disaster. It will stop people inside from getting lacerated, greatly reducing injury and the risk of death. Approximately 75% of injuries from a blast are from flying glass! It is all about mitigating as best as you can, and it is not overly expensive compared to the benefits it can offer. We have a range of solar films as well for reducing heat, reducing glare, and cutting out ultraviolet light.
Interview with Martin Westney – AGT London
What are the benefits of your products?
With the blast mitigation film, it is tested to international standards. There is a certain GSA (General Services Administration) and BS EN (British and European) standard that is a blast of 100 kilos equivalent from 33 meters. There are anchoring systems that we can use as well that will anchor the film into the frames, offering even greater levels of protection. The film strengthens the glass and, due to the super strong adhesive, helps to absorb the blast pressure. So you have already, instantly reduced the amount of serious injuries and fatalities. And it is not very expensive. It is probably one of the cheapest things you can do to reduce the risk to life. Because our films are invisible, no one knows they are there. We can combine solar film with the safety film, or you can just have solar protection. Again, for not a lot of money, you are creating a work environment that is healthier for the people working there. For us, it is about creating a safe and comfortable environment for people to work in.
When does AGT enter a project?
We normally come in right at the end when everything is finished, because everything we do is retrofit. We can do it on any building that is already here. Because of what we do, it has to be as dust-free as possible- going into a building site is no good for us.
Where do you place Kurdistan in terms of risk?
I think it is a perceived risk. Everywhere is dangerous to a degree. Kurdistan is as safe as anywhere I have been. You feel less threatened. The people are incredibly friendly, and everyone is very welcoming.
What are the company’s priorities in 2015 and beyond?
We would like to cement our foundations in the Kurdistan Region and expand into other cities. Our aim is to be here long-term and offer the right service and products for the right price. We have been working with Total, DNO, and Marathon. We have done a lot for Falcon Construction. Currently, most of our projects are for the oil companies- as they move into new offices they have certain safety regulations to follow and the anti blast window film is one of them. Erbil is currently our base, but we are starting to look at projects in Slemani. We can transfer our skills and staff and start working there, along with Erbil, then we will look at Duhok as well. We would also like to do more projects for government agencies and NGOs here.