Odebrecht gains recognition in this country for offering growth opportunities to its members
Odebrecht Mexico Members: confidence in youth
Written by: Leonardo Maia | Photo by: Roberto Rosa
For the third consecutive year, Odebrecht Mexico has garnered the title of Socially Responsible Business from the Social Responsibility Alliance (AliaRSE) and the Mexican Center for Philanthropy (Cemefi). By making socially responsible management an integral part of its business strategy, for the second time the company has also secured a place on the list of “100 Best Companies to Work For,” based on a survey conducted by the Great Place to Work Institute that measures the quality of the working environment and the strength of the company’s organizational culture.
According to Luis Weyll, CEO of Odebrecht Mexico, these accolades are mainly the result of the priority the company ascribes to its members and community relations. “The application of the Odebrecht Entrepreneurial Technology gives us outstanding management, which is clearly evident in the way our teams work together and interact, and how we deal with communities, unions and other institutions. In addition to all this, our concern for occupational safety and the social and environmental aspects of our operations creates a basis for sustainable growth.”
The effort to hone members’ expertise gets special attention on both of the Odebrecht projects now underway in that country - the upgrading and expansion of the General Lázaro Cárdenas del Río Refinery for Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex) in Minatitlán, and the Michoacán Farm Irrigation Project for the State Government of Michoacán. “Mexico is becoming a hub for grooming skilled professionals who go on to work in other markets. Professionals here have similar qualifications to those of their counterparts in Brazil,” observes Luis.
In this context, the highlight is the Michoacán project, which currently has 15 members who have taken part in the Young Partners program. They are working on a project with a strong social aspect that will supply water to a drought-stricken region of the country. A dam and two channels will irrigate farmland in that area. Evaristo Martinez, a 25-year-old engineer, is proud to be playing an active role in this process. “Water produces direct benefits for society. The public’s satisfaction is a well-known fact. They offer us fruit to thank us for our work.” Evaristo joined Odebrecht 18 months ago and plans to make his career with the company. “Here, young people are trusted, which makes our responsibility even greater. If more trust were placed in Mexico’s youth, I am convinced that this country would be better. We feel like we own the business,” he says.
Tzitziki Del Vale is also 25 and has a degree in Economics. Her eyes shine when she talks about her work at Michoacán. “This is one of the most important projects in the country, and the first job opportunity for nearly all the young partners here. I live at the campsite from Monday through Friday, working alongside different people who all share the desire to develop. This isn’t just a job for me – it’s where I live, make friends and create affinities,” says Tzitziki.
Engineer Álvaro Monroy, 28, is also working on the Minatitlán project, and he has ambitious plans for the future. He was pleasantly surprised by the group interview that took place during the hiring process, which is unusual in his country, as well as when the then-CEO of Odebrecht Mexico, Miguel Peres, called him by name on the second day of interviews. “I was the one with everything to gain and I couldn’t even remember his name! That caught my attention and showed how much the company values people. I soon realized that this was a career-making company.” Speaking excellent Portuguese with a very slight accent, Alvaro reveals one of his dreams: working in Brazil. “My first goal was learning Portuguese. When I joined the company, I saw that it was highly internationalized, and began studying the language. Today my main target is Brazil,” he says.
Basis for growth
Growth is the watchword at Odebrecht Mexico, which focuses on specific areas to make that market one of the most important ones for the company in Latin America. Investing in people is a top priority. “Our youth is committed and adherence to our culture is strong. People’s education and training will be our springboard for growth. We want to transform ourselves into a mature market by 2012, operating as a local company,” underscores Luis Weyll.
The pursuit of maturity is taking place at a time when Odebrecht Mexico is coming of age, with 18 years’ experience in that country. Its track record includes projects that have become national landmarks, such as the Los Huites Dam. “Mexico is experiencing a new stage of growth. It is one of the two largest economies in Latin America, but only has a 2% share of exports from Brazil. Its economy is worth USD 1 trillion, close to that of the USA, which creates a very attractive market for the operations of several Odebrecht companies,” adds Luis.
For example, Braskem is making its biggest foreign investment in Mexico – Ethylene XXI, a USD 2.5-billion petrochemical project underway in Vera Cruz. The majority partner in the venture, with a 65% stake, Braskem will form a partnership with IDESA of Mexico. The plant will go into operation by 2015, producing up to a million metric tons of ethylene and polyethylene annually. “We have a synergistic relationship with Braskem and Odebrecht Engenharia Industrial (the Organization’s industrial engineering subsidiary). We are joining forces to benefit both partners. We can’t just be builders. Now we are also investors and want to make projects feasible for this country,” says Luis Weyll.
During the three-year period between 2010 and 2012, Odebrecht is focusing on integrated projects in the water supply and energy sectors. This is a market niche that meets the urgent requirements of states like México, Michoacán, Vera Cruz, Campeche and Tamaulipas. “Our plan is to gain ground in each state of the federation. We will partner up with midsize companies and deliver solutions that include financial structuring,” says Luis. “Today, 90% of this country’s energy is dependent on oil. The Mexican Government has plans to shift to 40% renewables. Projects like these will receive special incentives,” he observes.
Odebrecht Mexico Members: confidence in youth
Workers’ professional education gets special attention