A DRIVING FORCE

Colombia 2016 | INFRASTRUCTURE & CONSTRUCTION | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to José Joaquín Ortiz García, CEO of JOYCO, on the company's strategy, factors of success, and the impact of the government's efforts on the 4G project.

José Joaquín Ortiz García
BIOGRAPHY
José Joaquín Ortiz García graduated as a Civil Engineer from Universidad Javeriana and obtained a Master’s in Environmental Engineering from Universidad de Los Andes. He moved to England in 1996 to pursue an Master’s in International Highway Engineering and went on to obtain his PhD from the University of Birmingham in 2000. He joined ATKINS, a major British engineering consultancy in 2001, where he advised a number of highway authorities on strategic planning of highway maintenance in the UK and abroad before returning to Bogotá in 2007 to lead JOYCO. He managed the transition of JOYCO as a family company to its second generation and is now its general manager.

What is your strategy regarding planning and design?

We are driven to have projects finished on time, according to the budget and to the quality required by the client; this is our main purpose. The founder of the company, my father, used to say, “Colombia is about to be built," and today the country is still under construction. We, therefore, modified it to our vision, which is one of transformation, progress, and wellbeing through infrastructure. This means that we truly want to be a key player in the transformation of Colombia through the provision of quality infrastructure. We do so with the clear understanding that most of the resources that we manage are public resources, and we, therefore, have to ensure that those resources are well invested to make Colombia a better place; this is what drives us. We have a number of testing laboratories around the country in addition to our central lab in Bogotá, which is operated as a center of excellence from which quality standards are transferred to the satellite labs. Planning and design are key steps to ensure that projects are well structured before they are put forward to the market. Our experience in delivering projects positions us on a good platform to provide planning and design services.

What factors have driven the company's success?

The main factor is the track record of the company; we have successfully delivered more than 150 projects in Colombia, ranging from road design contracts to the supervision of multi-year concession contracts. This experience is instrumental in the preparation of tenders for our public sector clients. Another important factor is the financial health of the company; we strive to maintain strong balance sheets and financial indicators that keep us ahead of similar companies. Our partners provide project experience as well as operational and financial capabilities that, when combined with our own, results in successful tenders for large contracts. Finally, we have strengthened our bid team, which invariably produces impeccable offers. All of these factors have lead to an attractive client portfolio that includes INVIAS, ANI, IDU, the Ministry of Transport, Fondo de Adaptación, and the Ministry of Information Technologies and Communications, all of whom are modernizing the infrastructure and transportation services in Colombia. Traditionally, we have focused on providing services to public sector clients, but nowadays we have expanded our portfolio to cover 4G concessionaires, particularly in our role as Lenders Technical Advisors, a key role providing lenders with confidence in the execution of these megaprojects.

How do you assess the efforts that the government is making to develop the 4G roads?

I welcome the initiative and the effort that the government is making to push forward the development of road infrastructure in Colombia. The many offers that were received by ANI for the 4G program demonstrates that there is interest in the market, and it is encouraging to see large international contractors and concessionaires associated with traditional local construction firms, as this should bring expertise and state-of-the-art construction techniques. I expect to see positive transfer of knowledge as a result. On the other hand, the 30-50 offers received by ANI for the Interventoría contracts was excessive, indicating that the tender requirements were low. This raises doubts regarding the quality of the service that ANI will receive from some of the winners, who in some cases do not have a track record of delivering projects of this magnitude. The level of planning and design at which the tender documents were issued is better than what we have seen in the past; however, there is still room for improvement. The provision of infrastructure through concession contracts will ensure that the road network is maintained for the duration of the contracts, providing the required level of service that is otherwise difficult to achieve.