FERNANDO CORREA

Ecuador 2020 | REAL ESTATE & CONSTRUCTION | INTERVIEW

SEMAICA is cementing its position in Ecuador's tourism and mining sectors.

Fernando Correa
BIOGRAPHY

Fernando Correa is a civil engineer, specialized in construction and design of sustainable buildings thanks to his time at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, US. He has a master's in project management and engineering systems from the University of Cornell, a certification in business management from Universidad San Francisco de Quito, and a specialization through the master's program of business management at Harvard Business School. He has served as president of the Consejo Ecuatoriano de Edificación Sustentable (CEES) and on the boards for Servialimentos, de Urgenpro, de Textiles Texsa, de Enkador, GONZYOLA Cia., among others. He is a third-generation manager for Semaica, and his main challenge is to increase innovation and sustainability in construction, engineering, and design.

How would you describe SEMAICA's track record in the construction sector, and which projects have made it the organization it is today?

SEMAICA started as the entrepreneurial venture between two engineers who made a name for themselves. They were sought after to build the National Social Security Institute's headquarters in Quito, Ecuador, in partnership with a major developer. That building, the largest project in Ecuador at the time, made us the company we are today. From the beginning, our philosophy has been to holistically approach the idea, design, and building of any project and to include innovative trends, practices, and techniques into every project. We hold important sector milestones in Ecuador such as pioneering the use of Italian marble and being the first company to use a computer made for construction. It was important for us to transform the company from a family-owned enterprise to a process-driven corporation that would provide our stakeholders the confidence to invest in our growth. In 2015, we obtained our ISO 9001 certification that standardized and stabilized many of our procedures and practices. Other projects that have marked our trajectory in Ecuador are the CFN headquarters, the CIESPAL building, and the Rumiñahui Coliseum. We had the privilege of participating in the NASA satellite tracking antennas project and the two main tunnels in Guayaquil. We were the first Ecuadorian company to build a tunnel. Overall, our biggest strength is our versatility as we can jump on a trend quickly. We are currently building five new hotels after a long hiatus without projects in this sector, which reflects the increasing importance of the hospitality sector.

How have you adapted to the country's needs?

We have historically supported Ecuador by obtaining the know-how and fulfilling needs such as building viaducts in the 1960s to solve drinking water shortages and distribution problems. A few decades later, we built tunnels and roads to better connect cities, and now we support tourism growth by allowing big chains to increase their offerings and satisfy demand. We have also diversified and reduced our dependence on public projects and shifted focus to the private sector, with industrial and tourism projects currently in our pipeline.

Regarding the extractive sectors, how will you increase your participation?

As a construction company and EPC services provider, we created the concept of high-value engineering. We approach all projects by working with the idea, materials, and design to make sure we are comfortable with the projects. Over time, we developed the knowledge base to become a consultancy partner for our clients, and by improving the faulty elements in other stakeholders' work, we acquired the skills to become a project integrator. We are now able to orchestrate and harmonize all stakeholders in any projects. Although we participate in tenders, we are focused on building megaprojects in a way that we can design, prospect, build, and service the whole project. With regard to mining, we were involved in building the largest tunnel in the history of the country, delivering it six months ahead of schedule. If Lundin's operations are successful, it will generate trust amongst global players to invest in Ecuador. We are open to joint ventures. We have successfully partnered for every major project we have built, as we understand the need for the expertise of different stakeholders. We have also been able to apply the lessons of every project on to the next one.

What are some of SEMAICA's main plans and projects for 2020?

For 2020, we are looking to further expand regionally with two projects in Peru and growing our office in Bolivia. Historically, we have had great success working abroad, and we are confident it will both diversify our operations by hedging our risks whilst also better positioning our brand internationally and give us a better chance to become the preferred partner of choice for major foreign groups in future projects.