Rodrigo Archer

Country Manager, ArcelorMittal

Although Central American economies are small, they are growing every year by 3-5%. In Central America, there are two different zones, the north and south triangles. ArcelorMittal saw an opportunity to buy the only producer in the south triangle in 2008 from Pujol Group. At the time, it was the only asset available in the region, and the owners were willing to do business. The strategy was to maintain a presence in every part of the world, and in that sense Costa Rica has a strategic position. From here, we can ship material to countries such as Panama, the Dominican Republic, Trinidad and Tobago, and Nicaragua—the main economies in the zone. The high level of education was also taken in consideration. We have also taken advantage of the construction boom whose investments have mostly been made by the private sector.

Eladio Bolaños

President, AMCO

AMCO was founded in January in 2000 as a construction company mainly focused on infrastructure projects such as pipe installation, pavement, and everything related to exterior works for residential and commercial projects. In 2009, we began to produce and sell premixed concrete. This project was initially created for our own consumption because of a shortage during the economic bonanza. However, some of our construction clients then started to approach us to supply them with materials, so we decided to transform our business and create an independent line for supplying materials to our clients. We did not foresee the effects of the economic crisis of that year, but were considering whether to continue with this business or not. We decided to continue; thankfully we were well received by the market and since then have had sustained growth.

Manuel Bonilla

General Manager, Ingenya

We are a consulting company; we design and support through construction dealing and construction administration through site inspection. The approach at that time was to integrate into a single office for all services related to design and construction. In 2001, we were awarded with a project for Intel in Guadalajara. This marked an evolution for the company in two senses. First, it gave us an inclination toward industrial projects that we have maintained until today. Second, it provided us with a lot of knowledge on how to deal with first-world engineering and design. These types of projects were extremely intensive in requirements and procedures as well as technical capabilities. At the same time, we were able to apply all this knowledge for other clients.

Luis Diego Castro

General Manager, Aluma Systems

Aluma has a presence in more than 30 countries around the world and is divided into five different divisions. Costa Rica was one of the first countries in the region where Aluma began its operations. We rent and sell construction equipment and have three divisions in Costa Rica. First, the engineering division, which provides forming and shoring for construction. We also sell our equipment, although rental is our core business. We also have the mechanical equipment division and offer generators and certain compact equipment. The third division in Costa Rica is the environmental division, with portable toilets for rental. We rent for all types of industry and economic activities; however, we are basically focused on construction, agriculture, and industrial operations. We also rent portable toilets for special events such as concerts or trade fairs.

Freed Corrales

General Manager, Rodio-Swissboring Costa Rica

We were pioneers in the private sector because previously there had only been the state-run telecom and electric company, ICE. It is the pioneer in all geo-technical work as a whole, while in the private sector there were no formal contractors in this area. In the beginning, it was hard to enter this market because we had to explain to clients what we could do, our technology, and the reasons and benefits of using such a system. In 2005, our first formal competitor entered the market. We have to compete against traditional competitors at the global level. In 2017, and looking to 2018, the market has matured, and our competitors are improving so we have to be open to more technical solutions. At the current level of maturity in the market, we seek to make another revolution in the market.

Jorge Monge

General Manager, Meridia

Meridia just won its 77th project and is growing strong as one of the major project management service providers in the region. We started back in 2008 in a market that did not understand the role of a project manager and had just before been hit by recession. Initially, our largest projects were oriented toward second home residencies for people from the US, which due to the 2008 crisis were halted and forced a major restructuring within the company. With that we had to learn to adapt and grow conservatively in a complex environment. MERIDIA started as an exclusively PM firm involved in real estate and construction projects and has remained like this for over nine years, mostly because we believe this to be one of our key differentiators that provide an important value to our clients.

Salo Ponchner

General Manager, Multifrio

We have tried to be different and have focused on services and providing something extra to our customers. One of the things we have done on the engineering side are our Smart Investment and Cool Design programs, which have been running for several years and put in place the best technology. We have over 45 engineers who are experts in air conditioning and attend courses all over the world so that we can offer our customers the best and latest technology. We put all these technologies and brands together to give our customers the best for every type of project. We go further, not just talking about air conditioning, ventilation, automation, and controls, but consulting on the kind of windows, insulation, and building materials.

Rolando Vega

General Manager, STC

We have been in the market for 28 years. The background of the founders was in design and the construction of hydroelectric plants such as Arenal, Corobici, and Ventanas Garita owned by the governmental Costa Rican Institute of Electricity (ICE). After the first few years, during the first presidential term of Oscar Arias, and according to his state plan to build 80,000 houses, Setecoop opened its business portfolio, which included housing construction. Later in 1990 Setecoop was the contractor for the supervision of Birris Hydroelectric plant and diversified the company in heavy engineering, housing, and quality control, always working as a consulting company. In the 1990s, it opened a construction division and started to build industrial buildings, refrigerated warehouses, and took part in industrial parks, free trade zones, and banks.