HÉCTOR QUEZADA

Mexico 2020 | REAL ESTATE & CONSTRUCTION | VIP INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Héctor Quezada, Director General of Victaulic, on the company's recent accomplishments, new products, and the modernization of the energy sector in Mexico.

What was the greatest accomplishment of Victaulic in Mexico in 2019?

It is a complicated question because the Mexican economy saw little growth in 2019. One of our greatest accomplishments this past year was to consolidate our presence in the markets we work operate in. There is general concern because the amount of business has fallen in all sectors, especially in energy generation and oil, gas & chemical; however, in turn, this has helped boost demand for solutions that have added value. We can present our solutions as higher quality, less risk, and with more added value than competitive pipe joining methods. Now, we are focused on working with the new refinery to present alternative pipe joining solutions aimed at improving installation efficiency and safety.

Considering the volatility of the industry, what strategies are you using to mitigate those risks?

Our main goal is to transform systems that use old pipe joining and fluid control technologies toward new and innovative technology. To modernize and add value in installation, security, and efficiency. We are being more aggressive, taking more risks, and are providing extended warranties up to 30 years for new constructions. We are being aggressive because we trust our solutions, despite the fact that many sectors still see the initial cost as prohibitive. We will be working more on market penetration in 2020.

What are the most important products you offer?

We offer a hybrid fire extinguishing system, Victaulic Vortex, that uses hybrid technology to extinguish fires in special applications utilizing, nitrogen and a small volume of water as the extinguishing agents. It is an extremely versatile and 100 percent green technology since it does not use exotic or toxic chemicals to extinguish fires. Victaulic Vortex is used in control rooms, archives, data centers, museums and machine rooms. It has significant advantages over traditional water based fire sprinklers systems, CO2, and fire suppression systems based on more exotic chemicals. We can now be used on smaller diameter pipes where their traditional installation via threading was extremely dirty and labor intensive, and that is changing the fire protection industry. We have a wide range of pipe joints for fire protection piping systems that offer fast installation and a union at every joint which significantly increases efficiency during the initial pipe installation and during maintenance.

Is there a particular sector that you have identified to diversify your current portfolio?

We have always targeted all sectors, for example industrial, oil & gas and fire protection, since our pipe joining and flow control solutions can be utilized on a wide range of piping application. If there is a construction project that requires fire protection or piping and valving for fluid transmission, we are there. Right now, we are being more aggressive in pursuing projects that we may have missed in the past. We are trying to communicate better among divisions within the company, so that we have information on time and can therefore participate with our solutions such as in projects for medium-sized malls, hotels, and food storage facilities. Last year (2019) was the first year where we did not experience growth in the past 15 years. We foresee the six-year period of the current government to be a period of slowed growth.

Do you plan to launch new products in Mexico?

We are focused on innovation, and a large percentage of our investments goes toward that goal. We are always developing new products; that is the heart of Victaulic. We are also looking into new technologies for pipe insulation, automated pipe preparation tools, and joining solutions for plastic piping.

What is needed the most in Mexico to renovate processes in the energy sectors?

We need new plants, such as the refineries. Also, Mexico must invest in new power plants, including alternative energy sources such as solar and hydroelectric, and we provide a range of value added solutions for all sectors. When reviewing a project, we sit down with our partners so they can understand that their total installed cost will be lower by using Victaulic solutions, even though the initial cost is higher when compared to traditional pipe joining methods. Victaulic solutions help reduce risks and increases efficiency during piping system installations. We are willing to work with them to show them the numbers and programs. There can be a reduction of costs of around 5-10%. We use work with engineering to use 3D modeling of the piping system design to increase the construction efficiency and reduce waste.