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Ricardo Varela from El Salvador: A Handmade Man

In our world of companies and industries, the history of economies lies in the biography of more than great, unbeatable men.

That is the case of our professional of the month, Ricardo Varela, whose history is, of course, subject to the recent history of a country that until recently was very conflictive and has now been reborn from its ashes. The beginning
"I was born on March 31, 1968, in San Salvador, I am the last of four children (two women and two men). I did basic education in the Salvadoran public system (between 1974 and 1985) and university education at the Central American University José Simeón Cañas where I obtained the title of electrical engineer, but I have worked in the industry since 1994. Immediately after graduating from college he found himself needing to work; however, the working conditions in the country have not been the best, so, assisted by his brother, he entered to work (without receiving salary) in a sugar factory; he was later hired (his first paid job) at a plastics factory called Omniplastic. In search of improvements he was located in a refrigerator factory called Cetron in El Salvador. Until that time his positions had been in industrial maintenance headquarters, during which time he did not have much contact with the HVAC areas. But he is quick to add that "during the year 1994, I made a decision that was going to greatly change the course of my life. While still working as an industrial maintenance manager at the Cetron factory in El Salvador, I chose to look for another type of work area within which to work. I thought about prospecting and commercially and administratively directing a company dedicated to technical areas. I thought that moment was propitious, since our country has just emerged from a civil war of more than ten years. The outlook was ideal for an economic boom.

Shortly after I decided to give a rudder to my career, I contacted the engineer Rodolfo Cacacho Romano, a person of Guatemalan origin, at that time regional manager for El Salvador of a company, with the capital of the same country; which was just entering a reengineering process and as a first step, it had been decided to hire a manager to take over the operation in El Salvador. The name of this company was Distribuidora Granada".

And he continues "the central challenge was to take it out of its puerile stage, in which it had been for many years, and transform it into the leading industrial air conditioning and refrigeration company in the Salvadoran market. In addition to being a new work area (HVAC), the challenge of transforming the traditional chores of Granada sounded interesting. At that time I did not imagine how great and generous this responsibility was, in addition to the opportunity that in the future I would have.

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Two years ago a group of investors offered me to create a new company in the field. Having the opportunity to stop being a salaried employee and become a partner in a new dream, I didn't think much about it; and, even with all the risks that a change of these entailed, I decided to found Frioaire Internacional de El Salvador. We had set ourselves the goal of achieving leadership in less than two years (an achievement that in the beginning was seen as a utopia), which was achieved in less time than expected, thanks to the effort of all of us who worked and the daring investors of Frioaire. " His story might seem easy, but it is an achievement that resulted from hard work and constant reflection. The way to do it was to anticipate events and be very aware of the client.

In terms of technology, Varela thinks that the business must be directed towards integration with the automation of refrigeration and HVAC machines, in order to avoid downtime in the search for failures, energy efficiency, low operating costs, better local or remote control, etc.

In El Salvador, the guild still needs to be guided in the search for cutting-edge solutions. "As a business leader, even though we are leaders in the field, we need to consolidate ourselves as a safe and accurate option for our market, that implies having the largest and most varied collection of merchandise, without falling into the obsolescence of products, and we are reaching it by shoring up our logistics area. Regarding our human resources, we have the conviction to forge new people from making the best choice of personnel.

In our country there are no consolidated academic careers oriented to our industry, so training sales executives, technicians, logistics personnel, is a real challenge and requires an exhaustive knowledge of the field, a lot of work and the appropriate patience and understanding. "

Learn, trying
When asked the reason for his success, Ricardo reflects and affirms that in Frioaire, a manager should achieve the full development of his skills in order to achieve in an ideal way the objectives set for the company. In particular, it should think about general and particular objectives, design work plans to achieve these objectives, select the best possible personnel, constantly induce and train staff, motivate them to perform their operations and tasks in the expected way, monitor the development of plans in order to correct mistakes or modify plans that are necessary and finally collect data that reflects the scope of the goals set. in order to define new goals or modify those that were not achieved.

"In this sense, one of the objectives of Frioaire is to give the best technical advice (information, advice, tips) to our customers in order to avoid delays, reprocesses, damage and material or human losses, in daily chores."

Also in a humble way, Varela admits that it is from the small daily struggles, from which the most is learned. "We can learn from equipment or artifacts that were damaged by not considering all the factors that can affect their application, up to hours of time lost (or invested in case of considering it learning) due to lack of attention to fundamental details due to the fatigue caused by many hours of continuous work.

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There have been many stories of improvisations in the Hollywood style, in order to save or try to save difficult technical and commercial defeats, also many victories thanks to skillful planning and to consider that all caution is little when it comes to achieving great goals. "

"Our country has had political stability for 17 years, which has allowed us not to have shocks or sharp turns, which attracts foreign investment. In fact, our company Frioaire, is an example of that foreign investment, so I see a flattering future in the short and medium term, the industry is expanding in several of the sectors that make up our sector.

Seeing the 13 years that I have been working in this sector of the industry, I realize that when I started the road I saw mainly technical people who by tradition and transmission of work, were involved in this industry, however, more or less five years ago to date, I see a growing group of professionals from various disciplines (engineers of all branches, administrators, accountants, military) joining the industries, which I do not see as a coincidence, but as the vision of good times that have begun to be felt. "

Varela, is also a man who has achieved great success in his personal life "when talking about my family I have to say that there are two facets that have been fundamental in my development. The first, which I have already mentioned, is that of my parents and siblings, which was fundamental in all areas of my development, mainly in the structuring of my self-esteem. The second, the one I currently enjoy, is my nuclear family, which is made up of my wife and two children. My current family group is the reason why I live, I move and I am." He enjoys football and karaoke and the only activity that manages to get him out of these obvies are of course his passion for the work he does.

The philosophy of this skilled and imaginative professional is summarized thanks to a few words that he shares with us: "throughout my career I have tried to establish a dialectic between university theory and street practice, the academic philosopher versus the mechanic tanned based on experiences. All this in order to match the millenary physical principles (almost immovable) with everyday observations. In the evolution of the theses (theory) and the antitheses (practices) I have achieved very good learning".

Julián Arcila Restrepo
Author: Julián Arcila Restrepo
Chief Marketer
Communications professional, MBA, specialized in designing and executing successful Public Relations and Digital Marketing campaigns with more than 14 years of experience in areas related to communications.

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