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Yes it is possible: Andrés Concha from Chile

Tenacity and commitment have given this professional the success that today allows him to look at the horizon saying with pride: doing business "yes it is possible, you can".

by Iván Darío Quintero

Andrés Concha was born in December 1943, in a stately neighborhood of the city of Santiago. A beautiful place with buildings of French architecture of the nineteenth century. Old trees and cobblestone streets were the ones that welcomed him and accompanied him during the first years of his life.

From there, the engineer moved to a mountain sector of Santiago, where with many friends I enjoy football on the street and conversations on the corners. He grew up at a time when parties ended early and hippie movements and rock music were just appearing; the last generation of young people without television.

Approach to refrigeration

The encounter with education was held at the Hermanos de La Salle school and later he moved to the Barros Arana National Boarding School. In 1968 he completed his training as an industrial mechanical engineer at the Technical University of the State.

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The first steps as an engineer were taken in the North American tire industry, General INSA. During the time he was there, he was permeated by the values they studied: planning, responsibility, punctuality and professionalism. The same values that have accompanied him since then, in each of his activities and ventures.

As Chile expanded its economic borders, exports of food and non-traditional products soared. Chile went from a mono-exporting country (copper), to a multi-exporter, entering the global market strongly with seafood, agricultural and other products that today make up the wide export basket offered by this country.

At that time, Concha was invited by the engineer Ronald DeSoto, from the Catholic University of Chile, to start what Concha himself called: "the adventure of refrigeration for the preservation of food". From that moment on, both dedicated their lives to making possible the marketing, distribution, and export of food.

Andrés Concha founded the company Refricentro S.A. in 1979 and began work with a work team that was reduced to his secretary and a technician. Today 29 years later, the company is made up of approximately 200 people operating 4 plants, where systems for industrial refrigeration, industrial doors and insulating panels are manufactured. The company has commercial premises in Santiago and southern Chile, as well as a commercial platform in the United States, to serve the markets of Mexico and Central America. Andrés Concha worked as the company's general manager for 26 years and today is its president.

Lessons from a Leader

An important part of Andrés Concha's efforts and successes are focused on the search for the capabilities and talents that allow him to develop and materialize initiatives in all areas of his activity, in the creation of new structures, solutions and systems to achieve new opportunities.

This engineer is one of those who think that if we all contribute with 100% of our potential, the result will be a creative force at the service of customers. In the same way he thinks that if creativity, technology, excellence and efficiency are added, then users will fall in love with the products.

For him, a company must have as its main objective the satisfaction of the needs of its customers, providing them with support and helping them to meet their objectives and optimizing their resources.

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The engineer states that "the most successful entrepreneurs are those who focus their activity on creating solutions to the unmet needs of their customers, rather than seeking short-term benefits and returns."

For Concha, the management principles applied to her company have brought her enormous benefits and recognition. Today, thanks to the path he has traveled, he assures that creating companies based on knowledge, effort, professionalism and perseverance "if possible, you can".

In recognition of their unparalleled work and interest in the specialization of personnel within companies. Last year the engineer received the recognition of the Technological University of Chile INACAP, for his outstanding and permanent work in the training of workers and entrepreneurs of the Association of Industrialists of the Queen. {mospagebreak}

It is also worth noting that the company was selected as the most innovative company in Chile during the past year, during the delivery of recognitions of the Corporation for the Promotion of Production. Award received by Andrés Concha himself from the hands of the president of the country Michelle Bachelet.

Industry perception

Concha has oriented his entire career towards food preservation, an area to which he perceives very sensitive and subject to macroeconomic policies where the great powers and the United Nations have a lot to say.

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According to the engineer "today there is a food crisis worldwide, there are countries where 35% of its population is in a serious state of malnutrition. Climate changes, with droughts or floods, affect production; growing demand from China, India and emerging countries makes products more expensive; and the crises of governance aggravate the situation."

"It is in this context that efforts must be redoubled, the world will have to invest a lot to find a solution to this demand, and it is here that those of us who have received the grace of knowledge to prolong the shelf life of food, have our own challenge. We have to work hard and study much more, to improve processes, increase production, reduce costs and make one day on the planet eradicate, all together, the scourge of hunger," he concluded.

Risks

For the engineer, the risks that the industry has to face are of various kinds, he pointed out that "The most serious threats are the insufficient growth in which our Latin American countries fall very often, which causes social pressures and distributive disputes, which end up squandering the best opportunities."

The issue of the training of industry personnel is another issue of great concern for the engineer and suggests that in addition to university and technical training, it is in companies where more efforts should be directed to specialize training, this is expressed much better by him, stating that "it is in our own companies where the deepest training is forged, through seminars of its professionals who transmit experiences and knowledge and the transfer of information through agreements with factories of recognized world prestige, which allow the specialization of our staff in their own facilities. The exchange of knowledge and its passage through the industries of Europe, USA or Asia shape its future".

On the side of constant technological developments, the engineer has a fairly focused image of the impact that technology has on the sector "Technological advances will continue their rigorous evolution, refrigeration will also do so and if it is threatened by new technologies, such as new ways for the preservation of food, these will have to be applied by the same companies that today execute the work of refrigeration, our task is the preservation of food, so that it is distributed and marketed, thus reaching the entire population, it is not, the application of a special technique".

Most importantly, the family

Although this engineer is quite passionate about work, the love for his family is what he always has in the first place, as he says "Although the work is exciting and occupies much of my time and energy, it is my family that will always be in the first place and will concentrate all my efforts".

Andrés is married to Nini Digmann and they have two children. His wife sees her as the backbone of his home, "she has known how to give us love and strength to achieve the goals that each one seeks in their own lives, she puts joy and affections, she shares the tasks of the home, with those of her profession as an entrepreneur in women's fashion," he added.

His sons Cristian and Claudio graduated as a Mechanical Industrial Engineer and Commercial Engineer respectively, both work in Refricentro supporting the work of the company.

"I like to enjoy my family, travel, read and play golf. I thank God for giving me the opportunity to accomplish so many beautiful things and for receiving so much love and affection."


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