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Your dream is to share what you know

This man has in his head the history of air conditioning in his country, is a lover of good wine, enjoys classical music and has almost half a century of experience in the industry. It is Manuel Silva, professional of the month for Chile.

By: Héctor Gómez Pérez

If you need anecdotes, data or references from the air conditioning industry in Chile there is a person who will serve as your primary source: Manuel Silva. So much so that he dared to confess that he has in mind to write the history of the HVAC industry of the southern country in the future: "I actually have the complete film about it thanks to my nearly 50 years of profession. One of the things I have proposed is to write the history of Chile's HVAC later, there I will indicate the name of the companies and professionals that have left their mark on the industry, in addition to some tasty anecdotes that I still keep in mind, "he said.

Recently of placids, he turned 64 on May 9, 64 for more signs, Manuel Silva is a man who has dedicated his life to the profession he chose. He is an industrial technician of the EAO (School of Arts and Crafts), which later became the UTE (Technical University of the State), he studied civil construction also at the UTE and it has hardly been possible to separate himself from this Chilean training house of which he was a professor of refrigeration and heating for 6 years.

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The arrival in the industry

Silva remembers with special affection Professor Juan Valencia (QEPD) of the EAO, who was the person who motivated him to enter his heating, refrigeration and air conditioning course. Our professional of the month said that it was practically an image that captivated him to specialize in this area: "when I entered this campus and had to opt for a specialty, which was not very defined since I was very young, I was very struck by a slide that they showed us to captivate the students for the career. It showed a dining room used by the Romans, and on the slab a slave was seen moving a wheel that drove a stick and that at the bottom was a shovel whose continuous movement produced an effect like that of a fan on the dining table; although I did not have a score for the other specialties with greater prestige, it was finally that detail that was engraved in my head because this is a very old specialty. "

At the end of this stage of studies, our guest was aware that he had to look for a job and on the other hand continue in the academy, so he dedicated himself to civil construction studies at night and one day he found a press notice from the company Alfonso Wolf S.A in which they required a heating design technician. "When I was 18 years old I wrote and they called me, although later I learned that I was the only one who presented a background and since they urgently needed a person, they told me that they would hire me on trial for two months. It turned out that I was there for three years and with an incredible salary for the time, I had no doubt that this was my specialty."

That was the beginning of a long career that is about to reach the age of 50. Currently, and far from the schedules that previously required his working life, Silva holds the position of technical manager at Intvap Ltda, there in association with a friend executes projects and facilities, also offers maintenance and advisory services.

But in addition to the 3 years he worked in Alfonso Wolf S.A, he spent 39 years in Interma S.A; three in Interma-Andina, Bolivia; 2 years in Ate, a company of which he is co-founder and for three years in other places.

Silva outside the industry

"As we have defined with Carmen, my lady, our strong nucleus are our 4 children," says Silva when referring to his family and adds that "since we got married in 1969 we set ourselves the goal of having children and giving them the best;  'la gordita', as I affectionately call her, dedicated herself 100% to the chores of the house, to raising and educating our children with a lot of love and dedication. This has paid off and we are almost done with our initial task."

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In this sense, this Chilean is very right if one takes into account that Manuel, his eldest son is a Biochemist with a doctorate and several postgraduate degrees in Canada and resides in England where he serves as head of a research group at the Novartis Laboratory; Nicolás is a lawyer and is currently legal vice president of Aercap, a Dutch firm dedicated to the financing of commercial aircraft; Matilde, resides in Spain and has an executive position at Banco Santander in Boadilla del Monte, and is also married to a Spaniard named José Miguel from whose union Victoria, Silva's only granddaughter, was born. Finally there is Ignacio who is in his fourth year of forestry engineering. "He is the only son we have in Chile and I think that if he emigrates, like his brothers, it would make us seriously think about going abroad to be close to our loved ones," Silva said.

This professional is a lover of classical music, among his favorites are Mozart, Tchaikovsky and Chopin, although he also enjoys traditional Chilean music. He is a lover of Egyptian culture, astronomy and wine, which he studies and considers a product deeply rooted in the history of humanity. In sports he practices tennis and declares himself a fan of the Colo-Colo of Santiago de Chile.

A professional look

Regarding education, Manuel Silva says that in Chile there are institutions to train in the HVAC industry at the technical and professional levels, and even many companies care about teaching these courses which is good. But he sees two main flaws: on the one hand, only a minority of the population has access to private education and on the other, there is a crisis of middle managers and field technicians who work with their hands.

"By tradition there are certain professions that are well looked at by all people, such as law, medicine, engineering and in general all those with neck and tie. Unfortunately all manual professions are not well seen, perhaps it corresponds to our traditional ancestors or another reason to study, the fact is that parents of all levels want their children to enter the university because they see it as the maximum. I know many cases of good technicians who earn much more than elite career professionals."

In Silva's opinion, an HVAC company is purely services, hence the importance of a good relationship with customers who are the ones who finally generate service orders. On the other hand, he says that the human team of these companies is the basis of business and business success and pointed out that "surrounding yourself with people who accompany you faithfully to all your instructions is the best, because from there comes something very important that is to listen to employees. This does not mean having brilliant professionals but good workers."

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For now Manuel Silva will continue without schedules, but working hand in hand with his clients. Of course, without neglecting the dream he has between eyebrows and eyebrows: "to be able to create the refrigeration career in a school for children with few resources located in La Pintana, a very poor sector of the city (Santiago de Chile), which would have the design with all the current state-of-the-art technology," Silva said.


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