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Work and personal: balancing two worlds

Carlos Sarmiento, presidente de Ingeniería ModernaThe tourist attraction of Central America has marked the evolution of industries in all sectors, including food and, consequently, refrigeration. Carlos Sarmiento knew how to take advantage of that good moment, made the right decisions and today presides over a prosperous company.

by María Cecilia Hernández Ocampo

Being out of a job is an unfortunate fact for many, that the company for which you work breaks down is, perhaps, everyone's nightmare. But for Carlos Sarmiento, both meant the great change of his life.

The bankruptcy of the company Numar de Honduras, dedicated to the production of oils, margarines and butter derivatives, was the turning point of our guest professional in this edition.

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In Numar he worked as an engineer and his trade had nothing to do with the industrial refrigeration industry. Only when the system and thermal equipment began to give problems did he set his eyes on that universe of ammonia.

By chance, as well as many of the professionals we have highlighted in this section, this Honduran arrived at the HVACR market. But you can't stay in the industry for long, let alone be successful, solid and evolve every day without having an enviable business acumen and clarity of the goals you want to achieve. Characteristics that Sarmiento has to spare.

On the road to refrigeration
After many years of study in matters other than those to which he dedicates his life today and many tours of the world of work, he founded Ingeniería Moderna, a company oriented to electromechanical assembly, refrigeration systems and automation.

To get there Sarmiento graduated as an electrical engineer at the State University of Campinas in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Later he studied Telecommunications, Maintenance of telephone exchanges and International Telephony during different periods in Tokyo, Japan.

Every step he has taken in his working life has left him with enormous lessons that are very useful to him as an entrepreneur.

He worked as responsible for the maintenance of control equipment, networks and electrical substations at the Honduran Sugar Company.

"In this company, two periods were marked during the year: the harvest and the dead time. During the harvest the demands multiplied and disappeared concepts such as time of entry, time of departure, weekends; when a problem or factory shutdown occurred, everyone had to be present to solve the problem, no matter their specialty or area. This made me develop my willingness to work and always be ready to give solutions to the problems that arise, regardless of whether it is my responsibility or not," recalls Sarmiento.

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Continuing with what he believed would be his line of work for the rest of his life, Carlos joined the Honduran Telecommunications Company as director of projects and maintenance of telephone exchanges, where it was necessary to have direct contact with Japanese contractors, from whom, says the engineer, he learned how to approach the work.

At the Soto Cano Air Base in Honduras, Sarmiento held the position of maintenance manager of the communications network of the American Army, where he was for two years and then worked for two more years in the Numar Company of Honduras as plant maintenance manager until that organization had to close operations.

One door is closed and another is opened
In January 1995, Ingeniería Moderna was born with Carlos Sarmiento at the head. Initially the company focused on electromechanical assembly, with the passage of time began to receive requests for support in the area of industrial refrigeration.

"At that time I decided to inform myself and train myself, to study on the subject to develop a specific line in the company dedicated to it. The first thing was to study, I did an industrial refrigeration course taught by Vilter Manufacturing, there I found several people with whom I had already had contact in previous jobs, "he says.

After taking on academic challenges to apply them in his company Sarmiento started a banana puree cooling project with such success that he managed to become the distributor of the brand that led the project.

Our professional remembers with emotion the season in which his life turned for good. "At the start of the banana puree plant system I met the engineer Karim Mamdani, a very knowledgeable and successful person in the field of industrial refrigeration, who transmitted knowledge, experiences and valuable information to me, which subsequently contributed to achieving the success we have achieved."

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Currently, Modern Engineering combines the theme of refrigeration with that of automation, thus expanding the company's field of action; this evolution has allowed them to participate in large-scale projects throughout the Americas: Chile, Costa Rica, dominican Republic, Haiti and Mexico are part of the list of countries in which they have demonstrated their quality and experience.

His vision for Latin America
It is precisely this experience that has made Carlos Sarmiento an authority when it comes to referring to the situation of the industry both in his country and in the region in general. The expert considers that this is a slow growing market, which sometimes lacks knowledge, training and quality requirements.

"Despite the fact that in Honduras the areas of greatest productive activity are warm climate, industrial refrigeration facilities are insufficient and sometimes inadequate. We can talk about two types of users: large companies, which know their processes very well and have high quality demands, large investments in technology and efficiency, and small companies, with few resources to invest and, consequently, with systems operating at the minimum acceptable or with deficiencies, "explains the president of Modern Engineering.

Even so, Sarmiento sees in the Latin American market great prospects for evolution: "This is definitely a growing industry. The Latin American population is growing rapidly and therefore their food needs are also growing. We must also mention all the development that has taken place around the issue of new technologies in favor of the environment, a sector in full growth and with great possibilities in the region, "he insists.

A dream: a little more time
Being the eldest of five children, Carlos Sarmiento thanks his parents for the education provided, not only academic but in values, education that he has striven to transmit to his four children Débora, María José and Sara and, at the time, to Pablo David, who died.

His wife, Marveli Cano, has also become his ally and companion in this journey of having his own company, is his best partner and his great support.

This fan of motorsport, Formula 1 racing, Indicar, Motos GP, cycling and walking, declares himself an inveterate perfectionist, which has brought him some problems but also many benefits. The combination of music (be it rock, reggae or bossa nova) with woodworking is your island to get away from day-to-day racing.

He takes care of his family like a treasure and does not believe in the cliché that many entrepreneurs pronounce when asked about his personal life that he talks about dedicating little time to his family but that is of quality: "I have always believed that to say that you do not spend much time with the family but that you give quality time, it is to justify the inability to achieve balance. That's why that's my personal goal to be able to give both my family and my work, in quantity of time and in quality."

On a professional level, Sarmiento sees it as a challenge to stay updated to always offer a first-class service. "It is a real challenge to filter the amount of information that is generated at every moment, it is necessary to choose what to stay with, what is really useful and to be able to foresee the trends and the direction that the market takes, to know where we have to direct our efforts," he says.

Carlos Sarmiento would like his day to have more hours, that his year counted more months, he would like to have more time for his family, his work, his friends, his passions, for everything that his restless mind seeks: "I would like to have much more time to be able to inform myself in other areas, many times I am surprised to read articles about some discovery or development that a few years ago I had read as something of science fiction and today it is real. But to get to know him it takes time."

Author: María Cecilia Hernández

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