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A professional in search of efficiency

altEdgardo Manotas is the Professional of the Month of this edition dedicated to Colombia. Let's get to know the life of an entrepreneur specialized in the energy efficiency sector. by Duván Chaverra Agudelo

When you hear a professional speak who inspires confidence, optimism, leadership and humility, you have addressed a person who will surely do everything very well in your life, or at least what you propose. We can say that this is the case of Edgardo Manotas, president of the company Greenlight Energy Solutions and who in this edition has been recognized as the Professional of the month on behalf of Colombia. Edgardo Manotas is a Colombian born in Barranquilla, Atlántico, who before coming to run his own company had other work experiences. He was in a financial corporation, then he was financial manager of a newspaper in his city called Diario El Caribe; he subsequently emigrated to Toronto, Canada, where for the past few years he has been living alongside his family. "When I arrived in Canada I spent about four years in the financial area of a corporation that provides meals for airplanes. Then I created my own company specialized in software and installation of computer networks. In that business I spent about 16 years developing projects in Canada and the United States. Then I sold this company and six years ago I started working with energy efficient projects in Toronto; and seeing the needs of emerging markets, I decided to venture into the Colombian market five years ago." Now his company has had participation in lighting and solar energy projects that include air conditioning equipment. The Colombian Air Force and Army have been some of his projects. "The topic of energy saving has always been a passion and came about when I was on vacation in the United States, because with my family we decided to build a house with the highest standards of energy efficiency. When we thought about installing the luminaires I noticed that there were deficiencies and ignorance of the engineers about new options and I thought that there had to be something that suited the design I wanted." For that reason, he began to look for energy solutions around the world that would adapt to the new efficient standards, a niche market that he found quite striking to enter and participate as an entrepreneur. Leader, husband and father
Edgardo has a family made up of his wife Luz Marina Puerto, whom he met in Canada and whom he married 20 years ago, as a result of that love his two daughters were born: Veronica and Carolina. In addition to sharing with his family, Manotas is a loyal follower of sports. He practices field tennis, periodically plays golf, especially for business, and is in love with long walks: "I do it to feel good and to think." Other of his personal and professional characteristics he describes them as follows: "What I like most about my personality is that I am very positive and in everything I work I put a lot of passion; if I want to do something I achieve it and I don't see anything negative to my ideas. I try to make the people who are with me have the same impetus and that's why I'm very perfectionist in what I do."

That dose of leadership is also applied with his work group, which always expects what he does to be with self-love: "I try to maintain a cordial relationship with my employees. The most important thing is customer service. The human value I have very much in mind and for me they are people before employees. I always keep the door of my office open so that they notice that they have access to me whenever they want and I receive from the person who carries the red wine to the most important executive of the company. It's also important to me that my employees believe in what we do and the technology we offer." That support he gives to his employees is used as the boost that is needed to progress in this industry, especially if you have a clear philosophy of life: "I live my life under achievements, I like to create a difference in projects. Today we are participating in large-scale projects, especially in the energy part; I want to be a pioneer in solar issues and that satisfies me much more as a professional than the money that is achieved in the projects. That encourages me to get up every day." In addition, Edgardo knows very well the limitations that Colombia has in the energy aspect, which is why he plans to form a foundation that allows to bring the energy supply to places that do not have it. "I'm also planning to create my own non-profit foundation, to generate energy and lighting to places where it doesn't exist. In Colombia still 40% of the population does not have electricity so if we manage to contribute a grain of sand we can help other human beings and that is the most important thing for me." Analysis of the sector
Energy efficiency can be applied in all technological sectors. But it is still clear that this guild must work much harder to achieve a more important market share, especially in Latin America. That is the perception that the Professional of the Month has about it. "I think it has evolved by region. Europe is much more advanced than North America and South America, in the latter its application a few years ago was null. As the years have passed, the technology is more implemented, Europe continues to be a leader and in the United States it is implementing it much more. In South America there is still a lack of government regulation, but there are users who are applying the technology and there are more interested in efficient energy; the educational process has not been the most correct and the concept of acquiring cheaper products continues to be supported," said the businessman. Regarding the issue of efficient solar air conditioners, Edgardo added that "we are implementing the technology correctly. Lennox targeted solar energy and the acceptance has been quite high, although we have had to do important educational processes, but we hope that this manufacturer will target this class of systems en masse." As mentioned above, for Edgardo Manotas, the issue of training and education is very important to reach many more clients who know the benefits of efficient projects. "Educating the customer is important because you have to make them understand that technology is here and the information that is given to people must be honest. This is an educational process and whoever does it best will lead this type of project." Finally, the Professional of the Month invites the entire sector to work hand in hand: "I welcome the competition, but level, that is, that we are all talking about the same thing and that it does not differ only by price factor. It's important that we all do something very good to improve people's lives."

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