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Mix of leadership and entrepreneurship

MezcladeliderazgoyemprendimientoThe Professional of the Month representing the Colombian market is Alfredo Camargo, general manager of the company Refrinorte.


by Duván Chaverra Agudelo


- Publicidad -


A country in evident economic growth, as Colombia has been in recent years, owes much to the way in which its companies can develop, and for obvious reasons that development must be led to entrepreneurial and visionary professionals.


One of the many examples that this time we want to highlight is that of Alfredo Camargo, general manager of the company Refrinorte, who has been named as the Professional of the month for this edition dedicated to Colombia.


In 1960, Barranquilla saw the birth of one of its most outstanding sons for his entrepreneurship. Our guest is a seminarian high school graduate of the San Buenaventura Seminary in the city of the same name; later he has dedicated himself to the study constantly: Economics, Finance, Marketing, Maritime Navigation, Refrigeration and a little more than two years ago he made his last studies in a classroom: Senior management program in Innovation Management sponsored by the national Government through the Universidad del Norte.


- Publicidad -

Alfredo's working life began at the age of 19, when he joined the Service Workshops of the defunct company J. Glottman S. A. This forced him to carry out his studies at night, when he felt hooked with refrigeration and air conditioning. Later, on April 16, 1985, he founded with some co-workers the company Refrigeración y Electrónica del Caribe Ltda., starting his stage  as an entrepreneur; of that company sold its share and founded in 1987 Refriservicios del Norte specialized in repair and assembly of air conditioning and refrigeration equipment. Later, in 1989 he created Refripartes del Norte to   market equipment, parts and accessories, and then over the years they came to the name of Refrinorte S.A.S.


"We recently acquired the production plant of a renowned air conditioning manufacturer in the city of Barranquilla and this is one of our  biggest challenges in this field, both because of the great potential and size of the air conditioning market and because of the strong threat of imported products, especially from China. Marketing has been one of the great pillars for the growth of Refrinorte and especially the distribution of the renowned Lennox brand," said the guest.


More than 29 years support the work of the guest within the sector to be worthy of this recognition. "This has allowed us to be recognized as good players in the refrigeration and air conditioning business, we were there when the residential air business was window air and we ventured in time into the mini-split era; now we have reached the era of variable refrigerant and inverter, and here we are facing side by side with the large multinationals in the market."


- Publicidad -

Your challenges
For Alfredo Camargo, a company is due to its work group and success or failure depends on it. "Every company is made by people and it is these who with their daily contribution make a better country, a better life. Entrepreneurs are obliged to offer the greatest and best possible training, a quality job, it occurs with the development of each of our employees that reflect the prosperity of a region, a country or a continent. Great challenges have the country and Latin America, and entrepreneurs must be prepared to take on the challenges of innovation, whether technological, process, product, service. etc. We cannot let the industry end in our areas, we cannot allow ourselves to be swept away by competition from the East."


As for his personal challenges, the Professional of the Month is clear that it is time to hand over the administration of his family business to the second generation in order to devote himself to rest, reading and traveling, which are some of his great passions.


"One of the challenges is to prepare the second generation in the management of the business, this has to be with pleasure, with passion and I will put all my effort into it, because I hope to retire at age 60 and thus dedicate myself a little more to reading and travel. As a child I really enjoyed traveling on roads and I have done it in many countries; for example, I have traveled three times from Miami to Boston by land and I have always taken different paths, of course I have also traveled Colombia. I have even traveled by road in China where in some places local dialects are spoken and our guides speak Mandarin," Alfredo explained.


HVAC/R Industry Overview
The manager of Refrinorte confirms that Colombia underwent a positive transformation in its economic policy, which benefited the industry. "I started in the air conditioning business in the mid-80s, at that time in Colombia and in almost all of Latin America a protectionist policy of the local and regional industry prevailed, so that the market was supplied with national production, both imported and domestic equipment were very expensive, some for the protection of very high import tariffs and the others for the lack of competition. It was with the policy of economic openness of the government of President Cesar Gaviria that the country opened its markets and began the massification of air conditioning at a commercial and residential level, from that time to date the cost per BTU of the equipment has not stopped its price drop . "


Inside the Professional
There is no doubt that Alfredo's two great loves are his family and his company. "All my life has been related around the family and Refrinorte, and it is with the ability to work of my brothers and partners Giovani and Gerson that we have managed to get out of all the hard situations that arise in business. I am also happily married and have three professional children, two of them are making their first steps in this field, one in the area of marketing and the other in the area of engineering, especially in evaporative cooling. "


Entrepreneurship and experience have also allowed him to venture into other business fields. At the moment, Alfredo has an agricultural company, more precisely of Pig exploitation, which goes from gestation to the sale of meat in carcass, in technical farms with the latest advances in the genetics of the Pig.


His taste for travel is due to his experience in childhood after the journeys he made with his group of explorers. "From my childhood and adolescence my most pleasant memories are the Boy Scouts, from there I learned tolerance, teamwork, cordiality, camaraderie, traveling through the mountains of Colombia or the inhospitable beaches in the company of my Scout friends."


It combines very well two activities such as sport and culture through reading. At 53 years old he continues to practice football and does not miss a game of his team the Junior of Barranquilla. And then you can sit down to read a good book: "I am in love with reading and I always have two or three books in chapel, I like to read novels, history and a lot about economics. I am 'work-worked', it is very difficult for me to be doing nothing, to the point that when I travel and return to my city I take the road to the office instead of going to rest a little at home, "concluded our guest.

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