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An entrepreneurial family

In this first edition of the year the Professional of the Month section has a different touch making a special recognition to three brothers representatives of the company Refrilitoral, located in Barranquilla, Colombia and with 22 years of experience in the HVAC / R market.

by Duván Chaverra Agudelo

Zoraya, Raúl and Leonel Casasbuenas are three Barranquilla leaders of a company founded by their father in 1992 (a year before his death), who saw in the air conditioning sector the opportunity to fulfill the dream of forming a company to work together as a family.

Zoraya and Leonel have training in Administration and initially worked in the banking sector, while Raúl is an Industrial Technician of sena Colombo Alemán and Mechanical Engineer of the

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Universidad del Norte. 

"In 1998, already with relative economic stability, we made the leap to independence to devote ourselves full-time to our business with Leonel, and from that moment each one acquired his natural role in the company: he in the commercial and logistics and I in the engineering of air conditioning and refrigeration. Later and after much insistence that he do it, our sister Zoraya joined us to complement the missing position: the administrative one, "said Raúl, who answered the interview.

The highlight of this company directed by the Casasbuenas brothers is that it has a support and a structure based on the family in which Guido Zúñiga, Systems Engineer, Zoraya's husband and who directs the Systems Department, is also incorporated; and Juanita Arango, Leonel's wife, who supports logistics management, and Raul Alberto, Raúl's son, who is in his third year of Mechanical Engineering and supports his free time. Likewise, Engineer Luis Cadena, Project Director is considered a fundamental part in the growth, due to his dedication and commitment.


Raul is married to Mirna Manotas and has two sons: Raul Alberto, 19, and Daniel, 12. "I love to share time with them walking, at parties, in sports. I am fond of cinema, I like technical and scientific documentaries of cultural channels," explained the engineer.

He added that Leonel is married to Juanita Arango and has three children, Laura, 19, who lives and studies in the USA; Valentina, 13 years old and Juan, 5 years old. Fans of Atlético Junior, fans of football and sports in general. While Zoraya and Guido Zúñiga are married and have an eight-year-old daughter named Marcela. Zoraya is considered a studious, judicious and disciplined person.

In this regard, Raúl said that "as a family we understand and complement each other very well: It is said that I am the analytical, Leonel, the social, and Zoraya, the administrator. I think each of us would like to have the qualities of the other for which we respect each other and, I repeat, complement each other excellently."

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Professional challenges

For Raúl there are two parameters in which they want to be much more participatory: training and professional certifications: "I believe in permanent training as a unique tool for business development. As a goal we have proposed to link in most of the training offer offered by the different manufacturers and marketers of HVAC / R equipment and parts. On the other hand, the increasingly demanding medium forces us to look towards the world of certifications, from which we obtained ISO9000 five years ago, but which today seems not to be enough in the face of market demands, so the challenge is to achieve the next step in terms of this issue. "

Another aspect that Raúl highlights has to do with the keys that allow to exercise a leadership that is rewarded with the positive response of the members of the company. "Clear and sufficient communication is a fundamental element for business growth. Getting our team to feel committed to our goals is the main objective to achieve through communication. We share with our team their interest in progressing and we look for the means to support them, this is how we have achieved that some of our collaborators have completed their intermediate and higher studies. The task then is to stimulate this aspect as the permanent support to our work team, seeking its growth not only professionally, but in the work and family ".

Market outlook

Faced with this issue, Raúl spoke about the importance that the evolution of refrigerant gases has had in the industry taking into account the aspect of environmental problems. "On the equipment side we saw the birth of minisplit, multisplit, variable refrigerants and undoubtedly we have witnessed the great importance of electronics incorporated in the industry. It must be said that thanks to DDC control, networks, the internet and smartphones you have information and communication in real time with HVAC / R systems, monitoring them from remote sites offering interesting possibilities in which we have executed several projects, "he said.

In another aspect such as refrigeration, Raúl Casasbuenas commented that "we have seen that products such as panels for cold rooms went from manual mold to continuous production and as long as they can be transported and / or installed. In pipeline construction we see how new alternatives in materials and prefabricated are appearing every time. As for the once expensive, fine instrumentation for the exclusive use of the engineer and often under the key of him, today it is accessible to everyone providing the opportunity for precision in field diagnosis in the hands of a qualified technician. With the same workforce, before the technicians were mostly empirical, now there are many opportunities to learn and become certified."

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Progress in Colombia

Finally, Raúl assures that the Colombian industry has been persistent with the manufacture of very good equipment thanks to the fact that internationally recognized brands used national factories such as maquilas. "Today we see manufacturers like Confortfresh, which rescue the best of that industry with an interesting portfolio of applied export-type equipment," he said.

He also said that Colombia has had to improve its technological offer due to energy costs. "On the Coast, where the domestic application of air conditioning is common and naturally in other sectors, the user already knows what the growing numbers mean in efficiency and does not hesitate to pay a little more when it's about future energy savings. So brands, such as Lennox, offer all the variety of efficiencies and are consolidated in the medium thanks to it, "he concludes.

Duván Chaverra Agudelo
Author: Duván Chaverra Agudelo
Jefe Editorial en Latin Press, Inc,.
Comunicador Social y Periodista con experiencia de más de 16 años en medios de comunicación. Apasionado por la tecnología y por esta industria. [email protected]

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