Opinion: Mr. Luis Villarroya

Mr. Luis Villarroya is, since 2007, Vice Chairman and Managing Director of Eptisa, and held senior management positions since his integration in 1990.

December 16, 2014

Mr. Villarroya gave an interview to the Development Cooperation Bulletin to explain his vision of the Eptisa's present and future in the sector and the approach of the transformation project in which the organization is immersed since early 2014.

1. Currently, Eptisa is in full process of transformation. Which are the main features that will define the new Eptisa?

It is not easy to summarize the vision we have of Eptisa for the future and which has led us to start this transformation project. In one sentence, we could say that:

Eptisa shall be a multinational company which shall develop for the society sustainable projects based on operational excellence criteria and which shall provide its employees with professional development and collaboration spaces.

Although brief, the phrase has a significant importance, because it summarizes the four keys on which the transformation project is based: multinational, sustainability, operational excellence and development and collaboration of Eptisa experts.

2. Why is the Development Cooperation converted or currently renamed as the Institutional, Economic and Social Development?

It seems to be the same thing, but in fact it is not. I would like to explain both steps: The first consists of converting the division into a cross-activity and, on the other hand, the new name.

The activity's conversion into a cross-business unit is a logic consequence of this sector's development in the last years within Eptisa. One of our distinctive elements that has characterized us with respect to other domestic and international market engineering companies, has been our technical ability to put into practice development cooperation projects. By the way, an activity we have been developing for 20 years and which has now acquired a truly important nature. It already represents 11% of total activity.

On the other hand, the field of Cooperation evolved into wide-ranging and significant projects at an international level and it seemed that the definition of "Development Cooperation" did not represent our business or the market's reality. Therefore, we preferred to call it: "Institutional, Economic and Social Development", to better define the scope, significance and magnitude of the projects that we are implementing.

We believe that this activity has synergies with other activities (engineering, consultancy, technology, etc.) of the company and it even brings an added value to our products and services and benefit both for engineering projects and for projects with multilateral agencies.

It is also an activity to promote in all geographical developing areas, but also in Spain, where, in my opinion, much more needs to be done.

3. What brings this new approach to a company as Eptisa?

In my opinion, as leading companies we should set a trend, and Eptisa is a leader in this sector and with this new approach, it must set a trend. I sincerely believe that it is a differential element that enriches our offer and which the market demands. It is an approach for the future.

4. Spain is going through difficult times. In the current context, how did Eptisa manage the crisis?

Spain came out of recession although we still find ourselves in a certain crisis. But there comes a time when an optimistic attitude should be adopted and start saying that "things are better". There is an absolute change in trend, it's already obvious and it will manifest even more in the second quarter of the year. We have gone through a period of unparalleled toughness, for all we have experienced in recent years, but what we should do now is to adapt to this new situation.

In this context, Eptisa has faced the crisis as all business and family environments of Spain. With tremendous toughness, with a continuing need to adapt to the new rules of the game, and trying, above all, to save the identity marks that characterize this company and that are basically focused on managing the people's knowledge. And also, why not to say, suffering a lot.

But now we understand that it is time to collect all efforts and sacrifice and look at the present and future strengthened by the exercise done. We must begin to speak positively.

5. Times have changed. More and more, the society demands a greater commitment on the part of the companies. What should Eptisa do in the field of Corporate Social Responsibility?

When concepts like Corporate Social Responsibility were a nebula, this company already had its own concept of CSR. Eptisa is a company that has always had a very special chemistry in dealing with employees and the environment. It is possible that the Eptisa's activity, very committed, historically speaking, in the world of water and the environment, may have converted us into "progressive environmentalists" a long time ago. In this regard, we have been absolutely committed in protecting and safeguarding the environment. I think that gives character. And that professional concept has been included among the company's internal features, for dealing with people and between people.

On the other hand, in my opinion, the activity of engineering companies is based on social activity. Engineering works to make the society's life safer, more comfortable and easier. Each time you open a tap, there is an engineer behind. The same when someone turns on a light or uses a car, an engineer is behind. The engineer historically works to make his people's life more comfortable and safer, an essentially social purpose. Therefore, our responsibility as engineers towards the society is to improve its welfare.

Beyond regulations and manuals or policy statements, Eptisa has spent years putting into practice the concept of CSR. And now it is time to explain and communicate. Our commitment is firm. Proof of this is that one of the flagship initiatives of the transformation project is the implementation in a programmatic and formal way of that set of initiatives scattered in the company in our day to day lives. Structure, make them explicit to not only live them, but also to be able to communicate them.

For years, Eptisa has been betting on this approach, and right now we are the national benchmark of this institutional development activity, a clear proof of our conscience and our feeling in terms of Corporate Social Responsibility.

 Opinion: Mr. Luis Villarroya