Santiago Tomás
Director General
Gesab Mexico and LATAM

Merging Design and Control

Fri, 12/01/2017 - 09:59

The extensive minutiae of an airport’s operations are not always obvious but they are essential to safety. At the center of it all, is the control room that manages large amounts of data and requires specialized features a normal office cannot provide. Airports are only a portion of equipmentmaker Gesab’s portfolio but it is an area the company expects to grow in Mexico.

At Gesab’s core is the design and manufacturing of technical furniture for critical environments. “From the beginning, we designed furniture for data-processing centers and later we adapted to include control centers,” says Santiago Tomás, Director of Gesab Mexico.

Gesab does not manufacture standard furniture, it only makes specialized equipment for control centers for sectors including aerospace, oil and gas, banking, government, transportation and telecommunications. These centers are used 24-7, so they must host operators at all times and accommodate large numbers of monitors that deal with vast amounts of data. “Control rooms are built with more resistant materials and meet higher requirements in material quality and resistance in comparison to a normal room,” says Tomás.

The Spanish company was founded in 1991 and has since grown at an accelerated pace. In 2000, it began opening offices in other European countries including Germany, the UK and the Netherlands, and started analyzing possibilities beyond Europe. Mexico seemed a logical choice. Gesab started its first project in Mexico in 2009 and opened offices in Mexico the following year. “Because of its size, the Mexican market is extremely attractive for Spanish companies,” says Tomás. He highlights the close connection between both countries as a key strength for Gesab’s incorporation into the Mexican market. “Mexico and Spain have a shared history, language and character. The Mexican market was greatly influenced by the US but our mentality is more European in terms of design, which is a key product differentiator,” he says. Gesab’s focus on design has impacted its competitors, Tomás adds. “We have even influenced the US market. Previously, US manufacturers were more concerned with the durability of a product than with aesthetics.”

Because the company works on a project basis, the volume of products and the sector it caters to vary according to market fluctuations. Gesab’s 2012-2013 year was dominated by oil and gas clients and 2014-2015 by the banking sector. To date, airports represent 20 percent of its projects but Tomás expects this sector to continue growing. The company now operates in Cancun International Airport and Monterrey International Airport. One goal is to work with NAICM, which Tomás calls “the most important real-estate project in Mexico.” Monitoring centers for NAICM will be numerous and varied in their services, ranging from security to airport management, and Gesab is pitching control rooms and furniture for them.

Gesab’s offices in Mexico now supply all of Mexico and Latin America. “It is easy to serve Colombia, Peru and Ecuador from Mexico but we also have projects in Bolivia, Panama, the Dominican Republic and Costa Rica.” The US market is handled separately from Gesab’s offices in Spain because “the Latin American and the US markets are extremely different,” says Tomás referring to the US’ preference of functionality above design.

Most of Gesab’s equipment is manufactured in Barcelona and exported all over the world. Tomás explains that the Mexican branch is increasingly turning toward Latin America, especially after the US 2016 election raised fears of a downturn in the Mexican market. Gesab has positive expectations for 2017, with several projects lined up for the year, including tenders for NAICM. The company expects to take flight in 2018 as efforts made in the past few years mature and become multipliers for growth.