Alonso Quintana
CEO and Director General
ICA
/
Insight

Community Empowerment Priority in Major Infrastructure Projects

Wed, 02/19/2014 - 13:13

Q: What is the current importance of energy projects in ICA’s overall portfolio, and where have you identified opportunities following the Energy Reform?

A: Through our industrial construction joint venture with Fluor Corporation, ICA Fluor, we have long been a major player in the energy sector, particularly in developing and upgrading refineries, gas processing plants, petrochemical plants, and power plants. We are also one of the key contractors for offshore oil and gas platforms. Energy is clearly one of Mexico’s fundamental sectors, and we expect the Energy Reform to have positive impacts on all parts of the sector, and to give a significant boost to overall economic growth. We see ICA’s role principally as a contractor and service provider. We look forward to exploring the new opportunities in oil field services, both offshore and onshore, resulting from the Energy Reform. At the same time, we think there will be attractive investment opportunities for us in areas such as minihydro and wind farms.

Q: What have been the highlights in ICA’s development of the 750MW La Yesca hydropower project?

A: ICA delivered the La Yesca hydroelectric project on schedule after six years of construction, and the two turbines are now providing a large part of the electricity needs of the Guadalajara metropolitan area. Completing La Yesca on time was a major accomplishment, given that previously undetected geological flaws in the slopes anchoring the dam curtain wall required a complete reengineering of the project after the contract was awarded. ICA’s reputation for ability to execute, even in the most challenging circumstances, is one of our key competitive advantages. La Yesca is located at the border between Jalisco and Nayarit on the embankment of the Rio Grande de Santiago, and has 1.21GWh of annual generating capacity. This is equivalent to all electricity supplied to the metropolitan area of Guadalajara for 3.5 months.

Q: What role do local communities play when ICA develops a project?

A: Our work on La Yesca involved developing close relations with local communities and authorities. When the project started, two of the surrounding communities in Nayarit and Jalisco had to be relocated nearby. However, they saw a great increase in their quality of life, with improvements in housing, transportation and facilities. At the regional and local levels, construction of this dam had a significant economic impact through the creation of direct and indirect jobs, and fostered commercial and tourist fishing. The river interconnection along the reservoir and the construction and improvement of land access roads will give inhabitants greater access to development and trade activities. This benefit is tangible in the communities of Magdalena and Hostotipaquillo, where there has been remarkable growth in the number of commercial establishments. According to the Mexican Business Information System, 45 and 12 companies were created respectively in the municipalities of Magdalena and Hostotipaquillo.

Q: What are the main pillars of ICA’s sustainability strategy, and which role does sustainability play in the firm’s evolving identity?

A: Our experience in managing social and environmental issues has made us more competitive in the Mexican and international market. Our main sustainability focus is on community engagement and quality of life. We aim to construct meaningful and long term relationships with the communities neighboring our projects. In order, to do this we have many social responsibility programs like Adopt a School, ICA Help, ICA Health and social reforestation programs with our employees. We also work together with INEA (the National Institute of Adult Education) to support basic adult education for our workers and surrounding communities. The next pillar is health and safety. All our business units operate with OSHAS 18001, which is considered to be one of the world’s most recognized standards. Our third pillar has to do with ecofriendly practices and environmental protection. We are currently measuring the CO2 emissions of our machinery in order to minimize and mitigate our environmental impact. We also have a corporate program to reduce our energy consumption called Turn Off or Pay and we work closely with universities and biology institutes for our reforestation and biodiversity protection programs. As for the future, we will ensure most of our urban construction projects are LEED-certified.