Jeronimo Portilla
Business Development Coordinator
Hill International
View from the Top

Finding A Road To Successful Project Development In 2020 & 2021

By Pedro Alcalá | Mon, 01/25/2021 - 11:10

Q: How did Hill International adapt to the evolving circumstances of 2020?

A: When the pandemic lockdowns began in March, we began to implement all the necessary safety protocols and were soon able to continue working on our projects. Many projects were reaching their final phases, so our presence in this phase was critical, and we were able to finish these projects on schedule. A small number of delays did take place, tied entirely to the pandemic, but the completion of these projects was successful. 

Q: How has Mexico’s position in Hill International’s overseas portfolio changed in the past year?

A: When we compare our offices in Mexico to our offices in other countries, it is clear that Mexico has been very affected by the events of 2020. For example, few projects in our US offices experienced delayed starts, but many projects in our pipeline in Mexico have been delayed or put on-hold because of the general uncertainty in the Mexican markets. Only a small number of these projects met their start date successfully. Most remain in stand-by, although only a few were canceled.

Q: How have you managed your hotel and tourism sector projects?

A: We concluded many of our hospitality projects successfully and to our client’s satisfaction. 2020 also saw the beginning of new hotel projects for us despite the market slump. Most of them are still in pre-development or development phases; this phase is advantageous for the client and for us, given that these phases are critical for the development of the project and can be successfully accomplished working remotely. Planning is very important to our clients, and to start our service in the pre-development stages has given us the opportunity to help our clients during the early stages of their projects, which is one of our areas of expertise. In general, we are excited to participate in these projects during their earlier phases, particularly in the hospitality sector, because we can provide a more complete service to our clients and keep things moving forward correctly from the very start including: scope, budget, schedule, quality and risk. The work we perform during these early stages enables our clients to have more control over their projects because of the much clearer picture of what to expect. By the time these projects enter their construction phase, our clients will feel a lot more secure regarding their investment decisions.     

Now is a good moment for developers to invest time in the pre-development and development stages for their future projects and ensure that when the time comes to start construction, that their projects can be executed according to plan.

Q: What regions are you targeting for development and growth in Mexico?

A: We continue to search for opportunities to expand into new market sectors and geographies in the country while maintaining our presence in the sectors and regions where we are currently working. In the past months, we signed a contract for a project on Isla Mujeres, representing a new area of development for us. At the same time, we have continued working in the Mexico City, Los Cabos and Riviera Nayarit areas, where we have developed projects for several years. We continue to seek project opportunities in cities like Monterrey, Guadalajara, Merida, Puebla and Queretaro, although project development has decreased or been put on-hold in those areas due to the pandemic. A big focus for us in 2021 is seeking opportunities working with the government and the private sector on infrastructure projects including ports, rail, desalination plants, roads and bridges and energy. Around the world, Hill excels in delivering infrastructure projects, and we hope to extend this expertise to our Mexican clients.

Q: How has Trouble Project Turnaround evolved?

A: Providing this service has allowed us to obtain new projects. Many have been with previous clients who we have helped on previous projects. Our Troubled Project Turnaround service helped our clients to understand the advantage of having Hill involved in their projects from the start. In addition, our Troubled Project Turnaround Services gives certainty and a clear path as to how to best achieve project objectives. This gives clients clarity of their current situation and enables them to manage project risks and to make informed decisions before they proceed. Ultimately, we provide a pathway to project completion through the most efficient and cost-effective way forward while placing the client back in total control.

Q: How has Project Monitoring become an important part of your service portfolio in Mexico?   

A: The use of remote monitoring services has become much more relevant to financial institutions in 2020. Most of our Project Monitoring activities are done through our central office, with monthly worksite visits to the projects we support. During the pandemic, some of these assignments were suspended by our clients, driven primarily by government lockdowns. Our clients have adapted quickly to these new needs, which require that work be done remotely, and this is something we have been able to provide.


Hill International is a global company with 2,700 professionals and support personnel in 50 offices worldwide, providing project and construction management services to public and private sector owners.

Pedro Alcalá Pedro Alcalá Senior Journalist & Industry Analyst