With years of experience in the construction and engineering sectors, Albert takes the helm of Aboitiz Construction as its new President and Chief Operating Officer — the culmination of a lifelong task to trailblaze and grow.
Can you share with us your background before joining Aboitiz Construction?
I’m a professional civil engineer, and before Aboitiz Construction, I was with First Balfour Group of Cos. for 15 years. Prior to that, I was with Jaka Investments Corp. and Ayala Land.
What made you decide to be part of Aboitiz?
I had heard a lot about Aboitiz even when the company was still engaged in shipping. When I was still working with my previous employer, they had been preparing me for a higher position. But when the opportunity came to manage a company under the Aboitiz Group, I thought that it may be a more challenging and difficult role. In that sense, I could call it my last hurrah: this would be my retirement company.
How do you see construction playing a role in nation building?
Construction allows us to develop new skill sets and competencies. It also helps us generate employment in areas where we operate.
In relation to K to 12, how can Aboitiz Construction contribute to enhancing technical and vocational skills?
The company both has a partnership with TESDA and conducts its own training. In the case of Aboitiz Construction, we can focus on building. We plan to talk to some schools in Cebu, because currently, some of the courses focus on other things. Training welders, for example, is something we can look at. The employability of that profession is high, and we need to tap schools for this endeavor.
Can you share with us some updates regarding the brand refresh of Aboitiz Construction?
Recently, we’ve just changed our signage to Aboitiz Construction from Metaphil. Although we can’t really change the brand overnight, I’m happy that us here in Cebu have already started embracing something different: that we’re no longer just a steel and metal fabrication company, we’re an engineering and construction company. And among other things, we now build big components of power plants, we build ports and schools.
How do you see Aboitiz Construction adapting to the digitization that is happening in the organization?
We use a lot of paper, and we recently started the move to digital. I actually just started using the dashboard. We can start on the very basic things: instead of using paper and using the printer for reports, we can instead use our devices. Further, we are actually already monitoring our usage of water, paper, and power.
On a lighter note, what makes Albert Ignacio tick? What makes you get up in the morning?
I always start my day with my family. Also, there are a lot of things that we need to accomplish, and I’d usually start it with a huddle – what are the good and the bad news, the priorities for the week, and the things that you need from the group to help you with your priorities. I know this will help, and there is no harm in replicating something that works. It’s good to talk; communication opens people up to each other.
What are your hobbies?
I love to read. I read fiction, nonfiction, and inspirational books. I still read my math books to tutor my son and my daughter. You’ll be surprised at how difficult math is now! But of course, it helps as a mental exercise. I also teach and prepare modules and lectures.
During weekends, I spend time with my family. On Sundays, we bond and travel, and go to places where we can eat together. I also run in the morning with my kids.
What’s your most memorable personal experience?
I love Japan so much, and previously, I had applied for the Monbusho scholarship. No one knew of my application, not even my parents. They only found out when I was at the airport, about to take the plane to Japan. When my mom found out, I could only imagine what went through her mind. It’s something that still makes me smile, but I know it makes my mom upset!
Could you share a message for your fellow ACI team members?
To my kaubans, let’s continue what we have started. For the year 2017 and onwards, there will be a lot of changes. These changes are meant to enhance and improve. I’m going to need everyone to be as excited as I am in moving the company forward. I cannot do this alone; I need everyone’s help. I’d want to be able to leave a legacy in the next five years.
Watch our interview with Albert below: