WHEN Ambitech Asia first opened its only office in the country early this month, it did so with a firm belief in the Filipino engineer’s creativity, dedication, loyalty, hardwork, perseverance and great communication skills.
Ambitech, established in America in 1982 by founder Allan Koenig, chairman and chief executive officer, had quite a number of Filipino engineers who had worked and stayed with his company for 18 years, with the recent years’ upswings in construction and engineering design. This moved him into seriously considering the Philippines as the hub for Asia.
But prior to launching the Manila office, Koenig and his country general manager Mark Sandoval went to Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia for prospecting. But because Sandoval and two other Filipino engineers—Jun Bautista and Virgilio Baluyot who have worked long with Ambitech—egged the owner to try and look at the Philippines, which they did, this convinced Koenig that the Philippines is the ideal hub for Asia.
Besides having the available highly skilled and dedicated engineers in the country and a steady supply of brilliant young licensed engineers (from engineering schools), the company is also looking at those who trained on short courses offered or accredited by the government but have the same, if not more passion for excellence, as other sources of engineers for its projects.
As Sandoval explained to The Manila Times, the out of school youths who train in technical vocational schools turn out to excel in attention to details, faithful execution of designs, and a deeper passion to prove their worth not just to themselves but in the workplace.
Of course, he added, a lot of engineers who have been earning huge in the Middle East (but are on their end-contract) wanting to return home to their families for good are a rich source of experienced engineers that Ambitech wants to corner.
“Definitely we can’t match their rates abroad, but we can give them a decent salary, world-class exposure [as technology affords Ambitech the opportunity to design a job anywhere in the world]and the security of being near their families anytime they want to,” he said.
Ambitech engineers would do a lot of traveling to the project sites, designing and even procurement since the company can buy the specified processing line the client wants, since the company has a deep network of reliable suppliers globally, Sandoval said.
This civil engineer obtained his college and masters in construction management from Berkeley after which he worked in big US companies, taught in the university, and got involved in high-rise projects before joining Ambitech. Then at Ambitech, he met a number of Filipino engineers who have impressed him and Koenig with their accomplishments, their passion for the job, loyalty and other outstanding qualities. But he was quick to say “I am also a father.”
He said that the engineers at Ambitech Asia are going to work on a project hand-in-hand with the engineers in the US. Right now, there are just eight engineers at Ambitech Philippines, having just opened its doors and is just constructing a $75-million factory in Rosario, Pasig, that would make automated and high-tech mixes.
Ambitech’s entry into the country is timed with the boom in manufacturing and consumer products that “we are ready and willing to ride on,” Sandoval said, adding that this would in fact catalyze its growth in number of employees to say 150 in a year’s time.
Sandoval recalls fondly how Koenig first explored the possibility of putting up the hub in the Philippines by writing an email to all the Filipino engineers in Ambitech US, asking them how many are willing to return to Manila to put up an office here with no fixed time frame. “He got 100 percent confirmations, everybody wanted to come home,” Sandoval said.
Ambitech’s roster of repeat clients in the US—borne by its 30 years of reliable service record—are: GlaxoSmithKline, Unilever, oil and energy companies, global consumer durables, cosmetic brands and food manufacturers. Since it just started in the Philippines, the company is just exploring potential clients.
The company can also do retrofitting of existing manufacturing plants that are expanding their production lines to suit current market demands, he said.
Ambitech in the US is one of 100 top engineering companies in the field of plant design; civil/structural/architectural, electrical, instrumentation and controls; mechanical, process; and piping and stress analysis.
For five straight years, Ambitech has won the Northwest Indiana Business Roundtable award, which provides a collaborative forum to Northwest Indiana business and industry to advance safety, quality and value of construction and maintenance projects for its over 7.5-million man-hours of work safety.
Koenig and Sandoval are unanimous in wishing to provide local employment to skilled engineers to help control the country’s brain drain problem.