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Category Archives: Entrevistas

Hugo Pérez Ovalles The brain and name behind Therrestra

The history of our country is full of illustrious names that painted his passage through this land of glory. We study his life and work at school from childhood, and we turn them into referents of how a good citizen should be. However, in this current story that continues to be written day by day, there is another class of men and women who, although they do not need to defend the Homeland with weapons in hand, as back then, if they represent an example of work, improvement, dignity and honesty.

The city of Moca, cradle of great Dominicans forever, is the small homeland of Hugo Pérez Ovalles, an enterprising man who has fought his own battles with effort to become what he is today. The brain and name behind “Therrestra”, a construction company serving tourism, residential and commercial investments, dedicated to the design, construction and supervision of projects in both the Dominican Republic and the Caribbean.

They currently have a presence in Jamaica and the Dominican Republic, generating 2,000 jobs. They are also registered as a company in Aruba, Saint Martin, Saint Lucia, Jamaica, Cuba and the United States.

Through Huellas, today we know a little more about the ideology of life of someone who started from scratch, but has no intention of stopping.

1- Ever dreamed of being a great construction entrepreneur?

As a child I dreamed of being a cabinetmaker or baker. There was a bakery in front of the house.

Dream about being an engineer? Never

Great businessman? Never

After graduation, and like a typical engineer, he dreamed of having a dump truck (3M3), a spinning top, a compactor and making two houses per year.

2- Moving between two worlds like construction and business, would you say that they are your vocation? How did you find out?

Professionally speaking, it doesn’t matter what you do to live, because you can’t separate it from the word business. They collude. To develop a good construction is to do a good business for the present and future.

I think that my vocation, although I am not good at selling myself, I am a little rough in that aspect, is that I do not get tired, I have no limits. I fight responsibly for what I believe is right.

3- You have been at the forefront of important projects, managing to stand out in a very competitive area. What has been the key?

In what you do, there must always be something that sets you apart from others. Our secret is: good price, good execution, handling, completion, responsibility and deliveries before the required time. In conclusion, the key is to take care of all the details, all of them.

4- What things do you need to achieve with your company?

Human nature is not being conformist. We always want more. We want to continue working to become a benchmark and example throughout the Caribbean, that Dominicans can do. We have the talents, the techniques and the ability.

5- What would you like to achieve that can be considered your greatest contribution to society?

The day he died, to cite an example, Freddy Beras Goico, each citizen, the government, all unanimously, we regret his departure. I think that if at the end of our time, the country, your province, your town or your neighborhood, name a street, a park, make a bust or whatever your name is, then your passage through Earth will not have been in vain. We want to be ambassadors of the Dominican Republic.

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“We are walking towards a certain future” Hugo Pérez Ovalles

At the beginning of the conversation, one of the first words that comes out of our interviewee’s mouth is “excellent”. This is how you define the professional moment in which you are currently.

“When I graduated, I asked life as an engineer to let me build two houses a year and have a small truck, a top and a compactor. We now have a vehicle fleet and build two hotels per year. Life has multiplied my desire as a young man by thousands ”.

“In my position I handle many different topics; from meetings to budgets, quotes, accounting, insurance, human resources, social responsibility, advertising, etc. It is a very interesting job and not boring at all. Every day is a new adventure. A new opportunity, a new beginning ”.

Hugo Pérez has a critical and expert view of his area, which makes him a first-hand observer when it comes to seeing how Santo Domingo is urbanistically speaking. That is why he does not hesitate when he tells us that “as a builder I am proud of the number of modern buildings that are being built right now in Santo Domingo. Our city is on the way to becoming more modern and avant-garde in terms of architectural designs. ” “We are walking towards a certain future. I do worry about vehicular traffic in relation to the increase in housing

There is a lack of infrastructure to meet real needs. I don’t see an urban plan that supports this new flow of vehicles, ”he adds. Hugo refers to a great filmmaker, at the moment when we asked him how he faces each new challenge.

“Billy Wilder already said it through one of his characters:” Life is a war, friend. ” For me life is a war, every day is a battle, I fight battle by battle, that is, day by day, I can lose a battle but never the war. Step by step, day by day, minute by minute … His personal definition of a perfect day is as follows: “A perfect day is when you leave home with many activities on the agenda and appointments, and at the end of the day you have met all appointments at your times. Everyone received you, nothing was postponed and not a single tire was punctured in your car. ”

Are you a beach man or a mountain man?
I work under the sun, facing the sea. When I have free time, it doesn’t even occur to me to think about the beach. I am a lover of mountains, cold and fresh water.

What is your relationship with gastronomy? Kitchens?
What I did not eat was not born. I have no favorite food, I can eat anything. I am not crafty when eating, so I eat to live and I do not live to eat. Yes, I am learning to make sandwiches.

What do travel mean to you? Recurring places you go to again and again? Places to see pending on your list?
One day I said no more, I got tired of seeing the world through TV, magazines, books and the internet. I like to travel, to know, to enjoy, it is one of my passions. I am always in Miami, Cuba, NY. I go to Aspen every year, I repeat and I never tire. I still have everyone to know: Thailand, Australia, Russia, etc.

How is your relationship with the different arts. Architecture, painting, etc.?
I am doing very badly drawing, trying to draw a horse for my daughters I did something similar to a dog but ugly. I like music and dance for art.

What would you like your legacy to be?
I have always thought that if at the end of my days, even if it were a street, park or building that bore my name, I would feel fulfilled. I don’t want to go through this life as one more. I would like to change many things in my country, but that does not depend on me. I hope I can change some lives and influence my way of thinking and acting on others. That would be my legacy.

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Hugo Pérez Ovalles “With the attitude for business you are born”

From the age of nine, Hugo Pérez Ovalles understood the meaning of hard and dignified work. He started in a carpentry workshop, where he received one peso a week, and when Saturday came, the day of his remuneration, he felt like the happiest child in the world. From his childhood in his native Moca he fondly remembers the joy and camaraderie of the people of the neighborhood.

Thanks to his desire to excel, he excelled in studies and was able to access the Educational Credit for Academic Excellence program, making him the first of his family to enter university. In 1995, barely 21 years old, he graduated with honors in Civil Engineering from the Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra de Santiago de los Caballeros. His thirst for learning, effective performance and overflowing passion for the exercise of construction and business led him to occupy different positions, from resident engineer of work to project manager.

After working on several hotel proposals and studying the existing business models, he envisioned a new niche in the management and direction of tourism projects, which led him, in 2004, to independently introduce himself and assume the development of small projects of hotels that large companies ruled out. Seeing the potential of the tourist cluster model, he decided to take a risk and, that same year, founded Therrestra, a company dedicated to the design, construction and supervision of this type of project.

What business models served as the basis for launching independently?

The opportunity to work for myself came alone, I did not propose it, I just took it. But of course, with 10 years of experience he knew what to do and what not to do. I think I took a little from each place I was, I took the best of what I learned in each experience to build a solid business platform. He is one of those entrepreneurs who come from a family with few resources, excel and fight for an ideal.

 

What were the biggest challenges you faced when you decided to start your own company?

My case is not unique or special, there are thousands of stories like mine and with which I identify. My biggest problem when starting work was the economic part. The only material I had at the time was a truck. I went to the bank and they lent me 350,000 pesos with it as collateral. With that money and my vehicle I went to Bávaro to work. That amount was all my capital and all my financial resources.

Why Therrestra? Did you see any guarantee that it was a niche where you could break through and grow?

Therrestra comes from terrestrial, because we are all terrestrial. I did not know if it would work, there was no certainty of that, but I was sure of one thing: there was a lot of work, I wanted to work and I was willing to try it.

 

How is Therrestra different from other companies in your area? What is your strong point?

There are so many construction companies… In essence we all do the same thing, but from the beginning we have done the same thing but very quickly. Our delivery times are very short. Therein lies our strong point. In 2016 the company achieved the milestone of being in charge of 50% of hotel construction in Jamaica, 11 years after venturing into the neighboring island.

How does the expansion process continue in the Caribbean?

We are registered as a company in Jamaica, Aruba and Saint Martin. We are trading in Dominica and Antigua and Barbuda. We understand that there is a lot of hotel potential to exploit throughout the Caribbean.

Where do you think the construction industry is heading in the area of ​​hospitality in the Dominican Republic? Do you think that the government’s goal of reaching 10 million tourists per year by 2022 is a good incentive for the sector to become more dynamic and create more rooms?

I understand that construction is going very well, Dominicans are solidly positioned in hotel construction and this continues. All of us swimming in the same direction can make the government’s goal of 10 million tourists a year possible. I have no doubt that this can be accomplished; that’s what we are working for. Many entrepreneurial initiatives end up disappearing in the short term or have to reinvent themselves to survive.

What would it take for that failure rate to decrease?

There is a song that says: “What once was, will not be.” That is the harsh truth, what works for you today, is not what works for tomorrow, and by nature we are reluctant to change. But it has been shown that without change the tendency is to cease to exist. We must let the market tell us what product to make. We must listen and stop thinking that the world revolves around ourselves.

She is still very young and at 44 she has a long way to go in this life. Do you have other business ideas that you would like to implement?

Of course I have other business ideas, and we are already putting them into practice, slowly … but we are on our way. Despite his youth, his extraordinary career puts him in a position to be able to give advice to those who want to start and execute their initiatives.

What words can you dedicate to them?

There is no magic word or specific action for success. Too many variables are involved for success to occur. If I had to use a single word, it would be “attitude.” Knowledge is acquired, experience is acquired … but with attitude one is born.

Cuando Hugo Pérez Ovalles no está pensando en Therrestra –o cuando la temporada de turno de Billions se terminó–, ¿cómo emplea su tiempo de ocio?

¡Uf!, me encantan las aventuras, paracaídas y parapente asistidos, rafting, senderismo de montaña, me gusta esquiar, viajar… Me cansé de ver el mundo a través de libros, revistas, películas… Simplemente quiero verlo con mis propios ojos. Un lugar de República Dominicana al que siempre le gusta volver y recomendaría a un extranjero que viene a conocer el país…

The Manabao swamp is my escape, my retreat, my peace. The telephones do not work there, the rivers are clean and cold; there are mountain houses, or you can sleep in a “sleeping bag” in a tent; There is a grocery store, a cold beer, and many, many good people in that place.

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