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PANAMA - Industry

Luis de la Maza

President & CEO, Hilti Latin America & Executive Vice President, Hilti Group

Bio

Luis de la Maza is an industrial engineer with a master’s in marketing and sales from IE Business School. He joined Hilti 12 years ago as head of sales and engineering in Spain before moving to Qatar as general manager in 2015. He has been President & CEO of Hilti Latin America and Executive Vice President at Hilti Group since 2019.

"Our sustainability strategy at Hilti has three main pillars: environment, people, and society."
With offices in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Mexico, and Peru, Hilti chose Panama as its regional hub representing a small portion of its business given its many advantages.
What type of market is Hilti trying to engage with in the region?

In Hilti, our corporate mission is to be the best partner for productivity, safety, and sustainability for our customers. We work with construction professionals in the sectors of commercial and residential construction, energy, and industry. We work with all the players, from specifiers to subcontractors, as well as main contractors. In energy and industry, we work mainly with EPCs on the execution phase, but also with the owners as the specification and maintenance phases. We see major opportunities in the region in the coming years in infrastructure in general, including energy generation, transmission and distribution, transportation, as well as healthcare. There is a growing need for infrastructure in the region, and governments are investing heavily in this area. Another area where we see good opportunities is affordable housing, where there is good public funding in markets such as Brazil, Colombia, and Chile, and many construction companies are specializing in this area to increase productivity and safety. In the industry sectors, in the last 12-24 months we have seen an acceleration in new data centers in Latin America, as well as pulp and paper projects to cope with the high increase of online sales. In addition, nearshoring is bringing important investments to Mexico that we expect to continue for the next two to three years.

What advantages have you seen in Panama in being a hub for the entire region?

Panama represents a small portion of our business in Latin America, but over 10 years ago we decided to establish here our hub for the region. From here we give service to all our markets in the region in areas like marketing, HR, finance, logistics, or aftersales. We bring employees from other markets in the region and globally to supply those services from the hub. We chose Panama after analyzing different options, and Panama ranked first in areas such as quality of life, safety, good connection to the rest of the region, easiness to do business. Everyone is always willing to come to work in Panama. Currently, we have 130 employees in our hub in Panama providing services to the rest of Latin America.

What projects has Hilti been engaging in to achieve its sustainability goals?

Our sustainability strategy at Hilti has three main pillars: environment, people, and society. In Latin America, we focus in the areas where we can have a stronger impact. On environment, our main focus is on upgrading the car fleet of our salesforce to more sustainable options where possible. We are also investing in upgrading our warehouses, offices, and service centers to reduce consumption and use more sustainable sources of energy. On society, our activities are focused on having an impact in our communities mainly through the Hilti Foundation, with programs such as music for children and affordable housing for communities in need. We also have an initiative called Engaged Beyond Business (EBB) that consists of giving each employee one full day to contribute to the social/environmental initiative of their choice or to participate in one of the many we organize as a company. It is not only about donating funds to support our communities; we see the biggest impact when team members involve themselves in bringing initiatives to life.

Are there any plans to implement these programs in Panama?

Having a Hilti Hub in Panama means we have 130 team members living here, and they are naturally rooted in the community. As part of the EBB program, our colleagues in Panama have the opportunity to participate in many social and environmental activities. Some examples of the activities we did in 2023 are building houses for families in communities in need, collaboration with community centers for elder people and children, collaboration with animal shelters, or environmental initiatives such as reforestation and beach clean-ups.

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