April 24, 2014

Odebrecht: Profile of a midsized company

Best Midsized Company No. 9 - Construction

Amy Keller | 7/24/2012


Jorge Mendoza, now a project executive, credits coaching for his rise at Odebrecht. [Photo: Daniel Portnoy]
Ten years ago, after earning a master’s degree in construction management from Florida International University, Jorge Mendoza landed an internship at Odebrecht USA. Today, Mendoza is a project executive at the company, where he is overseeing the $500-million, 2.4-mile extension of the Miami-Dade Metrorail from the existing Earlington Heights station to the new Miami Intermodal Center adjacent to Miami International Airport.

Mendoza says his climb up the career ladder was made possible by the mentoring and coaching that Odebrecht provided. “I’m 35 years old, and they’ve given me all the opportunities and chances to become the person that I am right now.”
Nurturing talent is an imperative for Gilberto Neves, president and CEO of the Coral Gables-based subsidiary of Odebrecht, a Brazilian company. “We’re very clear that employees have to mentor other employees. Succession planning is very strong, and we place an emphasis on training young talent so they can end up running the business,” says Neves.

This past year, the company launched a new “young partner program,” a yearly program that identifies, recruits and grooms young professionals for a career at Odebrecht. College students can apply to be interns during their junior or senior year. College students who are six to 12 months away from graduating can apply to the company’s “young partner trainee program,” which allows them to work at a variety of Odebrecht sites and engage in different assignments over a couple of years.

While young partners are usually pursuing degrees in such fields as engineering, construction management, business and finance, not every position requires a college degree. In fact, most don’t, says Neves. “We hire people with field experience — operators, carpenters, laborers.”

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