Florida, US – June, 2020
My link to HVAC runs in the family, dating back to my grandfather. He was originally from Spain and moved to Venezuela at a very young age to start working with his uncle in a refrigerator factory. That’s how he started in the refrigeration industry. He became self-employed and began to work without remuneration, in fact, he would pay to be taught. As time passed, he established by himself and dedicated to repairing refrigerators and eventually studied Refrigeration by correspondence.
My father followed in my grandfather’s footsteps, studied engineering, and founded Tecfrica Refrigeration in Venezuela in 1985, where they both worked. At first, he focused on refrigeration, but he soon decided to broaden his horizons and started working on air conditioning. The 90s were very good for my country and also for the company. My father won awards, for several years, with the brands he distributed for obtaining the highest sales in Latin America.
In the 2000’s the situation worsened in Venezuela and the company reoriented towards projects. This is when I finished my Production Engineering degree and began to get involved in the company. We did very important projects: subway lines, shopping malls, hospitals, and the highest office tower in the country.
When my brother started school in the States, my father offered me the opportunity to develop ducted air conditioning in the company. I learned a lot and prepared myself. I managed to become a mechanical contractor, and in 2016 I opened my own company installing air conditioning equipment. It is a lot of responsibility. We are still very small, only 10 people, but we carry out all the phases of the process without subcontracting.
At the moment we are all working from home. The health crisis has not had a major impact on the sector since construction was classified as an essential industry, so we have not stopped our activity. However, everything is considerably slower. We have also received aid from the US government which will help us significantly in these months.
Venezuela is being affected much more since we already had an economic and political crisis. The government there has taken very restrictive measures that have completely paralyzed the country’s economic activity. We are tremendously affected over there. My brother, who oversees the company now, has been experiencing major difficulties in moving forward with pending projects.
But perhaps the hardest part of all of this, for me, has been something personal. I lost my mother a couple of days before the lockdown… Confinement has been, especially difficult in this situation, locked up, no other distractions, it has been a very complicated month.
Despite everything, I think this is going to help us become stronger. It is going to be a learning experience. It is going to teach us to value more what we have, to be prepared for future situations, to be more cautious regarding money, and above all, it is going to teach us to help each other so that no one is left behind.