Our Industry Person of the Week is Eva Jalon Gonzalez, Director of Sacyr Water.
Q: How did you get started working in your field?
Eva: Once I got the Master of Science in Civil Engineering at the Polytechnic University of Madrid, I spent several years working in the construction sector, both in the area of tenders and in the execution of linear infrastructures. After this I entered the world of concessions and began a journey that would continue to present over 15 years.
I have been working in Sacyr’s Concessions division since 2007 and have held various positions. In June 2020 I took over the general management of Sacyr Water, with the challenge of integrating this strategic activity within Sacyr Concessions and making us a benchmark in the development of complex, sustainable projects, with a high level of applied technology and innovation.
Q: What do you love the most about your job? What are you most proud of?
Eva: The truth is that I love my job, the water sector is exciting and has a huge potential to develop projects that improve the quality of life of citizens and protect the environment. What I like most about my job is, on one hand, having the possibility to contribute to improving this world in a sustainable way and, on the other hand, to have the opportunity, as CEO of the company, to develop and participate in all phases of the value chain, from the development of new projects to their financing and execution, as well as the operation and maintenance of the infrastructures until they are returned to our Clients.
What I am most proud of is the team that makes up Sacyr Water, a team of people committed to the company and excited to be part of it, active participants in the day-to-day running of Sacyr Water, with sustainability and innovation as core values. I am fortunate to have a team of people with very different training and experience, but who know how to work as a team, contributing the best of each one and generating multiplying synergies.
Another reason for pride is that thanks to the work of this magnificent team, since I landed at Sacyr Water in 2020, we have managed to increase our revenues by 40% in these two years and EBITDA by 50%, already setting a trend in our sustainable growth targets.
Q: What advice would you give to someone considering this line of work or new to the field?
Eva: As I mentioned before, the water sector is exciting, not only because it actively contributes to improving the quality of life of citizens and enables the economic development of countries and regions, but also because it is a highly digitalized and innovative sector and is therefore constantly evolving. As a result, there is room for professionals from a multitude areas and interests as technologists, chemists, engineers of all kinds, biologists, computer scientists, laboratory technicians, mechanics, electricians, etc.
Therefore, my advice is to approach this sector without fear, with an open mind and with the desire to contribute new ideas and commit to innovative projects. On the other hand, my advice is to never stop training and studying because, being a sector in constant evolution and development, new technologies and improvements in the efficiency and sustainability of designs and processes emerge every day. In the case of Sacyr, in addition to all this, we are a company committed to diversity, inclusion, sustainability and innovation, making it a great place to develop personally and professionally.
Q: Can you talk about a project you recently worked on?
Eva: There are many recent projects to be proud of, but I would like to mention two, both very different but challenging.
One is the rehabilitation of the SWRO desalination plant Bajo Almanzora, which involves the difficult challenge of repairing and starting up a facility seriously damaged by a flood ten years ago. The other one has been the acquisition of a set of water utilities and assets in different regions of Chile, which supply drinking water and water for industry and then treat wastewater to reuse it, including during all the processes the protection of important areas of great environmental interest. This project is particularly challenging due to its size, geographical dispersion and technological diversity of the facilities and services supplied.
Our great challenge has been, and continues to be, to bring these contracts up to Sacyr’s highest standards in terms of quality, safety, sustainability and technology.
Q: Anything else you would like to add?
Eva: Sacyr Water is seriously committed, as our entire corporation, with the protection of the environment, with abiding by the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and with specific targets in the reduction of our CO2 and water footprint.
In this regard, Sacyr is one of the few companies in the world (if not the only one of this size and characteristics) with the water footprint calculated and certified under ISO 14046, for all our business in all the countries where we are operating. And thanks to Sacyr Water’s projects in desalination and water reuse, we can confirm that the entire Sacyr is Water Positive, which means that we produce more water than we consume.
Connect with Eva Jalon Gonzalez on LinkedIn.