Originating from the sunny island of St Lucia, Amarna Consult is a small group with a wide influence, and an even greater vision. We spoke with Dannys Delgado Martínez, Senior Architect and 3D Specialist, about the services Amarna offer their many clients, and where the ambitious company is heading next.
Amarna Consult was founded in 2003 to provide services in the fields of civil and structural engineering and architecture. In the fourteen years since, the company has evolved and expanded its services; their operations are now extensive, covering geotechnical engineering, construction supervision, project management, value engineering, soil sampling & drilling and soil testing. During this time, Armana’s reach had been growing as much as their capabilities – from modest beginnings in St. Lucia, the engineering company now has a presence across the Caribbean, including St. Vincent & the Grenadines, Trinidad & Tobago, St. Kitts & Nevis, Dominica and Grenada. Their ambition not stopping there, they next have their sights set on the Americas – both North, Central and South.
Amarna Consult’s name has earnt a strong reputation in every country it is has reached, with the company quickly making themselves known. We spoke with Dannys Delgado Martínez, Senior Architect and 3D Specialist, about how the company has been received: “Over the last decade, Amarna has established an excellent reputation for delivering optimized and quality-controlled designs at unprecedented speed, and as the most cost-effective solutions for our clients. In order to achieve this high degree of productivity and efficiency, our design process combines cutting-edge technologies with the best and brightest minds the industry has to offer.”
These are confident claims, and this confidence is key; the construction industry is a highly competitive sector in the Caribbean, especially in recent years. We spoke with Dannys about where this competition is coming from; “New technologies are emerging every day that make the construction process faster and cheaper”, he explains. With fast-paced innovation and evolution, a company must stay up to speed or fall behind, both in order to provide the very best service, and also the most cost-effective. Amarna are well aware, and keep their eyes always on these developments; “Amarna aims to provide our clients with a high-quality service, tailor-made to their needs, budgets and expectations. Our company makes its designs based on the latest market technologies, providing more feasible solutions generating savings to our customers.”
“However, there are several challenges, especially here in the Caribbean. People are mostly familiarized with traditional construction systems and are reluctant to use new technologies such as metal structures, flooring systems and insulated walls systems because they think are not as strong as traditional ones. This is not true – these systems are internationally certified, and have been proven to be as or more resistant than traditional ones.”
This challenge poses the conflict facing professional construction and engineering groups in the region – on the one hand, there is the pressure to stay as modern as possible, so that your company is offering the very best in value and reliable quality. However, although competing companies are aware of the benefits to these solutions, if the public remains wary, they will not hire your company to implement them. As with all times of change, marketing here is key, as is the need to innovate in a way that will appeal to the client. One approach taken by Amarna is to work to existing designs whilst looking for strong and efficient alternatives to particular materials or solutions. By keeping solutions similar in feel, but more cost effective and reliable in delivery, they are able to make the customer comfortable with and welcoming of the improved technologies in use.
The other way Amarna strives to implement and encourage the very best in modern engineering solutions is in working closely with manufacturers. By collaborating, Amarna and their manufacturers can combine their expertise to produce something that raises them both to a new level: “What characterizes us is the work in conjunction with the leading manufacturers of new technologies, generating solutions based on their products, benefiting each other and satisfying all the expectations of the client.”
Some of manufacturers Amana Consult work most closely with include the flooring system manufacturers Speedfloor USA, headquartered in Ohio; the Brazilian steel frame and flooring system manufacturer Medabil, headquartered in Sao Paulo; the Trinitarian steel frame manufacturer Kee-Chanona Ltd. and the American insulated concrete block system manufacturer Omni Block. This network is as wide-spread as the countries they operate in, with links in North and South America already paving the way for the company’s planned expansions.
Despite being a small company of only 14 full-time employees, including technical and administrative staff, these manufacturers are just one aspect of the company’s full, branching network: “Amarna is characterized by making alliances with consultants, manufacturers and construction companies with high prestige, both at regional and international levels. As I mentioned before, our designs are based on the new technologies, and for their successful implementation, we make alliances with said companies in order to offer a high-quality product.” At a local level, Amarna partner with companies such as Metro Construction and CMS, both headquarter in Santa Lucia. Further afield, their relationships include multidisciplinary consulting companies such as Coles Associates Ltd, headquartered in Canada, and the multinational TYPSA, which has offices in America, Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia. Each connection not only allows the company to create the most efficient and advanced designs, but also expands the small company’s extensive influence and reach.
Dannys has been a senior figure in Amarna’a select team for three years, and as a Senior Architect, the position has brought many creative challenges across his desk. “I was working for another company in St Kitts when I received the offer to join Amarna. I did not hesitate for a moment; I knew it would be a very good opportunity to expand my knowledge and face new situations, and all at a regional level in a company of great prestige.”
In his three years with Amarna, Dannys has been able to test his architectural knowledge, and has also learned and developed other essential skills, including those of leadership. In a close-knit team, navigating this role well is essential. We asked Dannys how he approaches the task, as well as what he sees as important qualities in the company’s leading directors, MD Akhnaton St Rose and Technical Director Na’im Jn Pierre:
“A leader must have mental, emotional and spiritual strength. If you want to be an effective leader you must transmit a strength that will allow you to influence others. A leader must also present themselves as a good example, and must be enthusiastic about the work. Finally, they should also be ethical – this is the backbone of leadership success, as employees are also people and deserve a reciprocal respect. Ethics are also essential because a leader is useless if they are not true to their word; if you want to be a great leader, there must be agreement between what you say and what you do.”
With such clear and inspiring goals for leadership, Amarna are well-set to continue their work in guiding and improving construction efforts in the region. One of their vaster and most important current projects is the assessment of the OECS (Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States) Community Colleges – a project aiming to enable the Eastern Caribbean Institute of Tourism (ECIT) to meet the training and education needs of the diversified hospitality and tourism sector in member countries. They are doing this by expanding the facilities at the OECS colleges – namely, upgrading the Tourism and Hospitality departments. “We undertake an assessment of audio-visual requirements for ECLT and propose recommendations for retrofitting these facilities for the use of virtual classrooms under the NETHTE project.” The project, taking place in multiple colleges throughout the Caribbean, will empower locals who are looking to enter the extremely lucrative tourism industry, opening up a reliable route into one of the strongest sectors in the region.
Amarna’s long-term goal is simple yet ambitious: to become one of the most respected engineering firms in the Caribbean region by 2020. With their target date fast approaching, how are they going about chasing this goal? “Our strategy is to continue to expand our services to other countries by developing our network, establishing long-term cooperation agreements and forming alliances with strategic partners. We aim to combine a highly skilled team with the most innovative engineering practices in order to bring the very best solutions to our clients, and most of all, we aim to conduct all our business with the highest level of integrity.”
These are all solid strategies, but when chasing a vision, the most important ingredient is passion. Dannys knows this all too well, and has strong feelings on how to move forwards for anyone pursuing a goal:
“First, believe in what you want to do; believe in your dream no matter what others say and how difficult it can be. Life is a learning process and success is reached through a path of failures. If we know how to accept them and we learn from them, we will have new opportunities. That is why it is important to persevere, to not conform and to keep pushing until you reach your objective. Remember, losers let things happen and winners make things happen.”
These are some motivating words to enter the New Year on; only time will tell if they take Amarna where it aims to go, and Endeavour will be on hand to report back!