Founder and director of Norte Construcciones
"I never thought I would end up writing a prologue. Neither did I think fifty years ago that I would become an entrepreneur and that, together with Patricio we would embark on the path that led us up to what 'La Norte' is today.
Perhaps time and the path travelled and the fact that this is doubly a family-owned business, all contributed to the interest of our children, nephews and nieces in learning more in depth about this story and writing about it.
And because everything takes place in a family setting, my nieces Martina and Olivia – two communications and photography 'fundamentalists' – stepped in to drive this challenging task forward.
'Constructing' has been a wonderful task: From a simple house to a building, a neighbourhood, a school, a supermarket, a hotel, among others. Starting a construction project from scratch, making it grow and seeing it completed so that it can endure the test of time as a lasting memory.
Believe me, it is wonderful to reach this stage, to be able to look back and see the path travelled.
Great people have visited our offices and construction sites. Clients, architects, engineers, foremen, bricklayers, smiths, carpenters and many more. Our friends also visited us at the office, simply stopping by for a chat and to have coffee or drink mate with us.
Countless memories and anecdotes; it would be impossible to recount them all. I have the fondest memories of each and every one of them. We had great times and also difficult times, we lived the 'boom' years and also the lows of Punta del Este, but always giving the best of ourselves, and with lots of work and effort.
As I mentioned earlier, this is a wonderful activity, even though I also recognise and admit that it can be very burdensome, particularly in current times. It certainly would never have been possible to reach 50 years in business if we hadn’t complemented one another, combining tolerance and shared objectives, always seeking continuous improvement and development.
The moment has come to step aside in a non-traumatic way and to enjoy a well-deserved retirement".
Founder and director of Norte Construcciones
"There is not much more I can add about Norte. The following pages describe the path travelled so far, the achievements and the stages leading up to where we are today.
For those who were involved since its inception, it is a pleasure to know that illusions and challenges have remained at the core of the company down to the present day.
Precisely at an age when memories and anecdotes abound, together with recollections of successes and failures, while the rush of adrenaline and forthcoming challenges subsides, it is reassuring to realise that there are certain things that endure beyond our own personal lifetime. And that those challenges and those illusions have not faded away but remain at the core of the company’s raison d’être.
This is like having a child, but at the same time, it’s different. Our children have their own projects and whatever may happen to them, this is something inherent only to them and non-transferable, much in the same way as it happened to me. An enterprise is a collective task.
When your whole life lies ahead of you and you have to decide your way forward, is when you have to make choices, and these are entirely your own – you may receive advice, but ultimately this will be your own decision. A personal one.
In these pages, Ana María describes the experience of her father, Mr Saturnino Cantera. He is an example of one the numerous Spanish immigrants who left their homeland, family and everything else behind in the search of new horizons. These immigrants arrived harbouring the hope of a better life, their backpacks laden with only that, namely hope. They arrived in a country they knew nothing about. They had to fend for themselves and determine their own destiny. They had no relatives or benefactors or politicians who could lend them a helping hand; they had no communities to resort to for support. And yet, they managed to achieve what many of us are unable to achieve, even when we have all those things they lacked.
To all intents and purposes, Norte has some of those traits. And please, I would not want this to be understood as a self-referenced example of a successful company. Norte is a large company in Maldonado; it is medium-sized in Uruguay, small in the region and insignificant in the global context. What I would like to convey, and particularly to the younger people, is the joy of knowing that such illusions and challenges are achievable. That with effort, work and responsibility we can be the protagonists of our own lives and through our descendants, renew our hopes, knowing how to face failures and, at the end of the road, realise that nothing was in vain and it was well-worth the way.
This is, after all, a message of hope: to realize that, no matter how difficult your next step may be, you have to face it, with hard work and effort, confident that you will be able to move ahead – and supported by your beliefs. As Saint Francis said: "Try to do what is possible, God will take care of the impossible".