By Santiago Jaramillo H.
The story of Cristian Andrade is undoubtedly to be admired. When he was still a university student he had a marked interest: to be independent, and although today he recognizes it with laughter, at that time he was not afraid to launch himself into the business world, he did it from his own room and then complemented his business using a space in his mother's house.
That first approach advanced him as an event producer and, after going through the hardships of carrying out a business idea, he obtained his first great achievement at the head of his company in May 1991, four months after starting the company, he won the ibm and XEROX account to produce events, stands at fairs and provide models of events.
"It was entertaining and exciting" -emphasizes Andrade of this experience- but also admits that the good things did not stop there, he relates in a joking way that "after a while they asked me from Argentina for a videowall What was that?, well finally I charged a bill that allowed me to buy 25 televisions and 25 VHS and keep them ... I didn't know what to do with them, except that I put pressure on all my clients," says this enthusiastic southern representative, who is about to turn 20 years in the A/V industry.
After this enriching stage, in 1994, Andrade decided to turn his company around, that is how he gradually began a process of transformation until in 1996 he made the decision to move away definitively from production, stand design and other services, to dedicate himself 100% to the rental of audiovisual solutions for events, reason for being that still retains Proyecto Renta, one of the most important companies in Chile in this sector.
From that moment, says the CEO of this company, "I started the search for products of excellence and for that I went to Infocomm 96 in Philadelphia, United States. There I began my relationship with Extron Electronics, which continues to this day. Also thanks to this fair I keep Draper, Mitsubishi and Bosch, among others, as suppliers of my company."
A successful work
Under the premises of precision, immediacy, concern for details, punctuality, innovation and, of course, having a strong orientation to service, the business concept led by Cristian Andrade has been developed, who at the same time as being a tireless worker is a homely man, lover of sport and reading.
Cristian has in his wife and three children an important line of his life, which could be said to be written in capital letters. "Personally I like to enjoy my home, play with my children, read books by authors such as Ludlum and Grisham. I also like to enjoy the good wines of my country."
Moving on to the technological challenges that the A/V industry currently has to face, Andrade assures that this has been supplied through fairs and courses offered by Infocomm. At the same time he maintains that the challenge as director of the company is not to lose the relationship with the staff, "you have to be close, live the jobs and develop instances of proximity, such as football matches, barbecues and other activities of the same tenor," emphasizes Cristian, who is also director of the quality team for the business tourism industry of the Regional Agency for Productive Development of Santiago de Chile.
As for the moment that the audio and video industry in Latin America is experiencing today, our Professional of the Month ponders that "in the rental for hotels, seminars and congresses, a sector in which I am specialized, we depend heavily on the business tourism industry, therefore the strengthening of our sector goes directly through the political and economic actions that each government develops to promote this industry, which contributes four to eight times more than that of the holiday tourist".
In the specific case of Chile, Andrade assures that "this industry has been increasingly increasing thanks to a joint work of public and private instances. This is one of the relevant conditions that a company like ours must have, that more than belonging to the technology industry we belong to the AVIT services industry for the business tourism market, "he stresses.
The future in the region, for the moment, Cristian does not see it as expeditious as he would like, according to him, due to unclear policies that often go to the detriment of the industry itself.
"Regrettable for us, not only are individual efforts enough, but collective efforts as a region are of the utmost importance. Chile in particular has made efforts to promote this industry that have been manifested in the enactment of a tourism law, create the tourism cluster and finally give the Minister of Economy as a relevant area of work tourism in general and with a marked emphasis on business tourism. Unfortunately, the situation of the earthquake has caused the Government to change its investment plans, which is very obvious and necessary, therefore for 2010 the task of promoting the destination to create seminars, conventions and international congresses should be led by the private rather than by the State, "says Andrade, who is a member and Vice President of the SCB (Santiago Convention Bureau).
Leaving aside the facet of businessman, and after suffering in his own flesh the earthquake experienced in Chile at the beginning of this year, Cristian Andrade decided to actively link himself with the tragedy that concerns his country and contribute his grain of sand in the middle of the disaster.
"Helping is born from the heart, especially when you see that there are people who used to have little and today have nothing," says Andrade about his motivation to help, adding that "despite having made some efforts, these are nothing compared to what is needed."
"We started with my wife a work of help in the area where we live, which was practically on the ground, it is a rural area with adobe constructions (mud brick) that did not withstand such an earthquake. We organized collections with friends in the area to buy food, building materials and helped organize young people who wanted to collaborate. We also visited several families to learn in detail about their situation and finally we have sponsored one of them to rebuild their house," says our Professional of the Month, who invites the community in general to collaborate with whatever is in their hands to help the Chilean people get ahead.