PRIMEX @ 30: Message of the CEO

ECA speech PRIMEX anniversary

Distinguished guests, colleagues, friends, and family, 

On behalf of the PRIMEX Board of Directors, Management, and Staff, I extend a warm welcome to you all, especially our special guests from Cambodia, Japan, and Viet Nam who are here to join us as we celebrate 30 years of PRIMEX. 

Thirty years is a long time. In 1989, the Berlin wall came down, leading to the unification of Germany. It was the year of the pro-democracy rallies in Tiananmen Square in China. Madonna released her hit “Like a Prayer” that year. 

The Cosby Show was the number one show on television. The Dalai Lama received his Nobel Prize. Luigi, my eldest son, was just 15 years old then, and Jojo Leviste, Chairman Joey Leviste’s only child, was just 10 years old. 

From our modest beginnings, PRIMEX has grown into a highly successful international consulting firm with completed and ongoing projects, mostly funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), in 36 countries in the Asia-Pacific region, perhaps the only 100% Filipino consulting company with such a wide geographic reach.

Since 2012, PRIMEX has grown exponentially, expanding into new sectors (such as urban and infrastructure development, particularly transport, climate change adaptation, and disaster risk management). We has also worked in more countries in the Pacific, South Asia, and Central Asia than in our earlier years. In addition, we are doing more work in the Philippines than ever before, mostly in infrastructure development under the current government’s Build Build Build program.

After almost three decades in consulting, we’ve decided that we should expand our wings, go where we have not gone before, and do what we have not done before. We thought it was time that we moved out of our comfort zone to pursue projects funded by development agencies other than ADB in other regions in Asia, particularly South and Central Asia, and even in other parts of the world like Africa and Latin America.

Doing so, however, would be such a daunting task that would involve tremendous risks.

And so, when the opportunity to pursue our new vision with a formidable partner presented itself, we just had to say Yes.

It was not an easy decision, especially for me, who founded this company and nurtured it, through thick and thin over 30 long years, to what it is today.

So, with the approval of our Board of Directors, we entered into discussions with Oriental Consultants Global (or OCG) of Tokyo, Japan on how PRIMEX and OCG can form a partnership of equals, which will enable our two companies to achieve much, much more than what each company could do individually.

And indeed, our discussions have shown that working together, both our companies could go where we have not gone before, and do what we have not done before. And I personally look forward to the strategic partnership of PRIMEX and OC Global, and the benefits that it will bring to both our companies and shareholders.

Today, 30 years from 1989, a unified Germany is an economic powerhouse, pro-democracy rallies are going on in Hongkong,  Madonna is already an aging singer, Bill Cosby is in jail, the Dalai Lama is in exile, but my son Luigi is still my baby boy. Kidding aside, Luigi is now a senior IT manager in a large Australian BPO company that he helped set up in the Philippines, and Jojo is a lawyer and the President of a multi-awarded real estate development company.

A lot has changed in 30 years, but some things remain the same. PRIMEX remains committed to the highest standards of performance and continues to deliver consistently high-quality consulting services. I still write technical proposals for PRIMEX-led projects and edit all major reports, and our managers and staff remain steadfast and passionate in their work.

Today, PRIMEX turns 30, and we are ready to reach for even greater heights. With OCG as our partner, PRIMEX will grow from strength to strength and will be an even greater force to reckon with in the consulting industry, both in the Philippines and in the region.

Indeed, there is so much to celebrate tonight.

But before we party, allow me to express my sincere gratitude and appreciation to you – our clients, partners, colleagues, and friends – for your trust and confidence in PRIMEX.

I also wish to thank the PRIMEX Board of Directors – our Chair, Joey Leviste, and our Directors (Jerry Sison, Jackie Cruz, Emong Morales, Jojo Leviste, and Luigi Baluyut) for their full, constant, and unwavering support.

I very much appreciate the hard work, dedication, and loyalty of my PRIMEX Family, particularly Baby Gutierrez, who is mainly responsible for our successful foray into the infrastructure sector, as well as Leo Pura, Wheng Manalo, and our technical services and finance and administration officers and staff.

I am deeply grateful to Jackie Cruz and Mar Gapud for their valuable legal and financial advice, and for their genuine friendship, especially during the trying times of our company’s existence.

We are where we are because of all of you.

Let me also extend my sincere thanks to Mr. Ryohei Ishii, whose initiative it was that led to this partnership with OCG, to Mr. Yasunori Hashimoto, whose diligence and hard work behind the scenes made it possible for us to finalize our agreement in the nick of time, and, most of all, to Mr Eiji Yonezawa, OCG President, for believing in PRIMEX.

Finally, I wish to say a special Thank You to Jerry Sison, the love of my life and my partner at home and at work, and to Luigi and Ana, my two children, for their love, understanding, and support. They are my inspiration and my reason for being.

Today, PRIMEX turns 30. It also marks the beginning of an exciting new phase in our corporate existence.

We hope you will continue to accompany us in our journey towards becoming a truly global Filipino consulting company.

Maraming salamat po sa inyong lahat at Mabuhay!

I have the honor to introduce to you the President of Oriental Consultants Global, Mr. Eiji Yonezawa. Let us welcome him with a round of applause.

— Elvira C. Ablaza, PRIMEX President and CEO
EDSA Shangrila Hotel Manila, 7 August 2019