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Stories of wisdom and hard work behind the Ilocano vision - Third of a series

(At the helm of the Venvi Group of companies is the founder and President Atty. Hilario P. Valdez, whom I refer to as the young Ilocano with the vision. In my interactions with the Venvi people, it occurred to me that it would be worth the while to provide the public a face and meaning to the men and women whose hands, minds and hearts are responsible to one of the single biggest development in this northwestern region of the country. Indeed, I have gathered a collection of facts and stories interesting enough to stand alone. The revelation is that these stories are sewn neatly into a tale of well-executed steps towards the “Ilocano vision”.)

III. Venvi Ilocos Staff — Shining Cogs of A Progressive Development Machine

Among my collection of stories about Atty. Larry’s Venvi people, that of the staff stands out to be quite inspiring. Organized for the company’s Ilocos operations, these people carry on their shoulders the pioneering staff work of development and operation of agro-industrial and commercial centers under the Venvi Group.

Human resource(HR) assistant Tezza Leeh Lorenzo describes their Ilocos staff organization as lean yet very efficient. (VVH Realty has 5, Venvi Devt has 9, Venvi Const ___., and Venvi Agro ___.) Except for the Venvi Agro which is based in their Mt. Simmilla agro-industrial village, they have been holding offices at the developing Venvi commercial and business center in San Nicolas, Ilocos Norte.

I got a few minutes of Ms. Tezza’s busy day as she made the rounds for voluntary aid contributions to a bereaved Venvi employee in Bulacan. Tasked primarily for internal company matters, this petite Ilocano professional surprised me with her open cordiality in an unscheduled interview. Plus a bonus of a promise she would e-mail me a couple of paragraphs on her views, which she made good and I am taking the liberty to include here in print.

Ms. Tezza candidly expresses the unwritten Venvi Ilocos rationale in hiring employees.

“There is no doubt that finding a job these days is really difficult. Hiring a good employee for that matter is just as difficult. Though we get flocks of applicants everyday, finding the right applicant for the job with the proper attitude and mindset is something that requires a lot of insight (and sometimes a bit of that gut feeling). Not everyone is willing to throw their gauntlet with a company that has yet to fully spread its wings and I would describe VENVI Ilocos as being this way. The hardships, the sacrifices, the pressure and that extra mile you always have to make is sometimes just a bit too much for some people to handle. Only a few take the challenge of building the foundations for the company here in Ilocos that’s why the workforce treats each other as family and friends…”

Then commends her fellow staff fittingly.

“So I would be the first to say that the staff behind the ropes of VENVI Ilocos,… the unidentified hands that labor over documents and papers, the nameless persons behind the success of each endeavor,… the anonymous individuals who spend hours getting things right for the company… are those people who had found enough glitter in the dust to know that this is only the beginning…that the flight of the company has yet to take off. They know that their seeds of wisdom, sacrifices and hard work now will eventually pay off when the company takes off to greater heights. “

Subsequent conversations with Venvi staff invariably confirms these generalizations. Realty legal assistant Melissa says there’s a lot of work, requirements to comply, problems to solve and lessons to learn. For a comparatively large-scale and complete process of real estate acquisition and development, it’s probably that, and more. Architect Ike Madamba advises local property owners to pay attention in processing their documents, especially land titles. This would matter a lot in the event of sale or development. In my view, this Venvi experience may as well be a major breakthrough in large-scale property development from which future Ilocos developers and local property owners can cull precious lessons.

Engineer Judy (geodetic and civil) of the VDC technical team admits “It’s a challenging and enriching experience. Engineering theories come to life in actual practice…” And quickly she adds, “We owe Venvi so much for the confidence bestowed on us. For that, and for the project’s lofty objectives, we are giving it everything we've got.”

The sales and marketing team of Joy, Miriam and Kristine gave me the final convincing lines as I caught them grabbing a quick lunch in the realty and development bunk office. As the marketing team, they say they meet potential investors — the aggressively decided, the interested but observing and calculating, as well as the mild to heavy skeptics – all invariably very interesting to deal with. Among all the support staffs, they consider themselves the most excited as the 365 Plaza and additional innovations near completion. They are aware of their role of providing the link between property development and business operation – that is staff work of bringing in the lucky investing and tenant businesses.

Marketing & Leasing Coordinator Joy says she always keeps in mind the quote “There is no future any job. The future lies in the one who holds the job”. Like Tezza , she considers their tasks are not for the weak of heart. “…This is not just the biggest project so far, but it is also pioneering in so many ways. Much is expected of the company in this part of the province therefore the pressure to deliver is rather significant… However, we never fail to infuse some fun to ease through our work. That is important, I think. The camaraderie in our team is something we take pride on as well. And let’s just say that we are doing our best to make possible every bit of the vision we had laid out for the company, for the project, for all the tenants and for the whole community.”

Speaking not just for the team but perhaps for the whole Venvi ilocos staff as well, Joy says “Atty Larry’s vision inspires us. The idea of our native Ilocos transforming from a sleeping economy to a prosperous and globally abreast one just brings out the best in us. Its countryside multiplying production with modernized agriculture and agro-industry, its metropolis established with vigorous commercial and business activity. We realize all this will raise the local people’s quality of life, and that (future) life is ours!”

Nobody can blame them, not even our generations who have contented ourselves with individual, uneven, sporadic and at best linear brand of development. Their youth makes them more enthusiastic to embrace the Ilocano vision. They yearn to have the things in life and environment that other people have enjoyed for long in other places of the country and the world. They obviously see that this Venvi project is a microcosm that provides these progressive elements, and that this will spearhead a broader trend.

So brace yourselves, fellow Ilocano conservatives. In these Venvi Ilocos personnel, I see the whole Ilocano youth come to life. They are excited to be part of this big step towards a qualitatively new way of life and style. I positively fear they are making that move here and now.