Unleashing Mexico’s Power: Toshiba de Mexico’s Impact on a Thriving Nation
2023/08/31 Toshiba Clip Team
- Navigating social challenges in the face of population growth and energy demands.
- Toshiba de Mexico, pioneering advancements in energy through thermal, hydro, and geothermal solutions.
- Toshiba’s impact in Mexico illuminates a brighter industry future.
Mexico stands at a pivotal moment, with the energy sector holding the key to addressing the nation’s pressing social challenges. With a population of 127 million, the country is experiencing steady growth, making it the 10th most populated country globally*1. This rapid population expansion is accompanied by a significant increase in energy demand, which rises by approximately 4% each year*2. To meet this growing demand, Mexico needs to not only expand its energy generation capacity but also modernize its infrastructure.
Recognizing the importance of the energy sector in driving Mexico’s development, Toshiba de Mexico (TDM) has emerged as one of the players in the country’s energy landscape, offering thermal, hydro, and geothermal solutions. At the helm of TDM stands Marcial Frigolet Perera, the President and CEO, embodying the passion, experience, and dedication necessary to navigate the challenges and seize the opportunities presented by the Mexican energy sector. With a background in engineering and sales and over four decades of industry experience, Marcial has played a crucial role in shaping TDM’s success.
Marcial’s contributions in expanding Toshiba’s presence in Mexico has been recognized with the Toshiba International Award program. This internal award acknowledges his outstanding contributions to the company and his instrumental role in growing Toshiba’s business in Mexico. During our meeting with Marcial in Tokyo, we had the chance to explore the Mexican energy industry, learn about his extensive 40-year career in the field, and gain insights into the secrets behind TDM’s business relationships with its customers.
Mexico, a Land of Opportunities and Challenges
“Mexico presents a wealth of opportunities,” says Marcial. “Its strategic location along the US border, combined with the advantages of nearshoring, makes Mexico an increasingly attractive destination for global companies seeking to establish new manufacturing facilities. In light of the geopolitical uncertainties, many companies are considering Mexico as the next manufacturing hub.” However, he says, one of the biggest issues Mexico faces is ensuring an adequate supply of electricity to support these new ventures.
Mexico’s energy challenge extends beyond the need for increased generation capacity—it also encompasses the outdated and insufficient state of the country’s infrastructure network. To ensure electricity reaches every corner of the nation, substantial investment is required in the transmission and distribution systems. Furthermore, a robust grid is essential for facilitating the integration of renewable energy sources like solar and wind, which face challenges due to the intermittent nature.
In Mexico, significant social challenges also persist, with poverty affecting a significant portion of the population. These challenges demand improved services, infrastructure, and economic opportunities to uplift communities and drive progress. Needless to say, the energy sector, a crucial driver of economic growth, holds the potential to tackle these challenges by providing reliable and accessible power to communities, fostering economic growth, and enhancing the overall quality of life of the people.
Toshiba de Mexico: Empowering the Nation’s Energy Landscape
Acknowledging the critical role of the energy sector in Mexico’s development, TDM has positioned itself as a leading player in the country’s energy landscape. TDM currently specializes in supplying steam, hydraulic, and geothermal turbines, playing a vital role in expanding Mexico’s power generation capabilities and addressing the nation’s energy needs. With a history dating back to 1957, TDM has become a trusted technology partner to the Comisión Federal de Electricidad, a government-owned power utility, widely known as CFE, responsible for power generation and distribution in Mexico.
Since 2013, TDM has participated in many tenders winning seven steam turbines for a capacity of around 1,100MW. Recognizing the importance of customer satisfaction, TDM has also established a competent service and maintenance team to attend to post-sale requirements, ensuring a seamless and satisfying experience for its customers.
“For 66 years, Toshiba has proudly served as CFE’s technology partner. The company’s commitment to deliver high quality products and services has been recognized throughout its years of operation in the country”, Marcial expresses with pride. He emphasizes that Toshiba’s long-standing presence in Mexico and its commitment to offering reliable products have earned the company a reputation for innovation, performance and trust, and that this is the strength and value of TDM, being the fore front end to the market.
A Journey of Resilience and Success: Marcial’s Leadership at TDM
Marcial’s career began in 1981 when he joined a major Mexican manufacturing company involved in selling valves and pipes to the CFE. He later transitioned to Unión Fenosa, a Spanish electric utility with investments in Mexico, where he played a key role in the construction of four combined cycle power plants, totaling 2,000 MW in capacity.
In 2009, Unión Fenosa was acquired by the Spanish utility Gas Natural. Subsequently, Gas Natural sold 5 combined cycle plants to Mitsui Power Americas, leading to the transfer of Marcial and his co-workers from Gas Natural to Mitsui Power Americas. Meanwhile, Marcial actively participated in the Mexican Energy Association, which drew the attention of Carlos Canales, former President of TDM. As Toshiba recognized the immense potential in Mexico’s energy sector and took note of Marcial’s expertise and experience, Carlos offered him a pivotal role in spearheading the development of TDM’s energy business.
Marcial during a Toshiba Rotor Rehabilitation at the Topolobampo Power Plant
Since joining TDM in 2013, Marcial has made numerous successful endeavors, despite facing headwinds imposed by changing government policies in 2018 and COVID-19. Under his leadership, TDM secured significant projects, including the recovery of contracts and the delivery of steam turbines for major combined cycle plants. During the challenges of COVID-19 in 2021, TDM was able to increase their profit by selling spare parts for a maintenance project for Toshiba’s steam turbine plants.
Marcial proudly recalls one of his biggest accomplishments, which occurred during TDM’s participation in the CFE project called Norte III. This project involved the construction of a combined-cycle gas plant and encompassed a contract for two steam turbines. As Marcial reminisces, “At the beginning, we lost this bid because CFE disqualified our EPC company that we partnered with. However, the project was rebid, and after relentless negotiations with CFE and great teamwork with Toshiba Japan, we were able to secure the contract.”
The Norte III Combined-Cycle Power Plant Site
The Centro Morelos Combined-Cycle Power Plant Site
Their perseverance paid off, but the journey didn’t end there. Unfortunately, the EPC contractor eventually faced bankruptcy, presenting another daunting obstacle. In this trying situation, Marcial and his team demonstrated unwavering support to their customer, standing by their commitment to push the project through the finish line. Despite the setbacks faced, Marcial and his team took pride in their ability to overcome hardship, ultimately leaving a lasting impact on both the project’s success and the relationship with CFE.
Marcial says that he strongly believes in Toshiba’s core values, resonating with “Doing the right thing” and “Look for a better way.” This commitment to integrity and innovation guides his decision-making, ensuring that TDM provides the right solutions and maintains integrity, even in the face of challenging circumstances.
Marcial’s Secrets to Building Strong Customer Relationships
Beyond his role at TDM, Marcial is active in various industry associations such as the Mexican Energy Association, Industrial Chambers, and Manufacturers Committees, contributing to boards and committees. In addition to his professional commitments, Marcial held the position of president at a golf club, participated as a counselor of the Valley of Mexico Golf Association, and maintains affiliation with the Mexican Golf Federation. Through these affiliations, he has cultivated valuable connections with key executives and decision makers in the Mexican electricity sector.
Reflecting on his successful approach to business relationships, Marcial emphasizes the significance of forming close connections with people to obtain essential information and secure important appointments, paving the way for future opportunities in which TDM can actively participate. He shares the secrets of how he has been building strong customer relationships for over four decades.
“For example,” he explains, “if your main customer’s office has 10 floors, I will start from the top floor in the morning. I would engage with the key person there, have coffee with him, and then move on to the 9th floor. I repeat this process until around 11:30, and then I return to my office. It’s a routine I’ve followed for years.”
Moreover, Marcial shares this wisdom with young engineers at TDM, encouraging them to engage with customers directly instead of relying solely on emails. In his experience, personal meetings are pivotal in establishing strong and lasting business relationships.
Marcial humbly acknowledges that the successful journey of the past 10 years at Toshiba could not have been accomplished without the dedicated members of TDM. He emphasizes that the prestigious Toshiba International Award was a testament to the collective efforts of the entire team, not just his individual contributions.
Picture of Toshiba America President’s meeting at Washington in June 2023
Moreover, Marcial expresses satisfaction with his experience working at Toshiba, noting that the organization’s culture fosters closer communication with other top management. This environment promotes effective collaboration and strengthens the overall performance of the company.
With a steadfast focus on integrity and innovation, TDM is poised to shape a brighter future for Mexico’s energy industry, driving social welfare, economic prosperity, and sustainable development. By leveraging Toshiba’s technological prowess and customer-centric approach, TDM stands ready to empower every Mexican with reliable and sustainable energy, paving the way for a prosperous and inclusive tomorrow.
Marcial and the members of Toshiba de Mexico
As TDM continue to forge ahead, they exemplify the transformative power of visionary leadership and unwavering commitment to doing the right thing—a force that will undoubtedly shape the destiny of Mexico’s energy landscape for generations to come.