If there is an essential event to demonstrate that working together makes a sector better and more competitive, that event is the Macael Awards gala. In it, innovation, reindustrialisation, international marketing, know-how and competitiveness represent 5 key concepts under which “the field of architecture, design, interior design and construction has placed its trust in us and with which we must continue to bet on our future”. This was stated by Jesús Posadas, president of the Andalusian Marble Businessmen’s Association, during the speech that closed an edition, held on Friday 12 November, which brought together on its stage the president of the Andalusian Regional Government, Juanma Moreno, who received the Institution Award, and the Minister of Industry, Trade and Tourism of the Spanish Government, Reyes Maroto, who received a special mention.
Among the more than 450 guests, the gala was attended not only by some top-level award winners, but also by around twenty prescribers of stone, including architects, designers, installers and construction professionals in general, from the United States and different European countries, who have been part of the programme that AEMA has carried out together with Extenda-Andalucía Export and Foreign Investment. This action has included a cultural-business event of the Macael Brand, carried out in the framework of the Alhambra in Granada and the subsequent reverse trade mission in the Marble Region. These clients and potential clients were also joined by eighteen members of the Latin Chambers of Commerce of the United States, CAMACOL.
This edition, “after suffering a devastating global health crisis, terrible both in the field of health and in the economic-financial field”, comes to restore optimism to the sector. And this is what the president wanted to convey, who has urged to “move forward, to look to the future with optimism to return to being the best centre for the transformation of natural stone and compact surfaces worldwide”. In order to protect the future of stone, the stability of companies and the maintenance and promotion of jobs, Posadas recalled that “the future must be linked to the firm commitment, commitment and investment of public administrations”. “The imminent creation of the Public Business Agency for the Transformation and Economic Development of Andalusia called ‘Andalucía TRADE’, should contribute in our sector, as a single window, to greater agility, simplification, efficiency and effectiveness in economic transformation, investment promotion, internationalisation, innovation, promotion of R+D+i, knowledge transfer and entrepreneurship”. That is why,” he continued, “I dare to publicly ask all the Andalusian parliamentary groups today for their unwavering support for this new entity. And to the Andalusian Government itself that, through this new agency and based on the Strategy for the Internationalisation of the Andalusian Economy 2021-2027, with its sights set on the so-called third globalisation, it should put all these tools at the real service of companies as a great driving force for the recovery of the situation caused by Covid-19”.
Likewise, “the implementation of the Action Plan Crece Industria 2022 in Andalusia is not only a great opportunity, but an unavoidable obligation for entrepreneurs and public administration, and must be the axis to promote the strengthening and growth of the industrial value chain of natural stone. We have the commitment of the General Secretariat of Industry and Mines to be the first industrial value chain to implement this Action Plan”, he stressed.
Likewise, internationalisation and the positioning of the Macael Brand, the main pillars of his term of office, were also present in his premises. “In order to avoid the loss of business opportunities in a market as globalised as the current one, we have asked the administration, and we are confident that it will be possible, to make soft loans available to our companies to access multiple markets and thus diversify the risk and ensure their survival and growth”.
If there is one pillar on which this industry can sustain itself and grow, it is innovation. “Our business fabric is mainly made up of SMEs that do not have the capacity to have their own R&D&I department. Therefore, it is vitally important to work on the real option of having various research groups from the different universities in Andalusia, which is so far away from us sometimes, to fulfil this function of transmitting knowledge to society and companies, because without innovation we cannot move into the future,” said the president of the businessmen, who has not forgotten the need to resume the agreement, although already extinguished, for the reconstruction of the Patio de Los Vélez; the demands in education and training, such as the implementation of training cycles that cover both vocational training and higher education, using the dual methodology with companies; and of course, the objective for the year 2022: “To reach an agreement and definitively resolve all the discrepancies that arose years ago, in all matters relating to the interpretation of the contribution of financial guarantees for the affected mining areas in the Sierra de Macael. This would also bring with it a sustainable and logical solution to the asphyxiating problem of the generation of the erroneously named inert waste. “I publicly acknowledge the effort and work that has been carried out for a year now, both from the General Secretariat of Industry and from the Territorial Delegation of Almeria. We are closer than ever to reach this long-awaited agreement so that it does not put at risk an entire industry and ultimately a region like ours”.
I want to emphasise that, behind each and every one of these demands,” said Posadas, “there is a great business commitment, a sector that works hard for the creation of stable and quality employment and for the welfare of this land and its workers, who are the greatest asset we have. He also had words of congratulations for the protagonists of the evening: Juanma Moreno, President of the Junta de Andalucía – Institution Award-, Ms. Concepción Parra Pardo, Provincial Director in Almería and Granada Centro-Este of Mercadona’s External Relations Department, and Ms. Josephine Cuadras, Manager of Cuadras’ headquarters in Almería and Granada Centro-Este. Josephine Cuadras, Manager of Cuadraspania -Communication Award-, Mr. Jorge Tárrago Mingo, Architect and Project Manager of the Government Pavilion of the University of Malaga -White Macael Project Award-, Ms. Laetitia Murguet, Director of the Government Pavilion of the University of Malaga -Ms. Laetitia Murguet, Project Designer -Design Award-, Mr. Pablo Salvador Lorenzo Martínez, Investment and Purchasing Director of the Lopesan Group -National Award-, Mr. Glenn Edward Buttle, Technical Team Leader of Boogertman -International Award Africa-, Ms. Laura Molina, Art Director of Icaria Atelier, -International Award Asia-, Mr. Carlos Manuel Barrantes Araya, Art Director of Icaria Atelier, -International Award Asia-, Mr. Carlos Manuel Barrantes Araya, Art Director of Icaria Atelier, -International Award Asia-, Mr. Carlos Manuel Barrantes Araya, Art Director of Icaria Atelier, -International Award Asia-, Mr. Carlos Manuel Barrantes Araya, Art Director of Icaria Atelier. Carlos Manuel Barrantes Araya, President of Constructora EDICA, -Latin America International Award-, Mr. Robert Van Boxtel, consultant of Kaan Architecten, -Europe International Award-, and Ms. Kindree Chescoe, owner and designer of the design studio KLC KREATIV, -North America International Award-.
The occasion was also an opportunity to appreciate the invaluable help and collaboration of the sponsors. The president addressed them saying: “thank you, on behalf of the Andalusian Marble Business Association, for continuing to show, year after year, your commitment to this sector. You have made an extra effort, beyond your role as suppliers, overcoming, surprisingly, the limitations in transport and supply shortages to help us move forward and overcome this difficult professional moment. More than ever, all this would not be possible without you”. This year’s gala had the collaboration of COSENTINO, EXTENDA, DIPUTACIÓN DE ALMERÍA, SMALGLASS-ITACA, SACMI, TENAX, OMAR COATINGS, CAJASUR, COLOROBBIA, CAJAMAR, UNICAJA BANCO, CAIXA BANK, SANTANDER, GMM, COMANDULLI, ITALDIAMANT, VINCENT, NICOLAI NEST, TURISMO DE ANDALUCÍA, BANKINTER, BBVA, SABADELL, SUIMASA, OLUCARPA, FOCUS PIEDRA, BRETON, BANCARMARCH and SMALTICERAM.