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José Luis Manzanares Abásolo, CEO of Ayesa, Engineer of the Year 2019

José Luis Manzanares Abásolo has been named Engineer of the Year 2019 by the College of Civil Engineers for Andalusia, Ceuta and Melilla little more than six months after becoming CEO of Ayesa. The company, which has strong Andalusian roots and is amongst the world’s Top100 engineering firms, was founded 52 years ago.

This award recognises a career spanning 23 years at a company which, under his leadership, embarked upon an ambitious journey of international expansion back in 2003, and now has offices in 17 countries worldwide and is involved in projects in forty. During this time, Ayesa has led the way in putting Spain and Andalusia’s stamp on major infrastructure across Latin America, as well as countries all over the world, including India.

Since becoming CEO in May of this year, he has joined the group’s engineering and technology areas under a single figure, allowing its civil engineers ‘to continue to provide innovative solutions for improving mobility and quality of life’.

According to José, this award is ‘extremely assuring and exciting [as well as] an incredible source of motivation for me personally to continue working hard to ensure Ayesa sets an example for new generations of engineers’.

He also expresses his commitment to Seville and Andalusia, as well as his profession, thanking the college and his colleagues for naming him Engineer of the Year 2019 for Andalusia, Ceuta and Melilla. ‘We civil engineers tend to be extremely loyal to our companies and proud of our profession, which allows us to shape the world, making it a more sustainable place and improving quality of life’, he notes.

José also highlights the example set by his father, José Luis Manzanares Japón, one of Spain’s leading engineers, explaining how ‘he is truly impossible to emulate, exemplary in every way, and continues to be my mentor and guide in both my professional and personal life’.

Regarding the current landscape of Spain’s engineering sector, he talks about how he regrets the decline of numerous companies and the fact that many colleagues are weary as a result of ‘a crisis within our sector which has lasted far too long with little hope of recovery in terms of investment in public infrastructure as a way of boosting Spain’s economy’.

Nevertheless, he admits he finds it ‘very difficult not to be optimistic’, going on to explain how ‘globalisation, with all its pros and cons, has allowed companies to compete beyond their national borders and rub shoulders with global giants.  Spaniards tend to be strong-willed and determined, and wherever you go in the world, you’ll find Spanish companies working tirelessly to carve out a place for themselves. Undertaking engineering projects for countries around the world from Spain is possible, yields results and makes business sense’. 

About the Engineer of the Year 2019

Born in Seville, José Luis Manzanares Abásolo was awarded a degree in Civil Engineering in 1996. Now, at just 47 years old, he has received the highest accolade from his colleagues in Andalusia. The year he graduated from the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, he joined Ayesa, eager to help it grow.

In 2003, he was appointed Managing Director of the Engineering Area and under his leadership this family company underwent impressive international expansion, with up to 90% of all its work taking place abroad at times. Amongst the major projects secured by him were lines 1 and 2 of the Panama Metro and supervision services for the world’s largest wastewater treatment plant, in Atotonilco (Mexico). More recent examples include the renovation of the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium and India’s first-ever high-speed rail line, which is set to join Delhi and Meerut.

Ayesa is now Spain’s leading engineering and technology consulting firm. It ended last year with a turnover of more than 274 million euros, having created almost 5000 jobs. As CEO of Ayesa, José’s main objective is to seamlessly bring together the company’s expertise in engineering and technology to lead the way in the digital transformation of strategic sectors within society.