Eusebio Arriaga was a young assistant superintendent working on a Frito Lay facility in Jonesboro, Arkansas, when leaders from Sabritas, the brand under which PepsiCo brands Frito-Lay products in Mexico, visited the job site.
Suffice it to say that the visiting management team from Sabritas was impressed.
“In Jonesboro, we focused heavily on ensuring workplace safety and keeping the project clean and organized,” Arriaga recalled. “They asked us to build a plant in Mexico – with the condition that our same team go to work in Orizaba, Veracruz. And that's how Haskell got started in Mexico.”
Twenty-three years and hundreds of projects later, Haskell is an architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) leader in the Latin America Region. Arriaga is an experienced and highly respected superintendent. And John-Paul Saenz, who was the project manager on that first Mexican venture, is Haskell’s Chief Operating Officer.
“For me, working with Eusebio has always been an honor and a pleasure,” Saenz said. “In fact, my first experience working in Latin America for Haskell was on a Sabritas job with him. We had a great time working together, and I learned a lot from Eusebio. His work ethic and commitment to Haskell have been nothing short of excellent.”
Arriaga has been with Haskell since 1993, when he left his home in Cárdenas in San Luis Potosí, Mexico, to enter the construction industry in Atlanta, Georgia. He found his way to a Haskell project for Kraft Foods, where project superintendent Boyd Worsham confirmed Arriaga’s abilities and put him to work as a concrete foreman.
“They liked how I worked,” Arriaga said, “and from then on, I built my career with Haskell.”
He gives Haskell equal credit for his career growth, highlighting the support he’s received and the people who have shown him the way. His ability to work concrete – from sidewalk construction to slabs and walls – led him through various Haskell positions and, at one point, to a Procter & Gamble plant project, where he met superintendent Bobby Sims.
"Bobby asked me, “Do you want to grow in the company?” to which I answered yes, Arriaga recalls.
Early the next morning, Sims met Arriaga for a cup of coffee and taught him to read construction plans. Mentor and mentee would collaborate for the next seven years. So it was that the two of them came to work with Saenz and lead Haskell’s first foray into Latin America.
That first project opened the door to many more opportunities, and Haskell’s client base in Mexico and Latin America grew quickly. Over the course of his Haskell career, Arriaga has been part of roughly 20 major projects in Mexico and the U.S. But no matter the size of the project, he said, his focus is the same.
“In each project there are many challenges,” he said. “I remember that I once told John-Paul, when we were building a flight simulator facility for Mexicana de Aviación in Mexico City, ‘JP, this is a very small project.’ He replied, ‘Treat them all the same, because a small project can create the same opportunities and problems as a large one.”
Arriaga approaches each project focusing first on safety. “Safety is the key for a project to be successful; it is the top priority”, he said. "Success is more than just delivering a project to the client on time, within budget and with the expected quality. You have to do all of this with zero accidents.”
This commitment to safety and quality on-site does not go unnoticed by his co-workers. Guillermo Carrillo, Haskell Latin America Director of Operations, says Arriaga “is a person very committed to the quality of the work. He spends a lot of time planning the details so that unnecessary risks are not taken, and the quality meets the client’s expectations.”
All that said, construction invariably presents difficulties, and Arriaga not only is known for overcoming obstacles on his own projects but also for his ability to set right a project that’s not on track or to dispatch on the spur of the moment to help a client respond to business interruption caused by natural disaster.
“Despite some very difficult assignments, you will never hear Eusebio complain,” Saenz said. “On the contrary, Eusebio always approaches tough jobs with confidence and courage. For me, Eusebio has been synonymous with Haskell; always a good representative of our culture and values.”
Haskell delivers more than $1 billion annually in Architecture, Engineering, Construction (AEC) and Consulting solutions to assure certainty of outcome for complex capital projects worldwide. Haskell is a global, fully integrated, single-source design-build and EPC firm with over 2,000 highly specialized, in-house design, construction and administrative professionals across industrial and commercial markets. With 20+ office locations around the globe, Haskell is a trusted partner for global and emerging clients.
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