Who is the woman behind the scenes of the tallest building in Latin America, in Balneário Camboriú?

published in 06/05/2022 12:05 News

Going against all odds of gender inequality in civil engineering, 50% of the construction company with the tallest building in Latin America's team is currently composed of women, against the odds of 19% on a national scale.

Women are still a minority in civil engineering in Brazil. Data from the Confea (Federal Council of Engineering and Agronomy) show that women represent 19% of the ongoing registrations in Brazilian regional councils, in which 183,601 are women and 793,759 are men with ongoing registrations.

Even so, in Santa Catarina, the female role in engineering is internationally highlighted, being a woman the person behind the scenes of the One Tower project, the tallest building in Latin America, which is located in Balneário Camboriú, on the North Coast of the State.

Civil engineer, Débora Kenig Alexandre, project manager of the development, stands out as her work is put in the spotlight among the skyscrapers in the Latin American continent in technology and innovation.


Recently, the One Tower development and its 290 meters in height was put into the spotlight for taking the leading position that once belonged to Balneário Camboriú's Twin Towers, dominating the top of the Skyscraper Center, an official ranking that takes into account the building's height.

Residential buildings are also an important reference when the matter is technology. In order to acheive buildings as high as the one developed, it was necessary to innovate on matters such as the technology used on the elevators. There are currently five elevators with the same technology that reduces cabin oscillations to provide more comfort to its passengers. It is the same technology used in the One World Trade Center elevators, located in New York, which is composed of 108 stories and 541 meters in height. Such technology was also used on the Infinity Coast Tower, in Balneário Camboriú, finalized in December 2019.

Débora started working at FG in August 2020, assuming the management position of the One Tower projects, which, for her, was a unique experience. She also manages the Boreal Tower and Blue Coast projects.

“Nothing compares to the complexity seen in the One Tower's projects. Being this due to the innovative systems that we apply, as well as the size of the development - 84 stories of pure learning”, points out the engineer.

The project was the most challenging one so far for the engineer. Precisely because of the complexity involved in developing the tallest building in Latin America.

“Although I took on the challenge after the structural phase had already been finalized, I was involved in the entire executive process of specific projects, such as the internal enclosing of the units using drywall, something that at the time was quite new to me. The knowledge acquired so far is immeasurable and I owe a large part of this to the Applied Engineering team and the One Tower Production Team that support and help me at all times. The grandeur of the development is the result of several people's dedication and commitment ”, she stresses.

Working in project management, Débora emphasizes that One Tower is the result of teamwork. “All the results seen in the One Tower development and in the other daily challenges we experience are the result of the dedication and companionship that we witness at FG. Currently, in the Applied Engineering department, we have a considerably new team. This just shows how opportunities are being offered, how the future is based on the new and on the challenges that await us. Extraordinary developments are undertaken by extraordinary people”, she points out.

Gender equality is made with opportunities

At FG, gender equity is a reality. 50% of the team is made up of women, a result of opportunities that reflects the growth of female activity in the feild.

According to data collected from the IBGE (Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics), in 2018 there were 239,242 workers registered in the civil construction feild. In 2007, this number was 109,006, that is, there was an increase in number that was close to 120% in a matter of 11 years.

One of the factors that stimulated such an increase, according to the Institute, was the evolution of the civil construction industry. With automated construction methods and more safety matters, the company's priority is more concentrated on professional qualification rather than on physical strength labor.

Such opinion is supported by FG's ​​Human Resources manager, Giselle Hornburg. “In order for companies to grow, there is an increasing need to redesign and adapt to the current market, heeding special attention to valuing their human resources. During the last year, there was a 10% increase in the number of women in our overall staff, this based on merit and competence. Disruptive management is one of the FG's hallmarks. It invests not only in constructive technology, but also in bringing new processes to the current market which is responsabile for connecting people and products”, she concludes.

Despite FG's positive example, the road to female equity in Civil Engineering is still a long way ahead of us. For Débora Kenig, the part she plays in the feild is the result of all the opportunities she has had in her career.

“I have the privilege of being led by a woman with indisputable experience, who brings to the table the premise that knowledge must be shared at all times and that encourages us to think outside the box and roots for our growth, it being in the professional aspect or personal aspect”, she reinforces.

“I can honestly say that we still have a long way to go in this profession. We need to constantly assert ourselves and prove our decision-making twice as much as a man would have to do so” – Débora Kenig Alexandre, project manager at One Tower

The engineer also points out the importance of having a female management figure. “Having Stéphane Domeneghini as the manager of the Applied Engineering department and being Sabine Bevian responsible for the most challenging projects that FG has in store for the future, I feel supported and increasingly encouraged for any challenges that may arise”.

“Opportunities must be given”

Encouraging and providing opportunities for women to insert themselves in the feild is the path to equality. That is true, not only in companies, but throughout the country.

“Opportunities must be given. We need to understand that every individual brings alongside them their weaknesses and strengths. That we are in a constant evolutionary process and that by applying such an idea to the ​​civil construction feild this process happens at a gigantic speed”, says Débora .

“Women bring to the table a lot of strength and dedication, we need to keep breaking down stigma barriers of weakness and fragility. We can occupy any position we want. All we need is just one chance for us to show our full potential. We are on our way there. There is still a long way to go, but small achievements inspire us every day”, Débora Kenig.

For Dayana Kelly Batista Feitosa, FG's Managing Director, the main sensation that guides her day-to-day is the feeling of belonging. “I can proudly say that I am very grateful for the opportunities presented to me and that I have absorbed all of them with promptness and dedication. As for the participation of women in the civil construction segment, it is still very much dominated by men. We have advanced a lot in the past recent years but we still have a lot to evolve in such matter. There is a lot of prejudice and a deep-rooted culture involving the role women play in society”, defends Dayana.

Source: Article published on the ND Portal+ Signed by journalist Grazielle Guimarães

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