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Taking the caring route

The Entrepreneur Of The Year Philippines 2022 has concluded its search for the country’s most undaunted and unstoppable entrepreneurs. Entrepreneur Of The Year Philippines is a program of the SGV Foundation, Inc., with the participation of co-presenters the Asian Institute of Management, the Department of Trade and Industry, the Philippine Business for Social Progress, and the Philippine Stock Exchange. BusinessWorld will feature each finalist in the next few weeks.

Raymond G. Jarina
President & CEO
INTECO Isuzu Group of Dealerships

IN THE PURSUIT of success, people often rush through competing with everyone around them — racing hard towards the so-called finish line. They often don’t take the time to enjoy the ride, appreciate the scenic route or get excited over the adventure. Fortunately, this was not the case for Raymond G. Jarina, president and chief executive officer (CEO) of INTECO Isuzu Group of Dealerships.

Born in Tayuman, Manila, Mr. Jarina spent the first six years of his life there, mingling with other children in the streets. At an early age, he realized the importance of being strong, as life on the streets, as he recalled, is all about “survival of the fittest.” He also gleaned lessons from his experiences, even seemingly insignificant ones, like playing teks, shato and trumpo. He observed he could “win some and lose some,” so he would take any opportunity to “practice negotiations that could swing in a few bucks.”

Values he learned at school and in sports as a member of the varsity football team influenced his views on entrepreneurship, particularly in dealing with people. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from the Ateneo de Manila University, and later earned an MBA from the Peter Drucker Graduate School of Business in Claremont, California. For a time, he worked at Grand Chevrolet and Nissan Motors USA in California.

After graduating from the General Motors Institute in Flint, Michigan, Mr. Jarina returned to the Philippines. His education and experience in the automotive industry proved to be beneficial when he took over INTECO, their family business, as the second-generation owner. At INTECO, he improved the company’s processes and systems. Knowing he had big shoes to fill, Mr. Jarina effectively led the company with the values, knowledge and wisdom imparted to him by his parents. Together with his father, they expanded INTECO from a humble single dealership in EDSA Balintawak to six Isuzu dealerships in northwest Luzon. Today, INTECO — the pioneer Isuzu dealer in the Philippines — is constructing its seventh branch in Valenzuela.

Mr. Jarina and INTECO had weathered many storms. In recent years, the auto industry faced significant challenges, such as the new excise taxes on vehicles which affected sales. Competitive as the industry is, INTECO needed to consistently think of ways to innovate and satisfy their customers.

INTECO under Mr. Jarina’s leadership was able to overcome most difficulties that tested the company’s resilience. However, the pandemic was one of the challenges that no one saw coming and it adversely impacted the business. But because of Mr. Jarina’s years of hard work and discipline in handling the company’s financials combined with his business acumen, INTECO survived without laying off any employees. He was able to help his people and their families by continuously paying employees’ salaries, supporting the education of their children and paying for the retirement of his staff. Outside the company, INTECO was also able to help the community by providing valuable transport assistance to frontliners and delivering essential goods to hospitals and private institutions. This experience taught Mr. Jarina to be prepared for anything.

Mr. Jarina’s wisdom and values, which he inherited from his parents, are likewise evident in the company’s motto: “A family that cares.” This goes hand in hand with INTECO’s main purpose to build an automotive company that will serve businessmen for community development. Mr. Jarina tries his best to extend this treatment to all their stakeholders — suppliers, customers, employees or even competitors.

For Mr. Jarina, he believes in three things: communication, passion and care. He ensures that everyone is treated well. Every leader has a vision, he said, and for employees to support that vision, a leader must be able to communicate it clearly, so everyone can feel the same passion about their work. Lastly, employees also need to feel that they are genuinely cared for, which in turn will boost their morale.

This is something which INTECO was able to live up to as well. For example, the company has a low attrition rate, with employees staying in the company for a minimum of 15 years. Employees also go beyond customers’ expectations, going as far as to address the concerns and issues they find from the reviews which clients leave on the company’s social media page.

Mr. Jarina also believes in building long-term relationships and valuing people.

“You have to be patient. You have to listen. You have to understand. You have to find solutions and build support for your ideas because you cannot do it by yourself. Always. You always have to have a comrade. You have to have people who are sympathetic, who share your same passion and your care,” he said.

His years of experience taught him the humility that comes with acknowledging one’s strengths and weaknesses, which he tries to impart to his children. He wants them to not take failures to heart and to know that they can always get back up again.

“Sometimes, you will lose. But then again, you can gain it back in some other way. It’s not the end of the world,” Mr. Jarina said.

Despite his achievements, Mr. Jarina wants people to know that he did not do everything by himself.

“Actually, this is not all me. It’s the values which I thank my parents for. I thank my faith. I thank my employees. INTECO wouldn’t be here now if not for them,” he said.

As part of his legacy to the third generation, Mr. Jarina intends to pass on to his children these same values and words of wisdom from his parents.

“If you’re good to others and you have good intentions, that goodness will come back to you.”

The media sponsors of the Entrepreneur of the Year Philippines 2022 are BusinessWorld and the ABS-CBN News Channel. Gold Sponsors are SteelAsia Manufacturing Corp., Uratex, and Navegar. Silver Sponsors are Intellicare, OneWorld Alliance Logistics Corp., and Regan Industrial Sales, Inc.

The winners of the Entrepreneur Of The Year Philippines 2022 will be announced on Nov. 21, 2022 in an awards banquet at the Grand Hyatt Manila. The winner will represent the country in the World Entrepreneur Of The Year 2023 in Monte Carlo, Monaco in June 2023. The Entrepreneur Of The Year program is produced globally by Ernst & Young (EY).