From nothing to something
Vice-President, Damosa Land, Inc.
HAVING been raised in a family of entrepreneurs, Ricardo “Cary” Lagdameo, 40, knew early on that he would inevitably take over a family business. However, rather than dive into the business too soon, he decided to acquire business experience first.
Mr. Lagdameo graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Interdisciplinary Studies from the Ateneo de Manila University. After obtaining his MBA at the Columbia Business School in New York, he started his career as an investment banker and spent a few years with various small- and medium-sized enterprises.
At 35, Mr. Lagdameo decided that he was ready to join his family’s business, the Anflo Management Investment Corporation (ANFLOCOR) Group of Companies.
He recounts: “After my last few years doing investment banking, I felt that I had gained enough working experience to make a significant contribution to the family business.”
Although land development was unfamiliar to Mr. Lagdameo, he decided to take on the challenge of transforming the then fledgling Damosa Land, the real estate arm of ANFLOCOR. He recalls: “When I was looking at the companies that were part of the group, I wanted something that was still somewhat in its infancy. Although Damosa Land has been around since the early 2000s, it’s only in the last few years that it really started to grow.”
Mr. Lagdameo is the vice-president of Damosa Land, now a flourishing, homegrown real estate company in Mindanao.
Fueled by a vision to uplift the lives of Mindanaoans, he leveraged on Damosa Land as the means to diversify the local economy from traditional agriculture and expand into real estate, agri-tourism, industrial estate development and education.
Creating “something out of nothing” is at the core of Mr. Lagdameo’s entrepreneurial spirit. He considers creativity and innovation necessary to compete with larger developers. He introduced an ambitious site plan for a property in Lanang that would later be known as the Damosa District, the first urban mixed-use development in the region, which contains the ANFLOCOR Corporate Center, Damosa Gateway, the Philippine Economic Zone Authority-accredited Damosa IT Park, and Microtel Hotel, among others.
Mr. Lagdameo expanded Damosa Land’s footprint by establishing more developments: Sasa Onse, a mixed-use complex in Sasa and his first condominium project; the commercial McPod Building along McArthur Highway; and Topaz Tower which houses business process outsourcing companies and corporate offices in Damosa IT Park. The company was also involved in constructing the mixed-use complex beside the Davao International Container Terminal that includes an export processing zone, residential, commercial and tourism areas.
He collaborated with a leading provider of flexible workspace solutions, Regus, to build a cutting-edge flexible workspace building. To date, it has become Mindanao’s first and the country’s largest (at 1,600 square meters) and one of the most successful (80% occupancy in six months) Regus Business Centers.
By 2016, Damosa Land’s Regus Center reached a 99% occupancy rate, which Mr. Lagdameo attributes to the convenience it offers locators.
Mr. Lagdameo also began his foray into tourism by bringing in United States-based hotel chain Microtel by Wyndham, which offers convenience for Davao visitors because of its proximity to the airport and major establishments in the city.
Knowing agriculture is still the backbone of Davao’s economic growth, Mr. Lagdameo tapped Palafox Associates, a multi-disciplinary firm, to design the Agriya project, an 88-hectare mixed-use complex in Panabo City, Davao del Norte. Damosa Land also donated a large parcel of land to the University of the Philippines (UP) Los Baños to establish the UP Professional School for Agriculture and the Environment in Panabo City.
Mr. Lagdameo attributes his success to the open, innovative culture and the practice of empowerment in the company. A transformational leader, he works to constantly energize his employees, challenging and inspiring them to think out of the box and to come up with fresh ideas that help address customer and operational challenges. He relates: “We want to see how they approach projects from a different angle. We want their voices heard because only by encouraging them to speak up and contribute can we identify innovative ideas.”
Looking ahead, Mr. Lagdameo is optimistic about the current and future economic performance of Davao, convinced that its business climate has always been robust. He is hopeful that, in the years to come, the company will be able to achieve its vision of increasing interest in Davao, as well as Mindanao in general, through progressive, modern real estate development and services.
Mr. Lagdameo is a strong believer of living and working with a purpose.
“If you work with passion, with heart and with meaning, people will never fault you for failing. Eventually, when you do succeed, it makes it much more meaningful,” he said.
The official airline of the Entrepreneur of the Year Philippines 2017 is Philippine Airlines. Media sponsors are BusinessWorld and the ABS-CBN News Channel. Banquet Sponsors are Bench; Bounty Fresh Food, Inc.; CDO Foodsphere; Fiori Di Marghi; Hyundai Asia Resources, Inc.; Jollibee Foods Corp.; LBC, SteelAsia and Universal Harvester, Inc.
The winners of the Entrepreneur Of The Year Philippines 2017 will be announced on Oct. 18 in an awards banquet at the Makati Shangri-La hotel. The Entrepreneur Of The Year Philippines will represent the country in the World Entrepreneur Of The Year 2018 in Monte Carlo, Monaco in June 2018. The Entrepreneur Of The Year program is produced globally by Ernst & Young.