Armando de Rossi: The Man at the Helm

ARMANDO "Andy" de Rossi, C.M.C. (Asia) Inc.'sPresident, is an Italian by birth but virtually a Filipino at heart.

He easily blends into the local crowd, interspersing his heartily exchanges with catchy Filipino words such as the colloquial "bulabog".

Since his arrival in the Philippines in 1976 his construction company  first sent him to manage the construction of the first stage of the Kalayaan Hydropower Pumped Storage Plant in Laguna for the National Power Corporation (Napocor), the Venice-born Andy has taken to the Philippines as his second home, just as the nation has regarded him as one of its sons.

No less than the 11th Congress has unanimously passed a bill granting him Filipino Citizenship for outstanding service rendered to the Filipino people, just as the people of Laguna "adopted" him as a "native" son in 1980. In 1997, he has likewise been adopted by the Matikas Class '83 of the Philippine Military academy (PMA). Many other groups and individuals have bestowed similar honor on Andy who has helmed many local projects, including the US$640 million Caliraya-Botocan Kalayaan (CBK) Hydropower Project in Laguna, the August 7 hydropower project in Iligan and in August 3 Project and the Malting Power Projects both in Lanao del Sur, that have benefited Filipinos from Luzon to Mindanao.

Andy obtained his Masteral Degree in Civil Engineering in 1966 from the University of Washington.

Born to a poor family. Andy was third in a brood of three boys and two girls. "My father was an artist doing oil painting for living, but after the second world war", Andy begins, "he had difficulty selling his paintings because nobody had  the money to spend on these. During Christmas he would make toys from wood with his hands and give them to us as presents."

During summer breaks from the time he was 14, Andy worked as a deck crew in cargo vessels sailing in the Mediterranean, cleaning toilets and ship deck, serving food and doing general ship work to earn money to "maintain myself to go to school."

Traveling on the boat and seeing several countries aroused in the young Andy a desire to become a construction engineer in a foreign land. But back then he never imagined he would reach the success he has attained now.

After his studies in Italy and great interest for an overseas appointment, Andy went to the US in 1964.

Afterwards, Andy worked for four Italian construction companies including C.M.C. "It's a very good record if you don't change companies too often," Andy notes with a smile. "because during my stint as a ship crew I was able to learn 5 foreign languages - a rare commodity especially during those times and this gave me the significant advantage in landing good jobs from then on."