Alice Eduardo: A Woman of Steel
A woman of steel since day one
A remarkable woman that she is, Alice Eduardo is a Woman of Steel quite literally and figuratively. She started with steel and with steel, she carved her reputation and led her construction company, Sta. Elena Construction and Development, to what it is today.
She doesn’t wear a cape, but a hard hat while surveying a dusty construction site. That’s what she ever dreamt of; until she has to set aside her dream of becoming an engineer in exchange of handling family businesses back in Nueva Ecija.
Growing up in a traditional Filipino family, her mother discouraged her from becoming an engineer, which is basically a man’s job. A more fitting role for her would be to become a doctor or nurse. But for Alice Eduardo, these roles aren’t her, so she compromised with taking up and finishing a degree in management.
As any dutiful daughter would do, she handled the garments export, along with her sister, Small, and the rice milling and trading businesses. She even helped out in delivering rice, driving an elf truck to the customers’ places.
In the pursuit of her dreams
It was in 1995 when a hard-to-resist opportunity came knocking at Alice Eduardo’s door. Seeing her driving and delivering rice, Concrete Aggregates contacted her for its steel requirement. She delivered the materials personally, believing firmly that it’s a sign; that being in the construction industry is her calling.
Fulfilling her childhood dream, she founded Sta. Elena Construction and Development, now an AAA and Large B firm. It means the company has a capitalization of at least Php300 million and qualifies to bid for any billion-peso project. Bacnotan Steel Plant was her first major project followed by two more plants in Santa Rita and San Lorenzo, all in Batangas.
Sta. Elena’s road to success isn’t always smooth. In the late 1990s, the Asian financial crisis occurred. The construction industry was one the industries that were hit the hardest. Alice Eduardo, who had just taken out loans she can use to buy high-end, brand new heavy equipment, witnessed her company’s lowest point. However, she refused to sell her equipment at a loss but made sacrifices along the way. The economy recovered, and more opportunities came her way.
Thanks to her business savvy, which she learned from managing the family businesses, she was able to win more projects. When Henry Sy, the man behind SM, decided to build SM Mall of Asia (MOA), Alice Eduardo was more than ready to do the job. In fact, her company was one of the few construction firms which have the adequate and necessary equipment to tackle the job.
Sta. Elena won the project and built the foundation for MOA as well as that of other SM’s retail (SM Pampanga, SM Bacolod, SM Seaside City Mall in Cebu, SM City Cabanatuan, SM Olongapo City, SM City Tarlac, and SM Bay Arena), industrial (One, Two and Three Ecom Center), and residential complexes (Sea Residences, Shell Residences, Shore Residences).
With the apparent quality of Sta. Elena’s works, other investors took notice. The construction company also did the pile driving and pre-casting works for the following:
- Solaire Resort and Casino,
- City of Dreams Manila,
- Belle Grande Casino and Resort, and
- Manila Bay Resort.
Although she is proud of all her construction projects, she is particularly fond of the First Gen-Siemens San Gabriel Power Plant which also happens to be in Batangas. The 414-megawatt power plant would cost $600 million. Sta. Elena was the first Filipino contractor who gets to work for Siemens, outbidding construction firms from other parts of the world. It only proves that her company meets international standards in all its projects.
Being kind to a fault
Alice Eduardo is also a philanthropist. She has passion projects, the most important of which is Philippine General Hospital’s (PGH) Department of Pediatrics-Hematology-Oncology Isolation Ward. Building hope for the cancer patients, the Php 8 million, 320-square meter ward can accommodate up to fifteen terminally ill cancer-stricken patients.
Another important undertaking for Alice Eduardo is the yearning to inspire other Filipina entrepreneurs to find their passion and make their dreams come true through Go Negosyo, a program spearheaded by the Philippine Center for Entrepreneurship. She shares her entrepreneurial journey during programs and summits and mentors aspirants during her spare time.