The Puerto Rico Builders Association (PRBA) celebrated the inauguration of its board of directors with its new president for the next two years, developer Agustín Rojo Montilla. The swearing-in was led by the former president of the Supreme Court of Puerto Rico, Federico Hernández Denton. Rojo Montilla serves as managing partner of VRM Companies and has more than 20 years of experience in the construction and mortgage banking industry, both in the local market and in the company's projects in the Dominican Republic and Florida. The new president of the PRBA also served as president of the Mortgage Bankers Association of Puerto Rico from 2013 to 2015.
In his message, Rojo stressed that his work plan will have as a priority boosting and promoting the development of affordable housing, seeking solutions to address the workforce shortage that exists in the construction industry and collaborate with the local government to streamline the processes of granting permits.
"We will continue to work closely with our private sector partners and the government to advance efforts to pass the necessary legislation to strengthen the construction industry and the development of real estate in general that, in the end, are elements of utmost importance for our daily life and quality of life. The priority is to continue promoting safe housing and construction, promote the formal, organized development in compliance with good practices and, through these developments, meet the needs of our communities to advance our vision of an advanced Puerto Rico in which our population wants to stay, raise their families and progress,” Rojo pointed out in his message.
The new president of the PRBA added that during his tenure he will continue to firmly defend construction and promote the importance of its role in the economic development of Puerto Rico. "Economic development is the most important tool to sustain the social development that we all want, and the construction sector is vital for the economic engine of Puerto Rico," he said, while indicating that the education of the industry at a general level will be another of the priorities of his presidency.
The inauguration ceremony was attended by the Governor of Puerto Rico, Hon. Pedro Pierluisi, who offered a speech focused on the state of the construction industry and reported on the recently signed Law #1 of 2024, which promotes the development of affordable housing on the island.
For his part, the president of the House of Representatives, Rafael "Tatito" Hernández, who was also present, said "we congratulate Agustín Rojo Montilla on his swearing in to the position of president of the Puerto Rico Builders Association. I am sure that, under his presidency, he will give continuity to the excellent work that the association does to improve and benefit the construction and real estate industries, as they are important economic sectors on the Island. We wish him and the association a great deal of success in their projects. They have an ally in the House of Representatives to further grow this industry."
The event also featured guest speakers James Tobin, CEO of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) and Bill Owens, Third Vice President of that organization. Owens has more than 40 years of experience in the residential construction industry, while Tobin has more than 20 years of experience in the housing sector and has served as a chief lobbyist for the NAHB. In their remarks, the two spoke about ACPR's more than 70-year relationship with the NAHB and the ongoing collaborative efforts to address issues pertaining to the island's construction and housing industry. They also offered a projection of the political landscape at the national level, as well as an economic projection for the period 2024-2025.
Rojo Montilla ended the event by pointing out that the new board of directors of the ACPR will be composed of 29 other developers and professionals, with solid careers in the construction and real estate industry on the island, whom he thanked for their commitment and availability to achieve the objectives of the organization.