Norberto Odebrecht: Among Brazil’s Most Successful Engineers and Entrepreneurs

Norberto Odebrecht (9 October 1920 – 19 July 2014) was among Brazil’s most brilliant and successful engineers and entrepreneurs. He was also the founder of two organizations that bear his name, the Odebrecht Group and the Odebrecht Foundation.

In 1944, Odebrecht founded the construction company that eventually became the Odebrecht Group. Today, the international conglomerate has diversified businesses in several fields including construction, engineering, petrochemicals, and chemicals as well as employs over 167,500 people in offices across South America, North America, Central America, Europe, Africa, the Caribbean, and the Middle East (i.e., over 60 countries).

Among the companies under the Odebrecht Group are:

• Odebrecht Energia for energy production especially in hydroelectric, nuclear power, and thermoelectric production in in Latin America

• Odebrecht Engenharia Industrial for industrial engineering projects across several sectors

• Odebrecht Infraestrutura for infrastructure projects in sanitation, transportation, irrigation, and sports

• Odebrecht América Latina & Angola for investments and construction projects especially geared toward the conglomerate’s international expansion

• Odebrecht Venezuela for investments in real estate, infrastructure, industrial, petrochemical, oil and gas, and food security projects in Brazil

• Odebrecht International for the maintenance of unique quality standards for each region where the conglomerate has operations

• Odebrecht Óleo e Gás S.A. for the exploration and production of oil and gas

• Odebrecht Realizações Imobiliárias S.A. for real estate developments in the residential, commercial and tourism sectors

• Foz do Brasil S.A. for the provision of water supply and waste treatment services

• ETH Bioenergia S.A. for the production of ethanol as well as sugar and power using sugarcanes

Other companies are Brasken S.A., Latin America’s largest producer of petrochemicals; Odebrecht Participações e Investimentos; Odebrecht Administradora e Corretora de Seguros Ltda.; and Odeprev.

Odebrecht also had a heart for his workers as well as for the youth and communities, as evidenced by his creation of the Odebrecht Foundation. Founded in 1965, the foundation was originally created to provide company members with increase social security benefits. Today, it has expanded its focus on human, social, productive, and environmental capital in communities.