Influencer Arthur Con

Interview September 24, 2018

Arthur, is a father of four now grown up children and live with a significant other that now works in Sint Martin. He is born in Curaçao, have 2 sisters and graduated as a civil engineer at the TU Delft. Before he became director of FKP in the year 2005, he has worked several jobs not always in Curaçao.

During his years in Delft-Holland he was an amateur boxing champion and now he practices golf, loves playing domino, but also love fishing especially of the coast of Curaçao during midnight and early morning hours in the pitch dark (not alone but with one companion), close to where the different tankers anchor in front of the south coast of Curaçao.

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Arthur, why do you fish at that hour of the night?
“Because the light of the tankers in the dark, attracts bigger fishes which makes it easier to catch them”.

Is this a character trait for you as a person also?
“Yes, managing my fear well, is a typical character trait of me, meaning I don’t mind taking risks to reach my goals.”

Where did it come from?
“As a child I used to go fishing with my uncles. My father was also a boxer btw and a very independent and determined person, whom always thought of himself that he could solve everything.”

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We have come to know you also as a very innovative. Like exploring new construction techniques, challenging limiting beliefs among some of your peers regarding what is possible for example Wech.i You never accepted that FKP should give up on Wechi and you are eager to learn new things as a manager and leader with a large circle of influence, where did that come from?
“I always have been a very curious person. I loved exploring new things. I believe that all of us should have a happy life.
For example: I am, in my spare time, also exploring ways and means to develop the local fishery sector. I explore ways we can make better use of alternative energy on the island, because I firmly believe in the opportunities that these present for Curaçao”.

TC | FKP directeur Arthur Con over Wechi

“I have a passion for alternative energy and it is based on my personal vision that Curaçao should become more independent energy wise, simply by making better use of our own natural resources. We have a lot of sun, sea and wind. We are not using electric cars yet. I am even considering ways and means to collect the rain that falls on our island. We have the same amount of rain that falls in Holland over a year here in Curaçao and most of it just goes back to the sea. Why not catch this and store it in underground water reservoirs, that we could use when there is not so much rain falling for irrigation purposes of our flora, but also our fauna. I am also brainstorming on ways and means to use our waste to generate energy, and therefore contributing to a sustainable community in different areas of our life.”

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What were the challenges that you have encountered when you started working as the CEO of FKP in 2005 and how did you overcome them?
“First and most important was the development of Wechi. Within FKP, they had given up on Wechi when I became a CEO and now due to my perseverance, we have finally reached a point where we can start to develop Wechi after we have won all the legal battles in court. We succeeded with Wechi, because of our vision, our perseverance to “never give up” and focus.

Secondly, the development of alternative ways to build houses that are durable and more affordable. We now have developed a concrete pouring system (gietbouw systeem) and formwork that is pretty innovative. One of the most important actions we took in regard to the way we are building houses was, we look around in our region in other countries to find out what worked. We discovered that in certain countries they use form works and with our FKP technical team we had instituted, we made some further adjustments that would fit much better in the local specific environment in Curaçao. Based on making continued comparisons, we believe we now have developed a new system, that is capable of building durable and affordable houses. And of course we will share our knowledge with other islands if asked.

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Thirdly, my relationship with different stakeholders like the FKP union; FKP’s supervisory board and politicians has been a big challenge and at times delicate.

We were able to overcome the obstacles we confronted, when dealing with the different stakeholders because of our communication skills and ability to build bridges with these stakeholders. Stakeholders used to have perceptions of who I am that were not always in accordance with reality and becoming aware of this and based on my excellent communications skills, my integrity and honesty, in the end made me overcome these challenges. I also believe that as a person you need to be very well-connected in networks and be able to easily get along with different people and stakeholders, it is an important competency, a people’s skills, that one needs to, to be successful in an organization like FKP. But you also need to be humble and that makes it possible to be able to communicate with all layers in the society and in FKP from the trainee to the prime minister of the country.”

What are your strengths?
“I am very good at staying focused and persevere. You know, when I was an amateur boxer during the time I was studying in Holland, I have learned to, once I put my mind on something and I believe in it, to go all the way. But, I was also very good at listening and open to innovation.

To be a boxer you need to not only have a firm belief in self, a self-confidence that was fueled also by my training regime, so that it became easier to deal with whatever challenges you meet on your way. My mother always told me, that “if you want to achieve something, you have to work for it, be it at school or in boxing or career wise and she always told me to visualize and imagine that you have already achieved what you have visualized. In my way of seeing life, I don’t believe that there are problems, I see them as challenges to overcome. I am pretty good at handling stress, I am very forgiving, and I am able to let go easily of things that I can’t influence. I don’t want to carry a full back-pack.”

How would you describe your leadership style, people centered or result oriented?
“I consider myself a people centered leader, and I am continuously trying to improve my skills in this regard.”

What is your BIG WHY or driving motivation to be whom you are right now?
“I have an innate passion for construction that I had since I was a child. My grandfather was a contractor and I use to give him a helping hand at times. I was fascinated by the house my father had build himself in Santa Rosa, were I grew up.” 

Is there anything else you want to share?
“In my spiritual journey I have learned, by following Fengshui courses, to appreciate peacefulness of mind. Life is all about happiness, tranquility and no worries. When I was a student in Holland, I studied the Bible, but I was challenged by certain questions I had, that the Bible didn’t answer. After following Fengshui courses the answers were given. When you ask questions, you always get your answers. I now have a better understanding of Jesus Christ and I am totally at peace now.”

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What are your future plans? Can you share with us what are your business goals for short and long term?
Short term Business goals:

1. “We need to reached a formal management-agreement with the government. This contract deals with the relationship between government and FKP. This has been pending for long and I am optimistic that this will be solved soon;

2. I want to further improve the leadership of FKP starting with myself and the other managers in FKP. I firmly belief that our employees need to have job satisfaction. I am always reflecting, and looking in the mirror to see, how I am doing and what can we improve as management team so that all of us can attend with our employees in a better way. It is important to have a coach to trigger this self reflectiveness.”

Longterm business goals (10 years from now):

“We want to contribute to improve the quality of life of our community with high quality and affordable housing projects, which will alleviate their housing needs. We want to substantially improve the communication with our (potential) clients, so to best inform them and based on our knowledge of their personal needs, help satisfy these needs.
Having said that I am not glued to this chair at FKP, you may never know that tomorrow I might be involved in another area where I can serve our community, but that will definitely will not by becoming a politician. For now my focus with all my physical, mental and spiritual powers, I want to focus on how to develop Wechi especially and offer to our community 4000 new housing units to alleviate the scarcity in affordable housing.”

What would you want your Loved Ones, family, friends at other say about you let’s say 10 to 15 years years from now?
“He has taught me to be happy, positive and look at life from the bright side. There are no problems only challenges and opportunities.”

What were 5 of the most Influential books that changed your life?

1. The Bible;
2. ‘Animal farm’, by George Orwel
3. ‘From third world to first world’, by Lee Kuan Yew
4. ‘Old man and the sea’, by Ernst Hemmingway
5. ‘Emotional intelligence 2.0’, Travis Bradberry and Jean Graves. Btw I would also like to add Simon Sinek TEDx presentation titled ‘Start with Why?’. This has also had a big impact on my thinking.

How, in one word or sentence would people that know you, best describe you?
 “Positive and dedicated”, but also “Faith, Courage and perseverance”.

As the core group of Share2Uplift we consider Arthur one of the 250 ethical leaders of our islands, that continuously works at creating value for the whole of the society, by connecting dots and aligning efforts. 

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