Category Archives: Valparaiso, Chile

Thank you for “supporting dreams” in Valparaíso

Back in June this year we started an initiative to collect money to reconstruct homes and rebuild communities, where the devastating fires destroyed so much back in April this year.

After having released the first payment to JAB we got a thanks-letter today, which I attach in here. It basically says:

Thanks letter

Thanks letter

“…thanks for supporting dreams and recreate the beauty of our neighborhood. A big appreciation from the affected neighbors, for the first payment / donation of 858.444 CLP and for supporting the “Cerro Ramaditas” for rebuilding their community in this territory, which was so much damaged by the fire.”

We – the IBM team “Smart Neighbors” – are proud and grateful for everyone supporting this initiative, especially as we know the area, we know JAB and we know it lands, where it is needed. So we have released the second part of your donations today and we say thank you, for

2.150 USD / ~ 1.250.000 CLP,

donated to our project on betterplace.org.

Thank you!

#smartercities challenge

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“Smart Neighbors in Valparaíso” – Your support is needed!

It is more than a year ago now, that we were part of an IBM Smarter Cities Challenge (aka Executive Service Corps) in Valparaíso, Chile, working on a project addressing the many challenges facing the city and people of that region. (you may have followed our Blog on this). As a team we were truly taken by the people, culture and beauty of this UNESCO world heritage site. During this assignment we also performed community service in conjunction with an organization, “Junto al Barrio” (JAB), which is a Chile based foundation, caring and improving the quality of vulnerable neighborhoods. With recent events in Valparaiso, Chile, our help is needed again and we – as a team – are asking for yours.

Smart Neighbors

Smart Neighbors

You may have read of the devastating fires that swept through Valparaíso, Chile last April. In many of the same neighborhoods where we spent time, 2,500 homes were destroyed, leaving more than 10,000 people homeless and reconstruction is urgently needed. In response we are, again, working with JAB to support a project /organisation called “Comite de Autoconstrucción El Vergel”, to provide building materials to help reconstruct the homes of about 50 families, 250 people.

We invite you to help us help the people that welcomed us so warmly a year ago and hope that you will follow the impact of your kindness through this project on betterplace.org, where we’ll also be adding news and report the final results.

Thank you!

P.S.: How to donate: It’s easy; just follow this link and click on “donate now”. There are different needs (you may select a specific one) and payment methods, so you’ll certainly find your preferences. Donation is given in Euro. So you may use this currency converter, to decide on the right Euro value. (Betterplace.org is a internet community and a non-profit organisation. 100% of the donations will be passed to our project. However, while donating you will have the option to add a tip to betterplace.org (only if you like) to finance the required infrastructure to maintain and host such a online donation platform.)

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Alumni Reflections: Peter Korst in Chile

SCC Valparaiso team member Peter Korst was interviewed recently by the alumni journal of his social fraternity at the University of Illinois. Reflecting on how he leveraged his college networks to add expertise to his Smarter Cities Challenge experience, he writes:

When I was selected for the Executive Service Corp I did not know the project purpose or location.  For the four weeks before we left for Chile we would get briefed for an hour each week on different aspects of the project.   On the first call I learn it is a transportation project and… I reached out to the U of I’s Civil Engineering Department and the hooked me up with one of the professor’s who is very active in traffic analytics.  He spent time talking with me about the current thinking and practices in this area.  And then…..he gives me the name of a Professor he knows in Chile as they studied together at Cal-Berkley.  I ended up meeting up with the colleague in Chile plus his mentor professor who is sort of the godfather of public rapid rail transit in Valparaiso…

When we introduced ourselves in the meeting with the Chile Transportation Secretary and I said I was a Civil Engineer from Illinois, she said “I am a Civil Engineer, too.  We are colleagues.”

Asked if he would recommend the experience to others, he said:

Absolutely yes.  I have been at IBM for over 30 years and consider this experience the highlight of my career.  Doing something completely different from the everyday, testing and stretching my skills, embracing a different culture, being someplace where it was challenging to communicate, trying to make a difference in a developing country, being a positive face for the United States. For all those reasons and many more would I recommend this type of experience.  And there are ways to do it.  You don’t have to be employed by a big global company.  Even IBM worked with a small company that has people throughout the world that help put these types of projects together.

Read more of Peter’s reflections at the University of Illinois Alpha Tau Omega website here.

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We have a plaque in Valparaíso

Back in May, during our Smarter Cities Challenge in Chile, I reported about our teams social activity “Junto al Barrio“ in my personal Blog. Later on in June, when we were already back home, we received some “surprising pictures”. I reported about it as well. Now we got another mail today, reporting how the work is further progressing.

You’re not going to believe it, hold on tight, drum roll, ta-daaah:

We have a plaque in Valparaíso!!!

Plaque Team “Smart in Paradise”

Plaque Team “Smart in Paradise”

It says in English and in Spanish:

Andy (Spain), Armelle (France), Janice (USA), Lou (China), Peter (USA), Piera (Chile) and Ramón (Germany) worked here.

IBM Team Smart in Paradise, one day we will be back.

JAB and the neighbours

JAB and the neighbours

Wow; I’m impressed! ;)

Thanks to JAB and the neighbours for this compliment. And if you once visit Valparaíso, have time to go uphill, call JAB, ask for the right place (since I can’t describe it any more), visit the planter and send me a picture! :)

Bye for now! …one day we will be back…

#smartercities challenge

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In the media – Summary

As already described earlier, there was a huge interest in our final presentation. Approx. 60 people were there, the ministry with its sub-secretary of Transport and Telecommunication, SEREMITT of the Region, Governor of Valparaíso, Senator and president of transportation commission of senate, public, private and academic representatives from the transportation sector, etc. etc. I think we did a great job presenting our final recommendations, divided in 6 themes and 30 actions.

Day of final presentation

Day of final presentation

In national TV

In national TV

We even made it to the national TV as well as into different radio stations.

So here is my collection of the different media reporting about our project results:

Bye for now!

#smartercities challenge

 

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Exceeded Expectations!

Very intense 3 weeks are behind us now; yesterday we had our final (and very successful) presentation; so not much time for Blogging and other things… obviously… and today we just enjoyed the beauty of the city as such and we will have a final team dinner “at its best”, as you may have expected ;-)

So I just want to quickly wrap up the final “formal” day we had down here in Valparaíso, and some of us will certainly report some other details later from back home. (We all leave tomorrow, arriving over the weekend to our home countries).

The team with Gloria Basualto (middle) and Paulo Lucchini (CDC Consultant, to the right)

The team with Gloria Basualto (middle) and Paulo Lucchini (CDC Consultant, to the right)

We had a “full house” in the “Enjoy Hotel” in Viña del Mar, local, regional and national Ministries were present, up to Gloria Basualto (foto middle), regional ministry of transportation and Gloria Hutt, Vice Minister of Transportation of Chile. Local representatives, bus company owners, drivers union, planning ministries, many other municipalities, etc. etc. ….

Our presentation

Our presentation

Jointly we presented our recommendations, grouped in 6 categories, a total of 30 concrete actions as a customized roadmap for Gran Valparaíso. Our presentation was very well received by our client and all stake holders. We got a very good feedback so we can say “mission accomplished” and “exceeded expectations”. Now it’ll be up to the region and the country to execute on our roadmap, and certainly on IBM Chile to continue to assist and conduct our client, along this journey. “The road is prepared”!

Great interest from the press

Great interest from the press

After the meeting we had a huge press attendance and we got a great press coverage again. We may post later some more press links, however, the best two links are these:

1. Mercurio Valparaiso, title page, pages 2 and 3, just about our project and the recommendations. More is no possible! ;-)

2. We were even on national TV !!! You may not understand the language. So what? Enjoy the pics! :)

Finally you may have a damned good question to us now: “after such a success, what did you do today?” Well, we bought lots of newspapers and had a lot of fun!!! :)

Smart in Paradise

Smart in Paradise

Before I close this post: the ESC also exceeded my expectations. I learned a lot about other countries and cultures, as much about smarter planet, smarter cities and especially smarter transportation, I even learned some new things about myself; but one thing outperforms all others: I got to know new colleagues, from across the globe, which formed a wonderful team “smart in paradise”, all with individual and strong characters, all able to team and integrate, to lead and to follow, a team which offsets any challenge and selective drop outs, a-best-ever-team! Colleagues, I’ll miss you. So let’s rock tonight ;)

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Always on the run? Enjoy Trolebus!

Always on the run

Always on the run

Always on the run… till…. yes… till… we met Juan Antonio and the national historic monuments: The trolebuses of Chile! I think we all loved them… ;)

Trolebus in action

Trolebus in action

We had a meeting with Juan Antonio Massai, Managing Director of the company and son of the company’s founder, and went there by using a Trolebus. The Trolley’s are integrated into Valparaíso’s transport system and are operating on one route around the city.

They are operating since 1952 and there are still buses – built in 1952 (by the Pullman-Standard Company in the US) – in use. Beside those, the fleet consists of some Swiss Buses (built around 1966) and some Chinese Models (around 1985). Some of Valparaíso’s Pullman trolleybuses are even older, built in 1946–48, having been acquired secondhand from Santiago in the 1970′s. The surviving Pullman trolleybuses are the oldest trolleybuses still in normal service anywhere in the world, and they were collectively declared National Historic Monuments by the Chilean government in 2003. And as Peter figured out, the last 15 Pullman’s in Valparaíso are part of Pullman’s Companies last and finally delivered order: 30 Trolley to Calparaíso, Chile.

Trolebus Garage

Trolebus Garage

We visited the companie’s garage as well. One can just imagine the passion those guys must have, no spare parts available, so everything recycled (again and again) or they use replicas, build on their own.

The highlight was certainly the completely refurbished Pullmann from 1952. The owner was “proud as punch” when he showed us this bus and we had to confirm, he certainly can be proud of it.

Strong company, solid and with visions into the future, preserving Chilean monuments in a competitive market place. Chapeau!

We are heading towards the final…. stay tuned! Bye for now.

Team “Smart in Paradise” and Company owner (to the left) Juan A. Massai

Team “Smart in Paradise” and Company owner (to the left) Juan A. Massai

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