Tanya Quiñonez – Honeywell Building Technologies
When Tanya Quiñonez was asked to lend legal support to one of Honeywell Building Technologies’ (HBT’s) most ambitious projects to date—an initiative that involved multiple stakeholders across the company—she jumped at the chance.
There was, however, an important catch: she wouldn’t just be providing guidance on contracts and compliance; rather, it was her job to spell out the project’s benefits—one letter at a time.
Easier said than done.
After 20 years of operating with the same business model, getting everyone to adopt the new paradigm required more than a change of policies and protocols.
“The reality is that our senior executives have high standards, so it was imperative to make a strong business case to trigger their interest in this solution,” Quiñonez says. “What we needed was a shift in mindset.”
Matter of mindset
For years, North Carolina-based Honeywell International Inc.—a multinational company known for its commercial building products, engineering services and aerospace systems—had an established way of doing business. But times and technologies had changed since the company’s founding in 1906.
In the past Honeywell went to market selling straight-up hardware products as an industrial manufacturing company. Over time, however, it evolved its industrial software applications by selling products to customers separately, pushing software as a solution (SaaS) for the past three years. The latest model is a hybrid of both.
“We wanted to go a step further, and not just keep it at that level,” she says.
Today, Honeywell’s technologies can be found anywhere from a run-of-the-mill office building to an international opera house. The company focus is on making products that improve the overall user experience in a building—by making it smarter, more secure and comfortable, as well as considering the environmental impact and energy efficiency of a space.
For example, some of Honeywell’s most cutting-edge solutions can help clients monitor energy consumption by illustrating usage, allowing them to target specific areas for improvement. Similar solutions will be applied in the areas of security and fire protection.
“Providing that extra step is where our value proposition is,” Quiñonez says. “Customers’ needs have changed on both an individual and business level and we need to adapt to address those needs.”
Bridge over troubled water
Despite the boom in efficiency-boosting building technologies, increased uncertainty in the global economy has made even the most stable of companies experience cash flow constraints.
As Quiñonez explains, customers are monitoring the bottom line and are reticent to make investments as quickly—or as frequently—as in the past.
Honeywell’s unique service model addresses this issue by offering a dynamic solution that adapts to the customers’ needs and to global trends.
“We think we can alleviate constriction by placing our solution in the market,” Quiñonez says. “Our model offers flexibility to customers so they can see results when managing their building assets efficiently.”
Dealing with doubting Thomas
Clearly, the customers are there. But the company’s stakeholders needed convincing.
“The key was to come up with solid arguments,” Quiñonez says. “Just saying that this was a great solution was not good enough. We had to convince them that this was our future.”
To bolster her case, Quiñonez conducted extensive industry research, looking for examples of who in the market was developing similar models—and trying to crack the code of their success.
“It wasn’t until we engaged our senior executives and they saw the potential of this model by reviewing the cost-benefit analysis that we managed to move the needle,” she says.
Proof in the pudding
Stakeholders weren’t the only ones to ultimately see the benefits of the new model; customers are also eager to benefit from it.
As Quiñonez explains, the company is about to close a couple of procurement deals that will allow two of its customers to pilot the model. Quiñonez has gone from designing the applicable contractual framework for the transaction to working with the operations team to secure a smooth implementation.
Offering a helping hand on legal transactions is the Mexican law firm Rechtlich & Gentan I.S.C (MOWAT), a firm committed to providing legal services that add value in operations to top-level Mexican and international companies in Mexico.
To assist Honeywell Mexico with the completion of legal work is Paola Lopez, a junior partner of the firm who is a specialist in administrative law for the practice. She’s advised the company on regulatory issues for seven years. Specifically she has advised Honeywell on permissions; constructional, administrative and procurement procedures; consortium participation agreements and strategies, in addition to any challenges that arise.
“We are waiting for final approvals and will soon sign the agreements and celebrate a year-long effort,” Quiñonez says. “It will be fabulous to be able to finally offer this to our customers—and we have plenty more in the pipeline of course.”
Applying lessons learned
Indeed, if anyone understands the rewards of hard work, it’s Quiñonez.
After earning her law degree at Escuela Libre de Derecho in 2006, Quiñonez soaked up experience in a variety of early legal positions that included roles as an associate at White & Case in Mexico City and Cinepolis, where she led the legal department in real estate expansion.
In 2010, she took on new roles as the vice president and head of legal compliance for Latin America and Iberia at the asset management firm BlackRock, working her way up to vice president and general counsel in Mexico in 2013.
That was followed by a two-year stint as senior associate at a White & Case spin-off, Rico Robles Libenson y Bernal. There, as external counsel for top-tier companies, she established her expertise in project finance and mergers and acquisitions.
A taste of honey
When a senior contract manager position opened up at Honeywell’s Latin American arm in 2016, Quiñonez pursued the opportunity. In less than three years, she worked her way up to her current position.
All told, Quiñonez says her work in the entertainment, financial and industrial technology sectors—as well as her many years in private practice—gave her resourcefulness and the ability to negotiate.
“I think every step of the way has helped me to get to this point,” Quiñonez says. “I’ve been blessed by the managers I’ve had and am a very hands-on person. The combination of all of these positions gave me the tools I needed.”
Now, she’s helping a corporate icon bring its own tools to bear to address some of the world’s most pressing issues.
Rest assured, she takes none of them for granted.
“Usually, in a critical facility such as a hospital, we don’t realize all the technology required to make it comfortable and secure,” she says. “Behind the scenes, though, Honeywell’s technology is the reason why I’m so proud to be part of this company.”
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