Right man for the job

Top executive thinks out of the box to keep company thriving


At the helm of any enterprise sits the chief executive officer, often its founder and owner. But just like any successful business, that executive needs a right-hand man they can trust. In the case of JP Marzan Projects Ventures Inc., that right-hand man is Antonio Gerardo Z. Abellar, its chief financial officer (CFO).

This logistics firm, headed by Jesu Mari Marzan, is a spinoff of a company established in 1973 — nearly 50 years ago — by his own father as RV Marzan Brokerage. It dealt with customs brokerage and deliveries to different parts of Luzon.

Today, JP Marzan Project Ventures offers other businesses delivery of goods, mostly heavy equipment; trucking; forwarding; domestic distribution; and warehousing. They also provide rigging works, plant transfers, factory machine installation, power plant assembly, project consultation and surveys, as well as equipment rental.


ON THE MOVE JP Marzan Projects Ventures rents out heavy equipment, among other services (top); and its chief financial officer (second from right) with friends during a weekend game of golf. CONTRIBUTED PHOTOS services (right)…officer (above)


Ever since his youth, Abellar had wanted to work in a company, make his way up the corporate ladder, and end up in an executive position. After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in marketing from San Beda College in Mendiola, Manila he worked for the Presidential Council for Youth Affairs (PCYA) under the Office of the President. Today, the PCYA is known as the Sangguniang Kabataan, a youth-led body which functions to represent the youth population in every barangay (village) in the country.

The young Abellar then traded government service for employment opportunity in the New York-based multinational financial services corporation American Express International.
“I worked under the customer service and credit and collection department,” he recalls.After 10 years, he moved on to greener pastures, working at investment and financial services firm JPMorgan Chase & Co. “I was a human resources generalist and also handled operations for them. I stayed there for 11 years,” he says.
Having tucked in decades of impressive finance-based credentials under his belt, Abellar believed that he had gained enough experience and knowledge appropriate for a high-level position at a a private company. “I approached the owner of JP Marzan Project Ventures Inc., who happened to be my batchmate in high school,” says the Manila-born CFO. “I inquired if they had an opening for a senior-level [position], and then I handed in my profile and my CV (curriculum vitae).”
He says that at the time he was interviewed, the company was starting up another business venture, which his profile matched.

A chief financial officer’s responsibilities normally involves overseeing a company’s financial soundness, including financial reportage and in some cases, investment of company funds — all of which play right into Abellar’s expertise, thanks in part to his previous work experience. “It is a very diverse role,” he explains. “You should know how to multitask most of the time and you also need to know how to manage the financial and operational aspects of the organization.

“Doing due diligence and diving deep for solutions to each problem [that comes my way],” he reflects, “also helped me gain better judgment.”

He continues: “The most challenging [part of the job] is how to balance the financial gain [of the company] against financial losses.”

In light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, this role is a priority. He says: “We know that businesses that slow down have a great impact on earnings. Thankfully, our operations did not stop, which allowed us to continue paying salaries and wages of employees.”

“In my line of work, I encounter different scenarios that require me to think outside the box,” he elaborates, when asked what about his job sparks pleasure. “I enjoy this because I think it allows me to focus more on exploring solutions or actions other than the usual route of decision-making. It gives me more options and chances to explore other opportunities.”

Abellar got the career he wanted, and to get there, he reveals two personal philosophies that helped him achieve his goals, both of which revolve around relating with people. “First, always treat people the way you want to be treated,” he declares, “and second, always treat them with respect and dignity.”
Perhaps, his work ethic also aided him in reaching his dream job, as Abellar makes sure to leave work at the office. “The moment I step into the workplace, I put myself in a ‘work zone’ mentality,” he asserts. “But the moment I arrive home, I let go of all the work load.”

Coming from a large, close-knit family, Abellar values family time. “Now that we are in a pandemic, [my family and I] like watching Netflix and NBA [National Basketball Association] games together,” he relates. The Abellars are fans of the Los Angeles Lakers.

“We also like to set up aquariums and build community tanks for different [kinds of] fish. Aside from those, we enjoy playing with our pets and cleaning the house together,” he adds.
Abellar also disclosed that he was something of a sports buff, especially in his younger days. “I was very passionate in the field of sports,” he reports. “Once I involved myself in any sports, I made sure that I would excel and put my full passion into it. When I was in high school and college, I was a varsity member of the track and field team as well as volleyball where I played the roles of a libero (a defensive specialist position) and a setter.”

That passion for sports carried over well into adulthood: Abellar plays basketball on a regular basis with a weekend group and even participates in different leagues. He adds: “When I started working, I joined a dragon boat rowing club and had regular practices and mini-competitions in Manila Bay. Entering my mid-40s I joined mini-marathons and aquathlons with friends.”

“I’m also a certified diver and I enjoy playing golf and riding road bikes once in a while.”

With an attitude of determination and extensive expertise in his field, Abellar shows that he is indeed the right man to trust, keeping his company afloat and flourishing in these trying times.