Mariela de Urriola

Employee portrait

'Civil engineering has a direct impact on the world'

Her entrepreneurial knack led her to study business administration. As office manager in Panama, Mariela has also come to appreciate the impact civil engineering has on society.

Panama City

‘As a young girl, I always was busy – either playing in the park with my friends or trying to earn extra cash by selling cakes and lemonade. I’ve carried this energy and entrepreneurial spirit with me throughout my career.’  

Mariela de Urriola grew up in Panama City, in the heart of the thriving, bustling metropolis. When she finished high school at the age of 17, her entrepreneurial spirit led her to choose a degree in business administration and finance.

‘Although I had a keen interest in the humanities, I opted for finance and business. Given the economic situation at the time, a degree in that field would offer me more and better opportunities in the labour market. And sure enough, after getting my bachelor’s in banking and financial management, I got a job in banking. In the years that followed, I also worked in finance for a private company and an educational institute.’

Jack of all trades

Mariela recently celebrated her first year as office manager in Panama, joining Witteveen+Bos in February 2023. ‘My first year at the company has flown by. In a relatively small office, there are only three other permanent team members. As office manager, you have to be a jack of all trades. Internal administration, travel arrangements, arranging meetings with clients, dealing personally with certain clients, communications, office supplies: you name it, I do it. This variety in tasks also ensures that every day is different, and it makes the time go by extremely fast. Sometimes, I regret there are only 24 hours in a day!’


Although Mariela is not directly involved in projects carried out by the Panama office, she takes a keen interest in Witteveen+Bos’s activities on the continent.

‘Banking and finance is a relatively abstract field, whereas civil engineering has a direct impact on the world in various ways, such as on the economy, ecology and society. Take, for example, our consulting services for a shipping bypass next to the Itaipu Dam, one of the world’s largest dams. For a small office, it makes me proud that we’re involved in prestigious projects like this.’

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