Talson, Panama, and The World: Relationships Revered
China, France, Spain, Italy, South Korea. Working together as one team, the Talson and Canal staff traveled the globe to establish communication with various managers, contractors, and suppliers—reviewing the myriad elements of the project. Together, the two teams identified cost risks, quality risks, schedule risks, and every risk of note they came across, growing pridefully close along the way. Talson adopted Panamanian culture, fully embedding its people in Panama, and the Canal audit team came to recognize the Talson members as friends as well as partners.
Beyond risk assessments, readiness reviews, quality audits and more, Talson provided the Panama Canal Authority with valuable recommendations, training programs, and system improvements wherever sensible. On one of the many instances in which Talson exceeded expectations, Bright agreed to attend events in Washington, DC. Alongside the Ambassador of Panama, he would speak to the public about the details of the project. From added scope tasks to personal celebrations and more, the firm made sure to always be there for the Canal and Panama—with an unmatched reverence for the relationship.
Talson’s extraordinary respect for all people and unique ability to appreciate the nuances of dynamics empowered the team to do more than work exceptionally well together; it empowered them to work exceptionally well with a range of professionals from all across the globe. The mix of contractors on the project came from different backgrounds, spoke different languages, and knew different cultures, but Talson proved to be the perfect partner to guide the Canal’s internal audit team on how to address them all.
Eight Years of Excellence
The Panama Canal Authority goes to great lengths to preserve transparency in all procurement, selecting free and open competition as the preferred procurement process. Talson’s first contract was awarded for one year, and normally would have required another full and open competitive process. However, the Canal acknowledged that changing the OIG’s advisory firm would mean losing time and knowledge. Furthermore, Talson had proved they were essential for the continuous audit of the Expansion Project. Jaramillo explained that Talson’s continuity on the project could be amply justified because of their “excellence in reporting, knowledge sharing, technical matters, transparency, reliability, and availability.” As a result, Talson remained on the Panama Canal Expansion for eight years, always maintaining the same level of excellence and commitment.
After approximately 15,000 Talson man-hours, over 100 Talson reports, and over 100 stamps on Robert’s passport, the expanded Canal was inaugurated in June 2016. Since its opening, the Canal has surpassed traffic expectations, offering countless ships a shorter route that offers greater cargo capacity, and reaffirming its place as an environmental leader. The project went on to receive the Newsmaker of the Year award by the Lloyd’s List Americas Awards, in recognition of the historic inauguration of the Neopanamax locks.
Back in 2000, when Panama assumed control of the administration of the Canal, the leadership faced the challenge of infusing Panamanian culture into the Canal, which had been a US federal government entity until that time. Once the Expansion Project was completed with exceptional teamwork and met with worldwide acclaim—the question became how to infuse the culture of the Canal into Panama.
“They put on their Panama Canal hats and they put their heart into it… I can’t imagine a scenario without Talson.”
– Elsa Jaramillo