Maurício Mendonça Godoy

Create and cultivate your network. It takes work, but it’s fundamental to your success…we have to devote the time to building relationships that our success requires.


Maurício Mendonça Godoy has been CEO of Estaleiros do Brasil since 2015. He graduated from Mackenzie Presbyterian University in 1983 with degrees in Mechanical Engineering and Business Administration. Godoy also completed a University Extension Course: Leading Professional Service Firms, taught by Harvard Business School (2012); and two certifications: Project Management Professional (PMP) by the Project Management Institute (PMI) and Board Member of the Brazilian Institute of Corporate Governance (IBGC).

Godoy has been CEO of Toyo Setal Empreendimentos Company (2012-2014) and SOG Company (2010-2012), Director of TS Gas do Brasil (2007-2010), Coordinator of the Technological Innovations Group of the Brazilian Association of Industrial Engineering (Abemi) (2002-2006), Director and Project Manager of the company Setal Oil and Gas (1996-2007), Project Manager at CBI LIX Construções (1988-1996), and Construction Manager at Codistil Dedini (1985-1988).

As current CEO of Estaleiros do Brasil, Godoy has led several major projects including the construction of the EBR shipyard in São José do Norte in the state of Rio Grande do Sul (RS), and the expansion of the Natural Gas Processing Unit (UPGN) at the Terminal de Cabiúnas (Tecab) and at the Duque de Caxias Refinery (Reduc), both in the state of Rio de Janeiro.

In addition, Maurício Mendonça Godoy is the lead editor of the 2013 book “Integrated Systems for the Management of Industrial Companies”, the second work published by Abemi.

Where did the idea for Estaleiros do Brasil come from?

The decision to build a shipyard came from the great demand for new FPSO (Floating Production Storage & Offloading) platforms resulting from the discovery of new pre-salt deposits off the coast of Brazil. In 2011, when the company decided to build the yard, it was expected that 3 to 4 new FPSOs would be built each year in Brazil, which would generate billions of dollars in new business.

The construction of the shipyard started in 2013, and in 2014 we started the construction of FPSO P-74. The P-74 was delivered in February 2018, two months before the contractual deadline ) and, in April 2018, production began 80 days before the contractual term.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

I arrive at the office before 7:30 am. I start the day by reviewing my To-Do List to select the most important things that I have to do, and throughout the day I follow the progress of the most relevant items on the list.

During the day, I often talk to several people on my team about strategies, action plans, and guidelines, or listen to their new ideas that I feel can drive business improvements. I find it’s extremely important to actively seek out people within your company and ask them for their thoughts on both the big picture and small details of the company. There are many great ideas that go unnoticed in many companies simply because the people who think of them don’t think they’re worth sharing, and no one ever asks about them.

My company also has an open-door policy, which means that any employee can speak with the president or the board of directors at any time, just as we have access to board members whenever necessary. We don’t put up barriers between one level of employee and another. We believe that the most successful companies are successful because they take great ideas from everywhere—not just from the top.

How do you bring ideas to life?

I like to gather a small group of managers and employees to discuss new ideas and thoughts.
I try to challenge everyone to look for alternatives outside traditional thinking, and I try to bring examples of things that happen in other sectors or that I see during my trips abroad to discuss possible applications in our company.

Some ideas are abandoned because they end up convincing me that they are “half-baked”. For the ideas that we decide to implement, we create an Action Plan, which always has a person responsible for each topic with a previously agreed term for its implementation.

I’ve found that being able to abandon certain ideas that aren’t viable has been essential to my success. It’s important to know when to cut an idea loose to make way for a better idea, because as an entrepreneur or business owner you only have so much time. If you chase every single idea you have down every road it leads, you might miss out on other, better roads. It’s important to have a level of self-awareness to ask yourself, am I excited about this idea because it’s new, or because it’s actually worth pursuing? Oftentimes the answer is the former.

What’s one trend that excites you?

I see IoT (Internet of Things) as a promising field to make life easier for everyone and bring improved efficiency and productivity to business. The more our tools can be connected to each other, the more efficiently they’ll communicate information and help us use our time more effectively in business and in all areas of our lives. And as technology advances, it will only become more affordable for people and business around the world. That’s an incredibly exciting prospect.

I also see robotics as a great catalyst for productivity improvements, as has already occurred in several sectors. As an example in the industrial area, I know of a robotic welding arm that scans the joint to be welded before starting the welding process, making sure that the welding parameters are adjusted specifically for the geometry of that joint, resulting in very high-quality welding. Robotics will only become more powerful, capable, and inexpensive, which means many of the tasks that were previously done by hand will be able to be managed by machines. I see this as an exciting development because it means the people previously completing these manual jobs will be able to turn their attention to greater ideas and tasks.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

Persistence in my life experience and professional experience has been essential— nothing came free or without much effort. We often hear about ‘overnight successes,’ but the truth is that success only seems to happen overnight because you weren’t there to see the years of learning, practice, failure, and re-starts that led to that success. If we could see all of that, we wouldn’t call them ‘overnight’ successes anymore.

Problems will arise during the implementation of any large project, and only with creativity, knowledge, collaboration and a lot of persistence can we overcome them. The satisfaction of having won a challenge is priceless! We have to find joy in facing challenges, not just in getting recognition or financial success as a result. It’s like working out at the gym—you won’t always be able to see the difference immediately, but you have to love the process along the way.

What advice would you give your younger self?

First, be ethical in your personal and professional life, and never stop learning, because what you master today may be irrelevant tomorrow. Many people learn to a certain point and then decide that they’re done, they’ve left the learning portion of their life. But that’s ridiculous—our whole life is for learning, otherwise life would cease to be interesting.

I also advise you to create and cultivate your network. It takes work, but it’s fundamental to your success. Oftentimes we avoid spending time on networking because we feel it takes time away from our ‘work.’ But it’s all part of our success, and we have to devote the time to building relationships that our success requires.

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

Human beings tend to be afraid of change, but adaptability to new scenarios and new challenges will be a matter of survival for the professionals of tomorrow. The desire to continue to develop and become familiar with new technologies will also be part of the inseparable skills of successful professionals, who must constantly reinvent themselves in order to avoid becoming obsolete and disposable.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Ask, ask and ask again if the answers have not satisfied you yet. I think knowing how to ask the right questions is a skill that helps a great deal when making decisions, which greatly increases the chances of success.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

I believe that the decision to invest time and money in the development of a comprehensive management system, which allows the monitoring of the development of the project throughout its life cycle, was very successful and established a very high level of control. This allowed for the implementation of corrective actions before problems become insoluble. This system has recently received a worldwide recognition award from AVEVA, which takes place once a year, which shows that we have achieved a high level of integration. We had already received this same prize in two other years: 2010 and 2014.

We also received recognition for Petrobras as the best service provider of 2018 in the area of engineering and construction. )

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

At the end of the 90s, I created a company to prepare agendas and I realized the difficulty of being an entrepreneur in Brazil, with limited resources and all the complexity required to manage a business.

I understood at that time that in order to prosper, a company needs the full dedication of the main employer and, since it was impossible to dedicate myself exclusively to it, I ended up closing the company 2 years after its inception. However, I learned many things about the administration that I use to this day.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

After several years of stagnation, the demand for FPSO has shown very positive signs in Brazil and around the world, with Brazil being the main market for this sector due to the presence of the pre-salt layer. It is expected that in the next few years, between 6 and 7 FPSO will be hired per year in the world, and 50% of these contracts will be destined for the Brazilian market.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

On a recent trip to China, I and my two traveling companions had the opportunity to try the famous Beijing duck, which besides being very tasty, is served with a great deal of pomp and circumstance. It was a time of great fun and value for every yuan we paid.

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?

I really like Flipboard, which focuses on the main news organizations separated by subject, and while I travel in Ubers I can get updated quickly about what is happening in Brazil and around the world. I also really like Google Meet, which helps me organize meetings when I’m out of the office.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

I really enjoy Stephen Covey’s The Speed of Trust, which shows the importance of trust in our personal and professional relationships and how this can lead to our success.

What is your favorite quote?

“It was not raining when Noah built the ark.” —Howard Ruff.

I love this quote because it speaks to the importance of preparing before you find yourself facing a major challenge. If you take the time to prepare your boat when skies are clear and the weather is nice, it means that you’ll be ready when the storms come. The time to start building the boat is not when the rain is already pouring. This is a lesson that I’ve learned and relearned time and time again, and it’s been absolutely essential in the way I’ve faced many professional and personal challenges. If you take the time to prepare for the future before it arrives, you’ll be ready when it finally does.

Key Learnings:

  • Ask, ask and ask again.
  • The time to start building the boat is not when the rain is already pouring
  • Be ethical in your personal and professional life, and never stop learning, because what you master today may be irrelevant tomorrow.