Manuel António da Mota
«He was a man who impressed me so much, that I think his life is truly a case study.»
GENERAL RAMALHO EANES EX-PRESIDENT OF THE PORTUGUESE REPUBLIC IN “CONSTRUIR UMA VIDA” (FMAM FILM)
Manel António da Mota was born on June 8, 1913, in Codeçoso, municipality of Celorico de Basto. Coming from a family of farmers, he completed his primary education, however, due to his father’s illness, he began working on the family’s farms. From a very young age, he showed a strong entrepreneurial spirit, based on a solid determination and boldness, that everyone recognised.
He began working as a toolmaker and later as an overseer in a construction company, then becoming a general manager (supervisor).
To cope with the crisis, he convinces his brother-in-law, Joaquim da Fonseca, and businessman Joaquim Pereira da Silva to acquire a sawmill company in Amarante, setting up the company United Industries of Tâmega.
«He was a man of those who appears once in every generation.»
ARNALDO FIGUEIREDO VICE-PRESIDENT OF MOTA-ENGIL IN “CONSTRUIR UMA VIDA” (FMAM FILM)
After the end of World War II, in 1946, Manuel António da Mota and Joaquim da Fonseca constituted two companies: Construtora do Tâmega, dedicated to the construction industry, and Mota & Co., a wood company directed to the agricultural and forestry operations in Angola. At the age of 33, Manuel António da Mota goes to the forest of Cabinda, where he faces great challenges and risks, demonstrating his adventurous and fearless spirit.
In 1948, Manuel António da Mota, then 35, married Maria Amália Guedes Queiroz de Vasconcelos, 22, and from this union were born four children: Maria Manuela, Maria Teresa, Antonio and Maria Paula (current shareholders of Mota-Engil Group).
Mota & Co. won the competition to build Luanda’s Airport. To find financial support for this work, Manuel António da Mota embarked on a flight of the size of his determination and, even without speaking English, flew to New York, where he obtained $ 10.5 million for the construction of Luanda’s Airport and the road Luso-Vila Henrique de Carvalho.
«My father was an extremely high-quality engineer with any studies.»
ENG. ANTÓNIO MOTA – MANUEL ANTÓNIO DA MOTA SON AND CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD OF MOTA-ENGIL GROUP
Even during the colonial war, between 1961 and 1974, Manuel António da Mota managed to maintain the company’s activity in Angola, thanks to a large number of public works in the country.
However, in 1974, although the company did not leave Angola after independence, many employees were among the thousands of Portuguese who had to return to Portugal. Back then, times were not easy and Manuel António da Mota had to mortgage land to secure the payment of workers’ wages and also received several employees on his properties.
In 1977, Mota & Co. won the important public competition for the Regularisation of Baixo Mondego, a highly outstanding and symbolic work for the Mota family, since it was, until then, the largest work in Portugal made by a single company, and for marking the beginning of the career for António Mota (son).
For the accomplish of this work, Manuel António da Mota built Vila Mota, a small village with houses for the workers and their families, a school, a supermarket, and a chapel, always generating a great feeling of unity among all.
In recognition of the man of character, philanthropist and successful entrepreneur serving Portugal’s development, in 1982, Manuel António da Mota was awarded the Order of Agricultural and Industrial Merit, delivered by General Ramalho Eanes, the President of the Republic, at that time.
After extensive personal and professional successes, always accompanied by a strong spirit of generosity, Manuel António da Mota died at the age of 82, on August 21, 1995, following pneumonia.
Manuel António da Mota bequeathed to posterity an example and testimony of a life that is perpetuated in his successors and in all those touched by his presence.
«He had a heart the size of a country. He esteemed the employees like family.»
MANUEL SILVA – MANUEL ANTÓNIO DA MOTA PERSONAL ASSISTANT