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October 08 www. bus- ex. com 57 Odebrecht contractor for the US Army Corps of Engineers. That connection to the Corps has led to other opportunities that included the efforts to rebuild infrastructure in Iraq and Kuwait and work now under way in New Orleans to build the Hurricane Storm Damage Risk Reduction System ( HSDRRS). Odebrecht has won contracts to construct two sections of what will eventually be some 350 miles of levees and hurricane barriers around New Orleans and surrounding parishes— all meant to provide the city with protection against another storm on the scale of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Odebrecht is constructing earthen levees in Jefferson Parish, along the west bank of the Mississippi River and in St. Bernard Parish, where damage and flooding from Katrina was extensive. Government plans call for work on the levees to continue until at least 2011, and Odebrecht hopes to be in position to capture more work in the area. In fact, becoming a favorite contractor for clients is a key part of Odebrecht's growth strategy, according to CEO Gilberto Neves, who says Odebrecht sets itself apart by becoming a local player in its markets. " As a contractor, I don't necessarily consider us better than any other firm, but I do consider us different in the way we go about developing relationships," Neves says. Through relationships with subcontractors, employees and clients, Odebrecht essentially becomes a local company that knows which contractors can be relied upon to produce high-quality work on time and on budget. When Odebrecht first arrived in New Orleans to take on the Corps of Engineers work, it began by reconstructing a breached section of the London canal wall project, which was part of the emergency work after hurricane Katrina. Project executive Dimas Salvia, who is overseeing the Louisiana work, notes, " Our entrance in the Louisiana market at the time could have been