He moves to Salvador (Bahia), with his family. The patriarch and pioneer, Emílio Odebrecht, identified the city for the use of reinforced concrete in the northeast of Brazil, and a place that required infrastructure work.
At the age of 12, when he starts to attend high school at the former Gymnasio Ypiranga in Salvador, Norberto studies the Portuguese language.
Moving to a house on Ladeira dos Aflitos, which housed the support offices of the company, Emílio Odebrecht & Cia., Norberto enters the world of work alongside his father and the master builders, who he also considered his teachers.
Still an engineering student, he takes on his father`s business, which was experiencing financial difficulties and was instable, stemming from the events of the Second World War.
Construtora Norberto Odebrecht constructs the Catu-Candeias pipeline in Bahia, to transport the oil extracted from the new Catu field at the Mataripe Refinery.
The book “De que Necessitamos?” (What do we Need?) arises from his reflections; it was the first piece of work on Odebrecht Entrepreneurial Technology (TEO), systematized years later. In this short publication, he reiterates the qualities of a decentralized management model and planned delegation.
Norberto throws himself into yet another challenge: the internationalization of his company. This new phase begins with the Charcani V hydroelectric power plant project contract in Peru, and deviation of the River Maule for the Colbún-Machicura project in Chile. The business diversification process starts the same year, with the establishment of Odebrecht Drilling (OPL).
Norberto is succeeded by his son, Emílio Alves Odebrecht, as CEO of Construtora Norberto Odebrecht. He continues his working activities as CEO of the holding company, Odebrecht S.A.
In May, he addresses the Shareholders` General Meeting, resigning from the position of Odebrecht S.A. CEO. He is replaced, once again, by his son, Emílio Odebrecht.
At the head of the Odebrecht Foundation, Norberto acts on the cause of social and economic problems, defining the promotion of sustainable territorial development as the institutional focus. He establishes the Development and Integrated Growth with Sustainability Program (PDCIS), called DIS Southern Lowlands at the time, with its activities centered on the Southern Bahia Lowlands region.
Norberto receives the Brigadier General`s Ceremonial Baton from the Army General João Francisco Ferreira, the former Commander of the 6th Military Region.
On October 9, Norberto Odebrecht is born in the city of Recife (Pernambuco). He is the son of Emílio and Hertha Odebrecht, from Santa Catarina and ascendant of Germans.
The German pastor, Otto Arnold, becomes a teacher in the family home and starts to have an active participation in the education of Norberto Odebrecht, who was 6 years old at the time.
He starts a Civil Engineering course at the Federal University of Bahia Polytechnic School, continuing a three-generation family tradition. He graduates in 1943.
In August, he establishes Construtora Norberto Odebrecht. He forms the company with students from the Polytechnic School of Bahia and his master builders. He signed political, economic and social pacts, cleared his father`s debts, and generated a model to distribute tasks and profits within the company.
Father Hildebrando presents Sister Dulce to Norberto. Affectionately called “my teacher, and professional mother”, Dulce becomes the entrepreneur`s advisor and friend.
Norberto establishes the Odebrecht Foundation, called the Emílio Odebrecht Foundation at the time, as a tribute to his father. His aim was to provide Construtora Norberto Odebrecht (CNO) members with benefits that the welfare system did not include at the time.
He conducts CNE`s business beyond the northeast, arriving in the southeast region and has the construction of the Petrobras headquarters as a symbol; the project was completed in early 1971.
“Sobreviver, Crescer e Perpetuar” (Survival, Growth and Perpetuity) takes shape, the third book published by the entrepreneur. Here, Norberto systematizes the principles, concepts and criteria that form the foundations of Odebrecht culture for the first time, bringing Odebrecht Entrepreneurial Technology (TEO) to life.
Under the entrepreneur`s leadership, the Odebrecht Foundation changes its focus of activity and starts to concentrate on educating teenagers for life.
Precisely seven years later, Norberto Odebrecht passes the chair of the Odebrecht S.A. Board to Emílio and leaves the business, after 60 years of work and more than 50 years leading the Group. The engineer remains as chair of the Odebrecht Foundation Board of Trustees and the honorary CEO of Odebrecht S.A.
The Odebrecht Foundation wins the 2nd ODM Brazil Award, awarded to projects that contribute with effective results, to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.
On July 19, Norberto Odebrecht passes away in Salvador, having achieved not only growth of the business which he led, but also the social and economic development of hundreds of communities and families.
"In my opinion, every Entrepreneur – besides the ethos of service – has the stamina, determination and willingness to live life to the full.”
Survival, Growth and Perpetuity, 8th edition, vol.1