Back in 2006, you embarked on a new chapter in your life, enrolling as a ZLOG student. How was the experience? Did you take any fond memories away with you?
The ZLOG experience was an extraordinary journey. Academically I was enlightened with a whole new perspective on Supply Chain Management. Professionally I was elevated with a new set of tools and network. But the greatest building blocks of my life that I took away from my ZLOG experience stem from the amazing bond and memories that I shared with classmates and staff.
The tight knit group that we formed was truly unique. Besides the intensive study and work in groups, we spent a lot of time experiencing the Zaragoza lifestyle, which was a blast! We also shared international dinners at one another’s homes. On a few occasions we traveled together, experiencing more of Spain and Europe. Whether in the Parque Grande or in the classroom or at the Tapas bars, the diverse group of ZLOGgers were by far the best part of the experience.
You have beaten a steady career path since graduating in 2006 with MIT Zaragoza program. Did you have a clear path back then of where you wanted to go, or did you simply grasp the opportunities as they came your way?
I entered the MIT Zaragoza program with the same career objective that still guides me today – to play a role in the development of my parents’ home country, Nicaragua. My aim is to introduce innovative and efficient operations in the developing nation of Nicaragua, driving social impact through economic stimulation, employment generation, and academic inspiration. I have sought opportunities that have helped develop my skills and talent to support leadership of business transformation and innovation in supply chain management, specifically in Nicaragua. However, I would’ve never imagined the path that I have taken since graduating in 2006.
The MIT ZLOG connection opened the doors to an amazing experience with Nike in their European headquarters, where I participated in developing key capabilities for the Nike global supply chain. After a fun ride with Nike, I took a difficult leap of faith to start a company in Nicaragua around responsive apparel manufacturing. Extreme variability in the cotton supply chain forced us to close the company, but not before learning very valuable lessons in entrepreneurship, and more importantly meeting the most important person in my life, my wife Rosibel. Working with the Nicaraguan Beer Company, one of the most reputable local companies in the country, gave me a deep dive into the idiosyncrasies of the local business culture. A few years later, Wilson Sporting Goods called me up to head up their offshoring of the Custom Uniforms manufacturing segment. Since then, each year we have implemented additional value adding manufacturing and service processes with explosive growth in the Wilson Custom Uniforms business. Throughout all of these crossroads on my career path, the driving objective has been clear and has lead me to grasp the progressive opportunities that have gotten me to where I am.
Apart from a brewery, you have devoted your working life and development to sports companies such as Nike and Wilson. Considering all your works and activities so far, what to date has been your biggest professional challenge?
Believe it or not, my biggest challenge has nothing to do with the technical side of supply chain management. With the tools we picked up at ZLOG and throughout the years, I’ve learned that most supply chain issues have a solution if you’ve got the time and tools to analyze them. The tough part is, getting everybody else on board with the solution. I’ve worked with some large companies with complex matrix organizations, meaning to drive innovation you need buy-in from several leaders with different perspectives. The biggest challenge has been to learn to navigate each organization and communicate in a way that resonates with each decision maker. The more you do this, the better you get at it, but it takes time and I’ve definitely had my share of frustrating battles.
After living in Amsterdam for 4 years, your career has brought you back to the other side of the pond. Do you intent to stick around and invest you expertise in Nicaragua in the future?
My long term objective is in Nicaragua. I’m going to continue to invest all of my talents and expertise to the development of business in Nicaragua until the day that I die. My beautiful wife is Nicaraguan. My wonderful kids were born here. We love Nicaragua and we’re here to stay.