Juan Luis is our Manager of Procurement & Sales in South America. He is based in Santiago, Chile, and has been with us for over 12 years. With a quiet confidence, Juan Luis is a welcome presence with growers and customers. He has gracefully accepted the task of being an integral part of the team that is responsible for the sales of our owned ranches in Peru. We sometimes think that perhaps that remarkable ‘grace under pressure’ that Juan Luis has comes from being a grower himself, as he is a partner in an award-winning Pisco venture – Saltue.
Let’s get to know Juan Luis a little more!
VG: Has Santiago always been home or did you re-locate for work?
Juan Luis: Santiago has been my home for almost all of my life. I was born and lived here until I finished University at the age of 24. After that I moved to Coquimbo in the IV Region to work in a Fruit Export Company for 3 years. Then, I came back to Santiago and have been living here ever since. I don’t believe I will move away from Santiago again as I really like this city – but in this Industry, you never know.
VG: Have you always been destined for produce? Where did your career start?
Juan Luis: My grandfather had a small farm with chickens and vegetables to provide for his restaurant. I believe this was a factor when I decided to pursue studies to become an Agricultural Engineer at the University in Santiago. I’ve also always liked to study economics, so, I found the perfect match when I specialized in Agricultural Economy. My career started with Unifrutti as a QC inspector, where I quickly became the Export Program Coordinator. After that, I worked for 5 years as an Export Manager in a Chilean Winery, before returning to the produce business at Subsole, where I was the Manager of a packing house and cold storage facility. In the year 2007, I was hired at Vanguard International and have been proudly working here ever since!
VG: What has been a memorable moment for you during your time working for Vanguard?
Juan Luis: I really love when hard work results in great business for all parties involved – including growers, importers and final customers. Working with Vanguard, I have been able to witness this constantly. As an example, we have been able to develop a very successful grape program to Indonesia, starting shipments in October from Peru and finishing in April from Chile. Actually, we have become the main exporter of grapes to Indonesia from South America.
I also have many memorable moments with our Global team, most of them when attending AsiaFruit Logistica every year. Some more great memories include; a trip to Vietnam and Thailand with one of our Peruvian growers, a weekend in Bali with Yuyuh Sukmana (our Manager in Indonesia), many procurement trips in South America, PMAs , the list is long…
VG: Whose day do you impact on a regular basis. Who hears from you the most?
Juan Luis: On a daily basis, our entire Chilean team! We plan and execute our work on a weekly and daily basis, so they hear from me the most. This also goes for our growers, customers, the managers of our offshore offices and our President, Tim Clarke!
VG: What does your free time look like? Spending time with family, friends? Hobbies?
Juan Luis: I love to spend time with my family, a barbecue at home is always a great time. When we have good weather, we enjoy going to the beach or going camping. I try to play soccer with my friends twice a week. As well, in the last few years, I have started to enjoy running very much. As a Chilean, I always love a good Pisco and wine with my wife and friends. Of course, many of these activities have been standing by due to COVID-19, but will hopefully be doing these things again soon…
VG: Do you have a favourite produce item? If so, how do you prefer to eat it? (Snack? Signature Recipe?)
Juan Luis: My favorite is Avocado; I eat it in a sandwich alone or with ham. Very simple, but just great!
Every day is different at Vanguard; with new growers joining our community, new crops and fresh varieties being introduced, and new markets opening. Keep up to date with what’s happening in our expanding world.