Ignacio Ugarte is responsible for sales and procurement in South America as part of the Vanguard International team in Santiago, Chile. Ignacio is an Agronomist by training with years of produce industry experience. He brings a strong global background having spent his career based in both the USA and Bangkok, Thailand. He’s a key member of the Vanguard global team with a wide variety of skills and knowledge of Southern Hemisphere fruits and vegetables.
Let’s get to know Ignacio a little more!
VG- Has Santiago, Chile always been home, or did you re-locate for work?
Ignacio: I’m from the south of Chile, a city called Puerto Montt, located on the northern entrance to the Patagonia. I relocated for university after spending five years in the USA. I now call Santiago home.
VG – Have you always been destined for fresh produce? How did your career begin?
Ignacio: Yes, I feel so. I knew since my early years I wanted to be located near the countryside. I have a very close relationship with my uncle, who is also an agronomist and manages more than 1,000 hectares of apples. I went to school for agronomy with hopes to do the same. Life took my career to more of a desk and office backdrop, but I am still in the produce industry!
VG – We are well into managing in a global pandemic – what have been the greatest challenges? Any positive outcomes of a change in SOP?
Ignacio: I feel the greatest challenge has been not being able to visit our customers, especially those in Asia. Technologies have kept us all connected, but they can’t replace a face-to-face meeting, a dinner, and a nice chat. This business is all about personal relationships. The positive outcome is the pandemic showed our industry that many jobs can be done remotely, adding flexibility to our day-to-day lives and more time to be spent with family instead of on long commutes.
VG – Whose day do you impact on a regular basis? Who hears from you the most?
Ignacio: My teammates in the Santiago office of course, as well as Yuyuh Sukmana (Regional Manager – Southeast Asia) and Jossi Liauwan in Indonesia (SE Asian Operations & Administration) and Fanny Robles (Supervisor, Peru Procurement and Sales).
VG – What has been a memorable moment of your time with Vanguard?
Ignacio: Being part of the team that works hard for very good results: for our LOVE of grapes and other fruits that we distribute globally. I made a trip to Korea in April and witnessed the good impression the entire team left on our customer. It was very satisfying to see how happy they were with the product we delivered to them.
VG – What does your free time look like! Spending time with family, friends?
Ignacio: I very much like Chilean-style BBQ with family and friends. I like to hike the hills near Santiago, and if I have the time, I like to head south for a fly fishing weekend.
VG – Do you have a favorite produce item? If yes how do you prefer to eat it (Snack? Signature Recipe?)
Ignacio: If I had to chose one, it would be watermelon. I prefer it cold with “harina tostada”. You could translate it as toasted flour. We toast the wheat grain and then we grind it into flour.
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.