Adaptability as a skill
"Change is the only constant", a paraphrased quote attributed to Heraclitus of Ephesus, is a guiding principle of sustainability in my professional life. This is why I've expanded my skills from industrial engineering, technology integration, and leadership to include management consulting, brewing, distilling, and product development.
I grew up in Camuy, Puerto Rico, a coastal town know for its karst caverns and underground rivers. At age fourteen, I moved to Mayagüez to attend CROEM, a public magnet boarding school. Already in the Puerto Rican west coast, I completed undergraduate studies in industrial engineering at the Mayagüez campus of the University of Puerto Rico.
A short stint in the pharmaceutical industry developing production dashboards provided a platform to start a career in technology consulting that prompted a move to Washington, D.C. where I learned about system integration, leadership, and technology architecture. All of this while cultivating my passion for food and beer brewing as a hobby.
After ten years in technology consulting, I decided to take an educational sabbatical to further advance my education in food science by pursuing a Master of Food Science (MFS) degree at Cornell University. Here I found a place where technology, engineering, and food science coalesced to develop new ideas. My MFS project was divided into two chapters. The first chapter was a comparison of a portable beer measurement device versus industry standard methods using benchtop tools. The second chapter was a comprehensive review about the usage of different types of priming sugars for bottle conditioning beer (carbonation in bottle), a topic that's becoming more important as supply chain disruptions impact the availability of carbon dioxide.
While working on my graduate degree, I optimized my time in four areas: coursework, product development, leadership, and science communication. Coursework was done successfully (4.0 GPA). Product development was mainly in Beer and Spirits. I developed beer recipes and taught graduate students how to brew as part of my role in Big Red Brewing. For spirits, I helped Dr. Carl Batt and Dr. Louis Hom develop a sorghum rum as a product example for sorghum cane (broom corn) grown in the finger lakes region. I also developed a maple liqueur with Dr. Catherine Belisle from the Cornell Maple Program.
Leadership development focused on applying acquired skills during my consulting career to the graduate student organizations. I started as operations chair at Big Red Brewing even before starting my courses. I then joined the Graduate Wine Society (GWS) as an industry liaison, developing a calendar of events and connecting with Hispanic industry leaders to showcase their work in wine tastings. My experience with these two groups led me to join Andy Kalenak, Austin Montgomery and Margaux Mora to form The Spirits Society at Cornell, a graduate student organization focused on distilled spirits education.
After dedicating extensive time to learn about food science, brewing, distilling, and winemaking, I presented my MFS project findings at the 2021 Master Brewers conference. At that point I realized access to cutting edge research information is often available only to scholars, and paying institutions. For that reason I started The Food Engineer Podcast as a tool to disseminate scientific-based knowledge about fermented food and beverages to the Spanish-speaking population. The podcast and my science communication journey led to me joining the MBAA DEI committee, where volunteered as an editor of the MBAA DEI Perspectives, a series of whitepapers focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion. After a year with MBAA, I now co-chair its DEI committee alongside Barbara Stone.
This is but the start of my journey into developing new products, democratizing scientific knowledge, and surrounding myself with stalwart supporters of diversity to shape the future of the food and beverage industry. I look forward to the next challenges.
2022 - Present
Owner, Food and Beverage industry consultant
Leverage manufacturing byproducts to develop new beverages
Author industry insights for international consulting group
Develop podcast concept for non-profit brewing organization
2010 - Present
2020 - 2021
Master of Food Science (MFS), specialized in brewing, distilling and winemaking
Portland State University
Business of Craft Brewing certificate program
University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez
Bachelor of Science (BS), Industrial Engineering