Ricardo Delgado – Senior Manager, Warehouse & BMAX, considers himself a lifelong student who relishes new challenges. A native of Mexico working in Kentucky’s bourbon industry, he also enjoys the opportunity to find common ground with those around him.
Born in Mexico City, Ricardo’s family moved to Guadalajara when he was six years old. He studied at the American School Foundation of Guadalajara, a bilingual Spanish/English school, from elementary school through high school graduation. He went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering at Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Occidente (ITESO), a Jesuit university in Guadalajara. Four years later, in 2007, he began his Beam Suntory career at Casa Sauza as Senior Process Engineer.
That doesn’t mean that he stopped his formal education there. Ricardo is committed ongoing learning.
“Throughout my career, I have continued my education, earning a Tequila specialist degree from the Universidad Autónoma de Guadalajara, a leadership degree from the Universidad Panamericana, a Black Belt Lean Six Sigma certification from Lean Six Sigma Institute, and an Executive MBA degree from a joint program at the University of Louisville and the University of Kentucky.”
That passion for learning has been instrumental in his career journey at Beam Suntory, too – in 2011, he was promoted from Mexico and the Casa Sauza team to Kentucky to join the North America Operational Excellence team as Central Change Agent. A few years later, in 2018, he was promoted back into plant operations at Clermont-Booker Noe, where he has been leading a team of 135 people at the Barrel Warehouse department since.
Ricardo believes that his background, culture, and experience have contributed to his success, and are core to his commitment to continue learning and improving, a concept known as “kaizen mindset” at Beam Suntory. He particularly values the unique opportunity to collaborate with people around the world.
“My career journey with Beam Suntory, and the challenges and opportunities I face my current role, have given me the opportunity to learn different ways of doing things, further teaching me to appreciate what I have. Most of the people I’ve worked with want the same thing… to be the best at what they do – and they feel proud of it, especially in our industry where you can relate to the history of our brands.”
One of the things Ricardo enjoys most about his work is the opportunity to “touch” every drop of Jim Beam that is made. He is part of the process that brings this special, storied Bourbon to people all over the world.
Of course, the role does not come without a few challenges.
“One of our biggest, but most interesting, challenges is the handling of barrels. Everything we do is done with craftsmanship in mind – and our operations are no exception. Warehouse operators manually roll barrels and ‘clock’ them (making sure the bung is facing up) as they go into a rick. Even though we have vehicles and equipment to convey barrels as they are moved from the cistern room to the warehouse, and from the warehouse to the dump floor, we are continuously looking at ways to make this process as safe and efficient as possible.”
As a Hispanic man in the American workforce, Ricardo believes people often overlook the challenge of raising a family without the support of relatives and childhood friends. He’s managed the feeling of being an “outsider,” by volunteering, coaching his kids’ sports teams. Ricardo believes it’s also important to find common interests with those around him.
“I’ve had many conversations about food, that’s been one of the main topics when sharing experiences. I believe it creates a common ground that has connected me to others while creating an opportunity to educate and share challenges that my community often faces. For example, I was very fortunate that my parents ensured that I studied at a bilingual school – they knew that speaking multiple languages would be essential to my success later in life, but I know a lot of other Hispanic/Latinx community members that are not as fortunate and struggle when trying to communicate in the United States.”
Ricardo believes that SALUD, the Beam Suntory Employee Impact Group (EIG) for Hispanic/Latinx team members, is a great platform to share experiences, get to know his colleagues, and serves an important role in engraining diversity and inclusion within the business. He’s also dedicated to making personal connections and learning from others in the company.
“Be proud of who you are and where you come from – don’t be shy to share it.”
And when asked about what advice he has for others for their career journey, he said:
“It’s interesting how relationships and good work ethic takes you places. When I’ve moved jobs, it’s been because someone I knew recommended that I apply. I believe that if you always try your best and be the most authentic version of yourself at work, opportunities will come. Opportunities are often disguised as hard work, so most people don’t recognize them”
Ricardo and his wife, Eva, are parents to two children – Diana and Eric. Outside of work, he enjoys spending time with his family, grilling, traveling, fishing, and coaching his kids in football, soccer, basketball, and volleyball.
And when asked about the best thing he cooks…
“I have to say, the smoked pork shoulder I make is delicious.”
Join us in celebrating Ricardo and the rest of our Hispanic and Latinx community during Hispanic Heritage Month and beyond!