juan manuel ruiseco, ENG '57
Juan, born in Medellin, Colombia, earned his degree in mechanical engineering at Marquette. Upon returning to Colombia, he put his education and business philosophy to work: “Steady work, persistence and endurance throughout both good and bad times,” says Juan.
For 46 years, Juan worked for Argos Cement Group, starting as Caribe’s plant manager and becoming CEO in 1971. In 1999, he was promoted to CEO for the total Argos Group under a conglomerate known as GEA, one of the largest and most successful business synergies in Latin America, with more than 100 companies bound together by cross-shareholdings. GEA is led by Suramericana de Inversiones, of which Juan was board chairman from 1999 to 2004.
Under Juan´s management, Argos embarked upon expansion of cement plants and purchased offshore investments in Dominican Republic, Panama, Haiti and Venezuela. He also pursued coal mining exploration and exploitation, land development and shipping. Serving on numerous boards over his career, including some on behalf of the Colombian government, he was chairman of associations such as ANDI, INCOLDA and CAMACOL. He was also founder and board member of Universidad del Norte.
Juan and his wife Cecilia have five children, all of whom are active in the industrial world. He has instilled in his children “the importance of working under high moral standards as the key to success.” Juan feels his Jesuit education and “living for five years under the unique Milwaukee ambiance” has contributed to his success.