Deployment Champion of Lean Six Sigma and Operations Strategy for Gallo, Victor Valentin is an inspiration to his team and the Gallo organization. He joined the Winery in 1999 as a Controls Engineer and has held a variety of positions within Engineering and Operations.
As a Deployment Champion, he helps Gallo solve complex problems, develop expertise, and build company culture. His team’s goal is to drive Lean and analytics-based decision making. We’re proud to have a leader with such a vision and a passion for helping others succeed.
WHERE ARE YOU AND YOUR FAMILY FROM?
I was born and raised on the beautiful island of Puerto Rico. I have one older brother, and five close cousins who are like brothers and sisters to me. I grew up in the small, rural town of Trujillo Alto where my brother and I took care of horses, goats, rabbits and chickens. We also rode horses for fun and competed, riding a special breed of horses called “Caballos Paso Fino.”
IT SOUNDS LIKE YOU’RE REALLY PROUD OF YOUR FAMILY. CAN YOU TELL US MORE ABOUT THEM?
Being of Hispanic heritage, family has always been important to me. They’ve always been there for me through major life moments, good or bad, and I have a lot of family members. Not only brothers and sisters but aunts, cousins and even close friends. As a kid, I remember referring to many people as my aunt and uncle to later learn they were close friends, not actual relatives! In my culture, we help everybody, even total strangers, and treat them like family.
DID YOU ALSO ATTEND SCHOOL IN PUERTO RICO?
I attended middle school at Escuela Central de Artes Visuales de Puerto Rico and my high school, University Gardens High School, specialized in Math and Science. I went on to the University of Puerto Rico where I earned my Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering in 1997. That same year I was awarded the GEM fellowship to attend MIT, where I earned my Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering and Controls.
WHAT IS IT ABOUT GALLO THAT MAKES IT YOUR ‘PERFECT PARING’?
Gallo is a great company with a unique history, good products and a solid vision, but what I enjoy the most are the people I work with. The people at Gallo are very smart and they are passionate about what they do. Everybody works hard, but we also have fun doing it.
HOW DOES DIVERSITY DRIVE INNOVATION?
Most innovations don’t come from eureka moments or individual epiphanies; they come from a focused effort to look at a problem from different points of view and by asking questions in different ways. Diversity unlocks innovation because it allows us to get inspiration from many places and perspectives something that is encouraged at Gallo.
WHICH COMPANY VALUES DO YOU FEEL HELP NURTURE AN INCLUSIVE ENVIRONMENT?
Respect and humility. Respect for fellow workers creates the opportunity for people from different backgrounds to come together, and humility allows us to have an open mind to new thoughts and ideas, regardless of where they come from.
AS THE EXECUTIVE SPONSOR OF THE GALLO LATINO EMPLOYEE RESOURCE GROUP, LA CASA, CAN YOU TELL US MORE ABOUT WHAT THIS GROUP HOPES TO ACHIEVE?
Our goal is to make Gallo a top choice for Latinos by providing programs and resources that will empower them to grow their network and careers, while building lasting connections. We are connecting Latinos to leaders for coaching and mentoring, while giving them the opportunity to influence our brands by providing insights into the Latino consumer market. I believe LA CASA will provide opportunities for everybody, Latino or non-Latino, to connect and engage with the right resources at the time.
WHAT HAS BEEN ONE OF YOUR PROUDEST ACHIEVEMENTS, EITHER PERSONAL OR PROFESSIONAL?
Climbing Half Dome with my son when he was nine years old. We spent a few months training before the hike. Every Friday we would go run and exercise at the local junior college track and then go for pizza. I’m sure the pizza didn’t help the training routine, but we were able to spend a lot of fun, quality time together.
IF THERE’S ANY ADVICE YOU COULD GIVE TO THE NEXT GENERATION OF GALLO EMPLOYEES, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
Grow your GRIT. Grit is a distinct combination of passion, resilience, determination, and focus that allows a person to maintain the discipline and optimism to persevere in their goals, even in the face of discomfort, rejection, and other obstacles. Every year our businesses and processes are going to become more complex and we are going to have to solve unique problems that we cannot even imagine at this time. Grit will give you the right tools to be successful.
*In light of the recent hurricane that has impacted Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, Gallo has donated $100,000 to the American Red Cross to assist with relief efforts.
Gallo has a legacy of supporting the communities where its employees, distributors and customers live and work. The company also matches employee donations up to $5,000 annually through the employee match program. Please visit redcross.com to learn more about how you can help with relief efforts.
TO LEARN MORE ABOUT DIVERSITY & INCLUSION AT GALLO, VISIT: GALLOCAREERS.COM