In honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month, GMSDC Radio kicked off a special two-part interview series highlighting the accomplishments of area Hispanic-owned small businesses. Featured this week was Founder and CEO Rick Tapia of La Bodega Internacional, and Managing Member and President Fernando de Augero of Diversified Energy Supply, along with cohost Program Director Veronica Maldonado of Mentor Protege Connection.
As divergent as craft spirits and the energy supply business may seem, the CEOs stressed the same key ingredients for success: mentorship, passion and experience, resources and a healthy “leap of faith.” With a decidedly more contemplative tone, the interview covered the full spectrum of entrepreneurship–from startup to established enterprise. Listen now, for their nuggets of wisdom and leadership!
Fernando de Agüero / Diversified Energy Supply
Mr. de Agüero is the President of Diversified Fuel Supply. He is also the founder and Manager of its parent company, DES Wholesale, LLC d/b/a Diversified Energy Supply. Mr. de Agüero possesses a broad energy industry experience ranging from regulated utilities to deregulated merchant and retail business. He has launched five privately held energy ventures, was Chairman, CEO and President of a deregulated retail natural gas marketer, Manager and CEO of a deregulated retail electric provider, Co-Founder, Chairman and CEO of a leading smart grid-enabled prepaid utility solutions and software development company and held various leadership roles spanning strategic planning, finance, business development, commercial operations and trading at AGL Resources (Atlanta Gas Light, Virginia Natural Gas, City Gas of Florida, Elizabethtown Gas, Chattanooga Gas, Pivotal and Sequent Energy Management), Mirant Corporation and Southern Company (Southern Nuclear and Southern Company Services). Mr. de Agüero previously led the team that designed and built the first prepaid retail natural gas billing platform in North America, the first smart-metered prepaid electric billing platform, as well as other software based
solutions in the utility vertical. He has been involved in several power plant development projects and corporate acquisitions with negotiated valuations totaling over $10 Billion in both the natural gas and electric industries.
Mr. de Agüero started his career with Southern Company in 1993, working in nuclear plant design engineering and safety as a nuclear and mechanical engineer, as well as a health physicist. He earned a Bachelor in Nuclear Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology and a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He speaks Spanish fluently, has a history of political and community involvement, and invests most of his personal time with his wife, four children and church family in Roswell, Georgia.
Rick Tapia / La Bodega Internacional, LLC
J.R. Revelry is an All-American craft bourbon in the finest tradition, produced and bottled in small batches in Nashville, Tennessee. Rick created this smooth bourbon with the goal to appeal to all audiences, but especially to Latinos.
Rick started his career in the Beverage Alcohol industry with Joseph E. Seagram and Sons in 1997, and over the last 17 years he has worked across multiple disciplines and brands within the spirits industry, including accounting, finance, sales and marketing. He earned a Bachelor in Business Administration from Boston University. He speaks Spanish fluently and invests most of his personal time with his wife and daughter in Sandy Springs, Georgia.
Rick is also an active member of the Atlanta community and of the local Hispanic and Latin American Chambers of Commerce. As part of J.R. Revelry’s launch, Rick plans to give back to the community by donating $1 for every 9 liter case sold of J.R. Revelry to the Diversity Council Scholarship Program, to help fellow entrepreneurs realize their business goals.