Lucky Me

There are a lot of wonderful things about working on this magazine. Perhaps the best part is the chance to meet and talk to cool people. Lucky me.

This month’s executive interview is with Jay Mealing. Jay is a director with Walmart. Please take the time to read about him. He is a cool guy who started at Walmart as an hourly associate and has risen to his present critical position. Homegrown does good! It can happen.

Years ago I met Tom Fricke. He was the vice president of asset protection at The Home Depot. We interviewed him for the May–June 2007 print edition. Tom has gone on to be a CEO with a couple of companies and presently is the CEO of Bar Louie Restaurants. Tom is not only cool but also a smart executive. He hired Kenther Ramos as his director of asset protection. I met Kenther at the RILA conference in May. I bet you never heard of him. Well, let me introduce him to the industry.

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Kenther Ramos

Kenther was sixteen years old and a university freshman when he attracted the attention of the Venezuelan government. He had graduated early from high school and was planning to study law in Caracas when he helped organize student protests against the government of then president Hugo Chavez. Chavez and his supporters were not pleased with Kenther’s “organizing skills,” so one day Kenther’s car was intercepted, and four men with machine guns jumped out, grabbed Kenther, blindfolded him, and stuffed him in the back of another vehicle and drove off. He was later taken to a place that appeared to be prison but was actually the basement of the Venezuelan government’s intelligence agency. There he was held hostage for over twenty hours until some friends learned of his abduction and arranged for his release. Shortly afterward, he boarded a plane for Miami and was granted political asylum in the United States. That was in 2004. Today, Kenther is a US citizen, a Valencia College graduate, and the first graduate of Rollins College Hamilton Holt School to be named a Fulbright Scholar.

“We’re living in a very divided world. We need people who are willing to bring others together. We need problem solvers, not people who can only point out problems.” – Kenther Ramos

In the past fifteen years and since landing at the Miami airport with $40 in his pocket, he has accomplished all of that educational success. Plus, he started work at Dunkin’ Donuts when he first arrived in the US and rose from cook to shift leader to manager to regional loss prevention manager.

Today, Kenther is the national director of asset protection at Bar Louie Restaurant Operations overseeing 118 bars across twenty-seven states. Kenther continues to fight for the rights of others. “We’re living in a very divided world,” he said. “We need people who are willing to bring others together. We need problem solvers, not people who can only point out problems.” Kenther, you are a really cool guy!

Lucky me to be able to observe and know some of the “cool people” in this industry.

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