Bryant University was pleased to host Guillermo Quijano from Panama City, Panama this past Tuesday, February 9, 2016. Mr. Quijano serves as the Vice President and member of the board of directors of UNESA. It is a holding company with subsidiaries in several industries, including construction and housing, equipment rental and sales, shopping centers, restaurant franchises, and industrial zones. Additionally, Mr. Quijano serves as President and Founder of Clandestine Brewery, Director of the Bank of Panama and Director of Panamanian Products.
Mr. Quijano was accompanied by his wife Mariela, daughter Melisa, son Guillermo, a marketing student in the College of Business, and a family friend Robert Chiari. Over 200 students, faculty, and staff gathered in the Bello Grand Hall to hear Mr. Quijano’s presentation reviewing the critical role of Panama in the global economy.
Mr. Quijano’s presentation gave a history of Panama and U.S.-Panama relations. Mr. Quijano painted a picture of the history, infrastructure, and politics of the country from early 1876 to present day. Of course, Panama’s strategic location and canal makes the country a hub for international logistics. Mr. Quijano showed pictures and videos of the current Panama Canal and the Panama Canal expansion that’s expected to double the capacity by creating a new lane of traffic for even larger ships to pass through carrying more cargo. Mr. Quijano shared that the expansion project is only 50% financed, 95% ready and in the testing stages, and will save approximately 60% of the water that’s flushed out to sea in the current Panama Canal and 160 million tons of CO2 emissions per year. Mr. Quijano said “I want to be there when it opens; I have to be there when it opens” detailing his excitement for this new expansion and what it will mean for global trade and business in Panama.
In addition to his presentation, Mr. Quijano joined one of my classes, “Financing the Global Supply Chain”, earlier that day. Our professor sent him the readings prior to class and Mr. Quijano was very impressed with the assigned articles. Mr. Quijano shared with our class his background in finance and gave a few examples of financial decisions he’s had to make in his current/previous roles. He left us with three take-aways that class. First, cash is king. Second, if you want to make money, you must invest. Savings accounts are for savings, not for making money. Lastly, keep your friends until your values are different.
It was a pleasure meeting Mr. Quijano, his family, and friends. It was easy to feel his energy and excitement to be on the Bryant campus and to share his experiences with us. Not only did he present on campus this past week, he’s also hosted some of the Global Supply Chain Management MBA students at his home when they’ve traveled to Panama as part of their global emersion experience. Though he lives far from Smithfield, RI, it is clear to everyone that Mr. Quijano is a Bulldog with the Bulldog spirit.
Emily M. Socha