We have a great team here at Presto Geosystems, so we thought it would be fun to share a bit more about each member through a new blog series. For our inaugural Meet the Presto Geosystems Team blog post, we are thrilled to introduce José Pablo George—Presto Geosystem’s International Business Manager (BDM).
Let’s get to know JP…
How long have you been with Presto Geosystems?
Time slides and blurs in a funny way. It seems so natural for me to be doing what I do with GEO, as if I’ve always been here and can draw deeply on decades of experiences, yet at the same time I still have the positive outlook and optimism of a freshly minted graduate. The year-over-year calendar and the bits of chrome in my hair suggest a compromise: this year marks my eighth year with GEO; call me a well-seasoned new-ish guy.
Can you tell us a bit about your background?
My specialty is in establishing, culturing, and maintaining business relationships, especially with our international clients. My former life and experiences pre-Presto support this well.
I was a Spanish teacher (secondary schools and technical colleges) for 17 years, and have the linguistic skills and cross-cultural skills thanks to that, as well as the “educating adults” part needed for onboarding new network agents for us. Presto initially hired me as a LATAM BDM, and I gradually took over most of the international world from there!
I´ve developed my chops with quality assurance and network training through the State of WI DOT, technical colleges, and Harley-Davidson corporate in their Quality Assurance programs and motorcycle training programs. I´ve studied Verbal Judo, am a legit Black Belt in Tae Kwon Do, and have negotiated labor-management bargaining contracts from both sides of the table. I don´t shy away from tough conversations, and although I´m usually the “quiet one,” my words have strength and I usually deliver them in a way to make them count.
Additional life experiences of growing up with my artist grandfather, working the family dairy farm, building houses from blueprints, solo motorcycle trips across the country, living and working abroad, and working the world´s most famous pottery kilns have all expanded my perspective, and make for interesting stories to share (another time).
What attracted you to the world of geosynthetics?
Initially it was softball and Spanish that attracted me to the world of geosynthetics. The former Geosystems Director and I played on a rec league softball team, and he kept trying to hire me for my Spanish skills. When two other Fortune 500 companies offered me positions (also due to my Spanish skills), I figured a career change merited a closer look. I decided to leave teaching for the corporate world, and am glad to have made the leap. Since starting with Presto, I have obtained my CPESC certification and have learned so much more about geosynthetics and engineered soil stabilization solutions. I´m even published and on patents now!
What does your job entail? Can you take us through a day in the life as an International Man of Myst…umm, I mean International Business Manager?
The day of an International Manager is always a mystery… yet also contains some comfortable stability. Every single day I am talking with contacts from around the globe. My mobile number is my WhatsApp, Viber, Signal, Teams, text, and Messenger number… and I use each of them to reach our agents and clients in the way that is most natural to them. Every day I get to use my Spanish language skills, and I have also learned a bit of Dutch, Setswana, Japanese, Portuguese, French, and German. Most days I am offering design and sales support, sourcing appropriate supporting resources for projects, and doing my part to keep our solutions present in the minds of engineers and clients. Most weeks I am presenting the details of one of our solution sets for a particular application, such as Infrastructure Resilience for Roads and Bridges, Channel Armoring, or Mine Slope Reclamation… sometimes in English, sometimes in Spanish. Sometimes it means presentations… of whitepapers… to government entities… to International Erosion Control or Geosynthetics groups, and the like. Once upon a time, my job meant lots of travel to meet with clients IRL, not just virtually. I look forward to the travel again someday. Really, my job entails building relationships with the right connections. Sometimes I have to seek them out, sometimes connections find us. Either way, I must develop them into something.
What do you like most about your job and/or what do you like most about this industry?
What I like most about my job is the connection to people and places around the globe. The industry allows me to offer lasting, valuable solutions to real problems. We solve the most challenging soil stabilization problems, and give the world a strong foundation to build on. There is a bit of superhero stuff in that! What´s not to like?
Can you tell us a little about what it’s like working with international business partners?
Ha! Never before have I understood time zone differences and ultra-long project gestation times so well. I organize my day to speak with different parts of the world at different times… Europe and the UK at the start of my day, LATAM and SADC throughout the day, Asia Pacific and MENA towards the end of the day… it is a lovely variety! Not always so clean cut, but that generalizes it some. I must exercise great patience… as anything international involves extra touches and tending. With all of our international projects and partners, it comes back to building and keeping strong relationships, as well as ease of use, reliability, and high performance. Our partners know we will do what it takes, and with integrity, to help them find success.
What do you enjoy doing when you aren’t out helping solve the world’s soil-stabilization and erosion challenges?
I love spending time in the forest, and am fortunate to live in a region that allows me to experience the changing seasons with unhindered access to the woods. My family and I love to camp, hunt, fish, ski, bike, hike, and enjoy time together outdoors. I hate ticks and mosquitoes, and most other things that try to bite me without my permission… but generally speaking will spend as much time as possible in the woods.
What is your favorite place in the world to visit?
There are so very many places I have yet to see!!! How can I pick just one?!
Tops on my list of having been: Cartagena, Colombia; Granada, Nicaragua; La Rioja, Spain; the Frankfurt area of Germany; and the Parque Manuel Antonio in Costa Rica.
Soon-to-be favorites include Paris and the wine country of France, and the Amsterdam area of the Netherlands.
An eventual favorite trip will be a summer camping trip to the Denali area of Alaska… and to Banff, Alberta, Canada. Maybe back to the Patagonia area of Argentina, this time to fish and not just for work… and to other parts of Japan beyond the Tokyo area, including Sapporo, Osaka, and Fukuoka. So many adventures yet to be had!
If you could meet anyone, living or dead, who would you meet?
This is a tough one. At this juncture in time, if I had to pick just one person I´d like to meet, I would ask Keanu Reeves to accompany me for a long walk and talk at a dog park with our pets. He is also an International Man of Mystery, a “cool breeze over the mountains” that is aware of his celebrity status yet is generous and careful with his presence. I admire the way he sticks to his principles and manages to stay cool and look at the bright side, with kindness, humility, and gratitude. He models being a good human in a way the world needs right now. If Keanu turned me down, I would ask Steve Martin to share his mad banjo skills and a few jokes with my son, or Shakira to sing with my daughter.
What would you name the autobiography of your life?
The Next Adventure Awaits…