Goshen College appoints Jaime Alvarez to direct Family Business Program

GOSHEN, Ind. ­ Goshen College is pleased to announce the appointment of Jaime Alvarez as the new director of the Family Business Program, starting May 2004.

Alvarez graduated from Goshen College in 1984 with a degree in economics. He studied graduate-level economics at the University of Wisconsin and then completed his M.B.A. degree from Penn State University in 1988. Since February 2003, Alvarez has been president and general manager of Molinos de Puerto Rico, a division of Conagra Foods, in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Alvarez said, “In my current position, many of my customers are small family-owned bakery businesses. I relate to them well and offer consulting advice on running a business. Along the way I’ve learned many lessons in life and in business. I’ve seen many points of view and many philosophies of doing business. I’ve seen different economies, in different states of growth and/or recession. I’ve seen how businesses and people adjust and react to these changes. This opportunity at Goshen College fits with my values and long-term goals. I’m excited about joining the Family Business Program.”

Alvarez worked his way up through positions within Empresas Picu, his family’s business, from 1988 to 1996. He then joined Continental Grain, opening a grain trading office in Manila, Philippines. From 1998 to 2000, he was assistant general manager at Molinos in Puerto Rico, responsible for directing a grain merchandizing program, managing the logistics of grain import, the grain elevator and marine unloading terminal, overseeing family flour packing and the purchasing department. Between 2000 and 2003, Alvarez served as plant manager for Sherman and Blackwell Flour Mills in Sherman, Texas, and Blackwell, Okla.

Alvarez’ interest in family business goes back to his childhood. “My most fulfilling work experience occurred working for my father and with my siblings,” he said. “I grew up in a family agricultural business in Puerto Rico. As a child I worked in the poultry barns and saw my father grow and develop a business with sales of nearly $100 million annually. We went from a small family farm to a medium sized agribusiness. What I relish the most is the sense of community and bond with which we worked.”

Chair of the Business Department Tim Yoder said, “Since 1991, the Family Business Program has been a very important part of the programs offered by the Goshen College Business Department. We are very pleased to have a businessperson and GC graduate of Jim’s caliber coming to fill the director position. Jim’s personal family business background, management expertise and international business experience are a wonderful fit for this position and the institution.”

Len Geiser, founder of the Family Business Program, will continue as interim director until Alvarez begins.