EARTH University graduate Luis Gómez Chavarría (’02, Costa Rica) is an example of the life-long transformative impact of leadership education.
Since childhood, Luis has felt a special attachment to agricultural production. His fondest early memories involve visiting his grandfather’s farm, riding a horse to where the cows were grazing, and lunching in the middle of the coffee fields. Perhaps these pastoral experiences are how he formed a deep interest in agriculture and came to fashion a career from it.
In 1998, Luis was able to better envision the pathway to his intended future. While he was pursuing a technical certificate within a cattle-ranching area of Costa Rica, EARTH personnel visited the trade school to talk about the University’s academic model. Luis was drawn to the emphasis on learning by doing. A few months later, he found out he had been accepted to EARTH and awarded a full scholarship. The news was overwhelming.
EARTH’s on-campus, student-centered and entrepreneurial education excited Luis. “On Wednesdays, we spent our time working with local farmers, getting to know the week-to-week realities of such small producers, and applying the knowledge we had learned in the academic farms to those realities.”
During his time at the University, Luis cultivated his passion for livestock production and entrepreneurship. For his graduation project, he conducted a feasibility study on beef-cattle production.
After graduating, Luis worked for EARTH’s Department of Marketing and Commercialization, where he was primarily focused on new products. At the same time, he started a personal business of organic pork production, which utilized the addition of necessary nutrients to the animals’ diet. Having helped to further his professional development in agribusiness, that experience compelled him to want to continue learning and growing in the discipline.
His desire to keep studying took him to the American University of Beirut, where he completed a post-graduate internship in dairy production and specialized in agricultural activities, livestock and waste management.
Upon returning from Lebanon, Luis joined ENLASA, a business started by a fellow EARTH alum. There, Luis was tasked with creating a demand for the company’s natural fertilizer products in Costa Rica through marketing and technical development.
In this job in particular, Luis recognized how having studied in a multicultural environment fortified his abilities as a marketer.
“Having learned the challenges of other countries and how to correctly apply their idioms has helped me to negotiate and sell better. I traveled to different countries and supported myself with the help of other graduates. It’s helped me get along with others and excel in business. I came to understand that, as people, we all value when others understand our surroundings and our realities.”
Today, Luis manages special projects at CIGAC (International Genetics Center of Central America), a business dedicated to improving the genetics of dairy and beef cattle across the world – to lower production costs and grow competitiveness within the livestock market.
Luis’s previous professional experiences have shaped his work model. He wishes to establish relationships that create synergy for his business as well as contribute to the development of the sector.
Strategic partnerships with graduate-run businesses
Luis believes in the power of win-win relationships. Alongside Professor Carlos Alfredo Orozco, he drove the signing of a cooperation agreement between CIGAC and EARTH.
“I think private business must be open to the academic world and not isolated from it,” Luis said. “We have a duty to build inclusion and be on the side of independent producers.”
The University remains committed to boosting the quality and competitiveness of agricultural products through education, research and innovation. As such, this partnership with CIGAC contributes to EARTH’s institutional values of academic excellence and the search for knowledge.
“We are hopeful and optimistic about what we can accomplish together. The students will get to take advantage of many opportunities. Perhaps down the line, we will be able to find more avenues for joint research and product development, with the intention of supporting farmers and developing new business models,” said Arturo Condo, president of EARTH University, about the new partnership.
Luis looks confidently toward the future and strives for the continued growth of the business he represents, committed to forever supporting his university and gaining a stronger foothold in international markets.