Partner and Board Member, Valle Del Tarso S.A. and Ticofrut S.A.
BSCE ’65, BSIE ’65
For successful management of TicoFrut, the third largest supplier of orange juice to the United States, creating jobs for thousands of people and improving the lives of their families
Purdue engineers have a worldwide reputation as problem solvers. Carlos Odio has enhanced the University’s global reputation with solutions that have improved thousands of lives in his home country of Costa Rica. Odio says problem-solving was among the most worthwhile of the skills he gained as a Purdue student, by “starting with a clear identification of the problem, followed by an analysis of the possible solutions and their impact in the overall picture.”
In the 1980s, Odio was keenly aware that coffee production had yielded economic, social and political stability to his home country. At the time, he asked himself what he could do for the sections of Costa Rica at lower altitudes where coffee would not grow. His problem-solving answer was citrus.
As reported by writer Mackenzie Greenwell in 2010 after Odio was named an Outstanding Industrial Engineer at Purdue, Odio “saw citrus as lowland coffee.” That led him and a partner to establish TicoFrut in San Jose, Costa Rica, in 1987.
The success of TicoFrut has meant significant economic progress for Costa Rican lowland farmers and their families. During its first season, TicoFrut processed 80,000 boxes of oranges, each weighing 90 pounds. Today, it processes 90,000 such boxes and 1,000 metric tons of pineapple per day.
TicoFrut, which Odio co-founded and ran as president until 2014, also built 11 computer centers that provided internet access in the areas surrounding its groves. The towns benefiting from the centers had received electrical power shortly before the computer centers were built. TicoFrut also collaborated with Nicaragua’s government and its citrus farmers to establish orange plantations. That project resulted in a 17,500-acre orange grove in Nicaragua.
Today, with Odio serving as a partner and board member, TicoFrut produces both frozen concentrated orange juice and pineapple juice as well as juices not from concentrate. It also produces at least 12 other extracts and byproducts of the two fruits.
After achieving great success that has benefited so many, Odio says the creativity of his engineering education prepared him best to compete and to lead in his professional life. He would advise today’s students not to be overly concerned about which engineering discipline to study.
“If you are having difficulty deciding which field of engineering is best for you, don’t worry,” he says. “Study any engineering field and you will get a multitude of choices and opportunities in life.”
It is much easier to learn to like what you can do than to do what you like.”
|2017-present||Partner and Board Member, Valle del Tarso S.A.|
|2014-present||Partner and Board Member, TicoFrut S.A.|
|1987-2014||Founder and President, TicoFrut S.A.|
|1973-1997||Co-founder and President, GUMACO Industria e Comercio Ltda.|
|1971-1988||Various titles ranging from Field Engineer to Head of Overseas Enterprises, Gulf Machinery Company|
|1968-1971||Engineer, Redd Laboratories, Incorporated|
|1966-1967||Operations Manager, Dehydrated Products of Costa Rica S.A.|
|1965-1966||Engineer and Head of the Industrial Engineering Department, Ministerio de Industria y Comercio|
|1965||BS Industrial Engineering, Purdue University|
|1965||BS Civil Engineering, Purdue University|