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2018 College of Engineering Giving Report

Industrial Engineering alum and his wife support Purdue, IE and initiatives in Latin America

Section Elevating Student Experience

As a Salvadoran teenager, Carlos Moreno (BSIE ’94) witnessed the death and destruction from the Latin American country’s prolonged civil war, which lasted from 1979 to 1992. After completing his bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering, there was only one place he saw himself building a career: his home country. He wanted to help rebuild El Salvador.

“The Chapultepec Peace Accords were signed in 1992, formally ending the conflict, and that really motivated me to return to El Salvador and use what I had learned at Purdue and the connections I made there to help rebuild the country. And the way I was able to do it was by finding a great company like Kimberly-Clark,” says Moreno, who was hired by the company after an internship there his junior year.

Moreno has been giving back — to El Salvador, to Kimberly-Clark, to Purdue — ever since.

Moreno has supported Purdue’s School of Industrial Engineering scholarship fund and contributed to the Colombia-Purdue Strategic Initiative. Most recently, Moreno and his wife, Gabriela Montenegro, established the Carlos E. Moreno and Gabriela Montenegro Scholarship Endowment in Industrial Engineering.

The couple’s decision stemmed from Moreno’s years of interaction with IE professor Shimon Nof and with Abhijit Deshmukh, the James J. Solberg Head and Professor of Industrial Engineering, as well as conversations with Carolyn Percifield, former director of strategic planning for the College of Engineering.

“We were talking about Purdue’s strategic vision with Carolyn on one of her trips to Central America, and that really connected with my wife and me. We thought, ‘This is very important for the underrepresented minorities,’ so we decided it would be a great way to give back to Purdue,” Moreno says. “We knew what Purdue was doing in Colombia with engineering, in Brazil with agriculture and what’s being started in Peru in biology. Our dream is that one day, it can be done with El Salvador.”

Adds Montenegro: “The international higher education systems have enormous potential for global development. Purdue IE alumni and interns are a great example of how innovation and technology bring effective solutions to improve production, processes, logistics, and thereby improve sales, employment and incomes, and overall, people’s lives. We hope to see students who are underrepresented minorities bring knowledge, ideas and commitment back to their communities.”

Carlos met Gabriela, originally from Guatemala, at the Thunderbird School of Global Management, a graduate program affiliated with Arizona State University. Both earned their master’s in international business. Carlos was a Fulbright Scholar. It turned out Gabriela already knew many of his Purdue friends who were from Guatemala. “That really helped us connect,” Moreno says.

Networking, personally and professionally

Currently, Moreno is director of procurement for Kimberly-Clark’s Latin American operations and spends much of his time working with his teams located across Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Costa Rica and Peru. Throughout his career at Kimberly-Clark, he has pioneered optimization systems at local, regional and global levels, playing key roles in the company’s rapid global expansion and corporate citizenship in communities throughout El Salvador and other Latin American countries, including a tissue manufacturing footprint expansion for the facility located outside San Salvador that employs 600-plus people.

Drive, determination and dedication — the characteristics that contributed to Moreno’s success as a young international student at Purdue and as an executive at Kimberly-Clark — are propelling his commitment to developing the next generation of industrial engineers.

“With my industrial engineering degree from Purdue, I was able to help rebuild the country as well as establish a big tissue-manufacturing facility, the biggest one Kimberly-Clark has in Latin America — which brought much needed investment to Kimberly-Clark in El Salvador,” he says. “I am very grateful to my country and its people, greater Latin America and Purdue. When I look at all three together — and think about giving back and connecting the three, that excites me and keeps me motivated to innovate, build talent and find opportunities to contribute.”

Long ties to Purdue IE

While living more than 2,800 miles from West Lafayette, Moreno still responds to requests from IE and the College, and visits campus whenever his schedule permits. He loves attending the President’s Council dinner each fall, and especially enjoys engaging with prospective and current IE students. He was the first IE Virtual Speaker Series presenter, chatting with IE graduate students on campus from his office in El Salvador. Last fall, he served on the first-ever IE alumni panel, discussing the benefits of an IE degree with undecided engineering students. He also recently joined the College’s alumni board as IE’s international representative.

Purdue’s Latin American ambassador

Purdue IE alum Juan Diego Velasquez (BSIE ’93, MSIE ’03, PhD ’09), managing director of the Colombia Purdue Partnership, is impressed by Moreno’s years of commitment to his alma mater, describing him as a Latin American ambassador for the University and Purdue Engineering.

“For Carlos Moreno and others who have been part of the international student experience at Purdue, these opportunities allow our alumni to bring together two things they love — Purdue University and their home country — and to use it as a way to create that marriage between those two things,” says Velasquez, a native of Colombia. “I’m excited to see in his heart a desire to give back to Purdue and to partner with us in equipping the next generation of global leaders coming out of this fine university.”

To support the School of Industrial Engineering, contact Jerry Alberts, chief development officer, at 765-496-6192 or jlalberts@prf.org.
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