Alumni Trustee Recommendation – Supplemental Information for Richard Velazquez

Richard Velazquez is a Fortune 50 executive and a nationally recognized leader in the Hispanic community. He is a native of Brooklyn, New York and received his Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from The Cooper Union in New York City in 1994. He went on to obtain an MBA from the University of California at Berkeley in 2003 under full fellowship from the Consortium for Graduate Study in Management (CGSM).

Richard has more than 20 years of experience in the new product development process with roles ranging from product ideation through development, marketing, and commercialization. He currently serves as the Sr. Strategy Director for Emerging Technologies and Global Innovations at PepsiCo. In this role, he leverages new and emerging technologies to design and develop innovative marketing equipment solutions that create greater consumer engagement and business opportunities for both PepsiCo and its customers. As an executive leader for Open Innovation at PepsiCo, Richard has started several programs with strong ties to academia – namely a summer internship program and an annual design program. He has actively sought to engage the Cooper Union in these programs, resulting in several internship positions for Cooper Union students (and subsequently three full-time offers), and a minimum annual commitment of $20K to Cooper Union for R&D projects starting in Fall 2015.

Prior to PepsiCo, Richard spent 7 years at Microsoft in Seattle on the Xbox 360 team. At Xbox, he worked on Product Planning and Product Management for the entire global product portfolio for Xbox 360 hardware, including the Xbox console, accessories, and Kinect. During his tenure, he worked on 87 new product concepts, launching 64 of those products which generated over $15.9

He began his career as an automotive design engineer with Honda R&D in Ohio. At Honda, he worked on the body designs for the Honda Accord Coupe, Acura CL, and Acura MDX. Later, he joined Porsche AG in Germany to work on the design of Porsche’s first entry in the SUV category, the Porsche Cayenne. He later expanded to work on body design for the Boxster and Carrera. Richard was recognized and featured in ‘El Nuevo Dia’ as the first automotive designer of Puerto Rican descent in Porsche’s history.

Richard left the automotive industry and switched to the marketing field after receiving his MBA. He provided strategic consulting for Ford Motor Company in Mexico and began his post-MBA career with Procter & Gamble in Puerto Rico in Brand Management focused on the US Hispanic Market.

Richard has been involved in non-profit advocacy since his college years at Cooper Union and has extensive non-profit corporate governance experience. While at Microsoft, Velazquez co-founded the Seattle chapter of the National Society of Hispanic MBAs (NSHBMA). He served as President of this chapter for four years until his departure from Microsoft for PepsiCo. During his time as President, he grew the Executive Board and volunteer base from 3 individuals to over 30 dedicated professionals while also growing overall membership. He initiated what would become the largest diversity recruiting event at Microsoft’s headquarters by uniting other preeminent diversity groups in Seattle, including SHPE, ALPFA, Ascend, NAAAP, NBMBAA, and more. During his entire tenure with NSHMBA, Richard has directly raised over $400,000 for the organization’s programs, services, and scholarships.

Richard serves as a volunteer recruiter, mentor, and speaker at numerous general and diversity career events to help others achieve their career goals and reach their full potential. His work at Microsoft, leadership of NSHMBA, and volunteerism for helping others achieve their career goals led to several awards and distinctions.

Velazquez regularly serves as a guest speaker on diversity, business, and education, and was a contributing columnist for Tu Decides Newspaper. He has also served as a guest lecturer of Marketing and New Product Development at the University of Washington, Pace University, Columbia University, and the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art.

In his spare time, Richard enjoys Paragliding, motorcycle trips, foreign travel, Latin dancing, the outdoors, and spending time with his wife, Christine Chen, a yoga instructor, Emmy-award winning journalist, author, and communications consultant. He is also passionate about supporting the next generation through mentoring, volunteer recruiting, mock interviews, résumé reviews and lectures on careers and education.

List of Recent Awards for Velzquez

  • 2015 PepisCo Chairman’s Award – One of the highest honors at PepsiCo
  •  2014 & 2013 PepsiCo Platinum Awards for Leadership
  •  2012 Latino Leaders Magazine – NYC Club Leaders of the Future
  •  2011 Diversity MBA Magazine’s Top 100 under 50 Diverse Executive and Emerging Leaders
  •  2010 HACR (Hispanic Association of Corporate Responsibility) YHCA (Young Hispanic Corporate Achiever) Award
  •  2010 NSHMBA (National Society of Hispanic MBAs) Distinguished Leadership Award
  •  2009 NSHMBA Brillante Award for Excellence (highest honor bestowed by the organization)
  •  2009 Puget Sound Business Journal (PSBJ) 40 under 40 Award
  •  2009 NSHMBA Magazine Rising Star