CUAA Special Election 2015 for Alumni Trustees

Richard Velazquez

AR15 Richard VelazquezMechanical Engineering 1994
New York, New York

Current Position, Organization:
Sr. Director – Emerging Technologies, Global R&D – PepsiCo, Inc.

Relevant Skills:

Leadership (management of employees & leading large, cross-functional teams), non-profit governance (20+ years of experience leading and serving on non-profit boards), financial management (manage multi-million dollar budgets), team-building, conflict resolution, fund raising, program and project

Professional Qualifications:

Fortune 50 Executive with 20+ years of experience driving significant revenue and product development advancements for large corporations (Honda, Porsche, Ford, P&G, Microsoft, and PepsiCo) in a broad array of industries (automotive, consumer packaged goods, food & beverage, technology, and video game). Equivalent experience with non-profit corporate governance through the founding and leadership of 501(c)(3) chapters of various organizations, including the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) and the National Society of Hispanic MBAs (NSHMBA). Currently serving on NSHMBA Corporate Advisory Board, and the Boards of the NY Havana Film Festival and Bronx Community College Fund. Extensive experience partnering with academia for global open innovation advancements and as a guest lecturer at several academic institutions.

Personal Statement:

I would not be where I am today were it not for the generous scholarship from the Cooper Union two decades ago, allowing me to move past the limitations of being born and raised in a crime-infested, low-income neighborhood in Brooklyn to join the Executive ranks of one of the world’s largest companies. It was not just that the education from Cooper was free, but also the rigor of the instruction that set me on path that allowed me to compete effectively for career advancement opportunities against peers with significantly more advantaged upbringings. In order to ensure that the potential of the under-privileged does not go unrealized, I have dedicated a significant portion of my time throughout my career as a leader of organizations dedicated to these causes, and also as a mentor to those coming up the ranks. During my tenure at NSHMBA, I have directly raised over $400K for scholarships and program services offered by the organization. I moved back to New York four years ago and was dismayed at the decision to charge tuition (despite understanding the rationale), and would like to dedicate my time to ensuring that Peter Cooper’s original vision can be brought back for the benefit of others.

Additional Information:

  • Prime example of the power and necessity of Peter Cooper’s legacy – born in the projects in Brooklyn in a large, low-income family with no money for education transformed by Cooper Union’s scholarship and training into a Fortune 50 Executive.
  • Embraces the responsibility to empower others to realize their full potential through volunteerism, including non-profit leadership for organizations serving underprivileged populations, mentorship, and partnering with academia.
  • Current supporter of Cooper Union through internships for students (leading to several full-time offers from PepsiCo) & the upcoming sponsorship of the Starr research foundation at Cooper.

Additional Biographical Material:  Link