Richard Velazquez

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Richard Velazquez
Born Brooklyn, New York City, US
Education MBA, Mechanical Engineering
Alma mater The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, Albert Nerken School of Engineering; The University of California, Berkeley, Walter E. Haas School of Business
Occupation Executive
Employer PepsiCo
Title Sr. Global Director - Emerging Tech and Innovations

Richard Velazquez is a nationally recognized leader in the Hispanic community and in business. Velazquez is currently an Executive at PepsiCo. Prior to his current role at PepsiCo, Velazquez was an automotive designer, President of the National Society of Hispanic MBAs (NSHMBA) Seattle Chapter,[1] and Sr. Global Product Planner / Product Manager for Xbox with the Interactive Entertainment Business at Microsoft. He was recognized in October 2000 as the 1st Puerto Rican automotive designer for Porsche in Germany.[2]


Velazquez graduated from Edward R. Murrow High School in Brooklyn, New York, a high school designated as a school of excellence by the United States Department of Education.[3] He graduated from high school at an accelerated pace, skipping his Junior year and completing the entire high school curriculum in only 3 years. Velazquez received a Bachelor of Engineering in Mechanical Engineering in 1994 from the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, a prestigious specialty school that grants each successful applicant a full-tuition scholarship.[4] Velazquez then received a Master’s of Business Administration from the University of California, Berkeley, Haas School of Business in 2003 on a full-fellowship through the Consortium for Graduate Study in Management (CGSM).[5]


Velazquez began his career as an automotive designer for Honda R&D Americas, Inc. followed by Porsche AG in Stuttgart, Germany.[6] After receiving his MBA, he switched industries and careers, focusing on marketing and Product Planning beginning with Procter & Gamble in Puerto Rico, followed by Microsoft and PepsiCo.

Automotive design[edit]

Velazquez's automotive design background began while still studying at Cooper Union. He designed utility truck bodies for the Brooklyn Union Gas fleet and competed in the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) Mini-Baja East competition. For the Mini-Baja, he designed and built an all-terrain, amphibious vehicle as part of the competition. After Cooper Union, he began work as a Body Design Engineer for Honda R&D Americas, Inc. in 1995 located in Raymond, Ohio. He worked on the designs of the 1997 Acura CL (new model introduction), 1998 Honda Accord Coupe (complete redesign), 2001 Acura CL (complete redesign) and the 2001 Acura MDX (new model introduction).[7]

Velazquez left Honda in 1999 to work for Porsche AG at a newly designed facility in Weissach, Germany to work on Porsche’s first SUV, the 2002 Porsche Cayenne (new model introduction). Velazquez went on to work on the designs of the 2003 Porsche 911 (major model change) and the 2004 Porsche Boxster (minor model redesign).

In 2001, Velazquez left automotive design to pursue an MBA at the University of California, Berkeley, Haas School of Business. During the program, he continued to work in the automotive industry, this time as a consultant for Ford de Mexico in the International Business Development (IBD) program evaluating the strategy for Ford’s Supplier Park in Hermosillo, Mexico.[7]

Marketing and planning[edit]

After Berkeley, Velazquez switched to a marketing role with the Procter and Gamble Commercial Company in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico in 2004.[8] As an Assistant Brand Manager, he focused on marketing consumer packaged goods to the U.S. Hispanic and Puerto Rican markets. He was later recruited by Microsoft’s Corporate Marketing Group and relocated to Redmond, Washington. In the Corporate Marketing Group, he worked as a Senior Market Research Manager. He transferred to the Product Planning group at Xbox in July, 2006. He served as guest lecturer at the University of Washington in the areas of Marketing and New Product Development and Design. In 2011, he relocated to New York City for an executive position at PepsiCo.

Community and professional organizations[edit]

Velazquez's involvement in professional and community organizations began at the Cooper Union, as one of the founders and the Treasurer for the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) Cooper Union Student Chapter.

While at Honda, he served as the Vice Chair for Region VI of the SHPE National Student Affairs Committee, Vice Chairman for Columbus of the Society of Automotive Engineers Dayton Section, and Chairman of SAE Midwest Mini-Baja Competition. He also founded the Columbus Chapter of the SHPE and served as President until leaving for Germany.

At Berkeley, he founded the Hispanic MBA Student Association. In Puerto Rico, he was elected President of the local chapter of the National Society of Hispanic MBAs. After arriving at Microsoft, he co-founded the Seattle Chapter of the National Society of Hispanic MBAs. He served as Executive Vice President of NSHMBA Seattle Chapter in 2005-2006 and has served as President of the Chapter from 2008 until his relocation to New York in 2011.[5]

Velazquez was inducted into the Latino Leaders Magazine Club Leaders of the Future for New York in 2012. He was also inducted into the Diversity MBA Magazine Top 100 Under 50 Executive and Emerging Leaders in 2011. Velazquez was recognized as a Rising Star for the NSHMBA national organization in 2009 and received both a Brillante award and Distinguished Lifetime Leader award from the same organization.[6][8] Also in 2009, Velazquez was selected as a Puget Sound Business Journal 40 under 40 Honoree. "Puget Sound Business Journal's 40 Under 40 program is the region's premier award program that spotlights the top business leaders under the age of 40 who excel in their industry and show dynamic leadership."[9] Velazquez was a regular contributor to the business and economy section of tú Decides Newspaper, a bi-lingual English/Spanish newspaper in Washington state.[10][11] He was also featured in the February/March 2010 issue of Latino Leaders magazine.[12]

Career timeline[edit]

1990 - 1994 The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, B.E. Mechanical Engineering
1994 - 1995 The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, M.E. Mechanical Engineering
1995 - 1999 Honda R&D Americas, Inc. – Body Design Engineer
1995–1999 SHPE Region VI Vice Chair – National Student Affairs Committee (NSAC)
1996–1997 Society of Automotive Engineers Midwest Mini-Baja Chairman
1997 - 1999 President and Founder, Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) Columbus Chapter
1997–1999 Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) Dayton Section - Vice Chairman Columbus
1999 - 2001 Porsche AG, Weissach, Germany – Automotive Design Engineer
2001–2003 The University of California, Berkeley, Haas School of Business, MBA
2001–2003 Founder and President, Hispanic MBA Student Association, UC Berkeley, Haas
2004 The Procter & Gamble Commercial Company, Guaynabo, Puerto Rico – Assistant Brand Manager
2004 - 2006 Microsoft (Corporate Marketing Group) – Senior Market Research Manager
2005 Co-founder, National Society of Hispanic MBAs Seattle Chapter
2006 – 2011 Microsoft, Interactive Entertainment Business, Sr. Product Planning Manager / Sr. Global Product Manager, Xbox
2009 - 2011 University of Washington Bothell Business Advisory Council Member
2008 – 2011 President, NSHMBA Seattle Chapter
2011–present PepsiCo, R&D Division, Sr. Global Director of Strategic Innovations, Sr. Global Director - Emerging Tech and Innovations


See also[edit]