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Climbing the Corporate Ladder Featured

’21 wraps up with exec. appointments across industries in Puerto Rico

As Puerto Rico wraps up 2021, industries across the board announced new executive appointments to lead their operations.

Gannett Ramos

MCS appoints senior VP
Medical Card System Inc. announced the appointment of Gannett Ramos as senior vice president of IT Innovation and Strategy.  

Ramos’ professional career covers more than 30 years of experience in information systems, and she has been a part of the MCS team since 2020.

“Over the past year, Ramos’ leadership has been instrumental in promoting innovation for all MCS’s subsidiaries by incorporating the latest information systems and technology into the company’s operational processes. Thanks to this, we have continued to set the standards for operational and service quality in Puerto Rico’s healthcare segment,” said MCS CEO Jim O’Drobinak.

O’Drobinak said this appointment will contribute to strengthening the technological infrastructure necessary to drive the innovation strategies that have consolidated MCS’s leadership in the industry.

“I’m confident that Gannett’s vast experience, talent and strategic focus will help MCS continue to be innovative in its healthcare service delivery modes,” he said.

Prior to joining MCS, Ramos held several senior leadership positions in the telecommunications industry throughout her career, including assistant vice president of program and project management at DirectTV/AT&T, as well as director of technology and information development at Centennial/AT&T, and acting director of operations at Axesa.

Ramos has a bachelor’s degree in Information Systems Management, and a master’s degree in General Administration, both from Ana G. Méndez University System in Gurabo.

Maria Teresa Rouco

BluHost appoints managers at Hyatt Place, Hyatt house San Juan
The top management positions of the Hyatt Place and Hyatt house San Juan hotels will now be held by three Puerto Rican professional women, José M. “Peco” Suárez, president of BluHost, the company that manages the hotels, announced.

Dariana Mercado

María Teresa Rouco will be the dual general manager for Hyatt Place Bayamón and Hyatt Place Manatí, while Dariana Mercado will be the general manager of Hyatt Place San Juan and Nívea Rivera the general manager of Hyatt house San Juan.

Rouco has more than 20 years of experience in all facets of hospitality, an industry in which she has grown since 2000. She has received multiple awards, such as the “Hospitality Manager of the Year” in 2009 when she worked as executive maintenance manager at El Dorado Beach Resort & Club, where she also won the “Manager of the Year” award in 2013, and the “Leadership/Manager of the Year” award in 2015 when she was serving as an assistant general manager.

Before taking her current position, Rouco managed the Hyatt Place in Manatí since 2016, a property in which she remains as manager and now adds the Hyatt Place Bayamón as part of her responsibilities.

Nivea Millie Rivera

Meanwhile, Mercado arrives to the management post at Hyatt Place San Juan with a career forged mainly by the Hyatt brand, where she began work in 2014 as a sales assistant and hostess at the Hyatt Place Manatí.

In 2015, she became the sales coordinator for the Hyatt house San Juan and, after four months, she was named assistant general manager and won the “Manager of the Year” award in 2018.

Finally, Rivera is an experienced hotel operations manager with more than 20 years of professional experience that also includes human resources management.

Rivera worked at the Hyatt Regency Cerromar and Hyatt Dorado Beach hotels from 1991 to 2006 in several facets of hospitality such as: assistant general manager, training manager and assistant reservation manager, among other positions. Among her multiple work experiences, he was also a human resources manager of the Wyndham Río Mar Beach Resort & Spa between 2006 and 2011 and assistant general manager at the Wyndham Garden at Palmas del Mar.

In 2014 she returned to the Hyatt family as assistant general manager of Hyatt House San Juan, where she later held the general management and from where she moved to the Hyatt Place Bayamón in the same position.

Rafael Pagán

Burns & McDonnel names director of project development
Engineering and construction firm Burns & McDonnell is expanding its presence in Puerto Rico with the addition of Rafael Pagán, director of project development, to its local team. His addition will boost the firm’s support for renewable power generation and interconnection on the island, the firm stated.

A native of Puerto Rico, Pagán brings an entrepreneurial history of developing organizations from the ground up to provide essential consulting services to clients with critical infrastructure needs. He has nearly 15 years of experience leading design projects, studies, inspections, and documentation, providing construction support and serving as an owner’s engineer on a wide variety of electrical infrastructure projects.

“Puerto Rico, like so much of the world, is going through an energy transformation,” said Gabriel Hernández, vice president of business line operations in the Transmission & Distribution Group at Burns & McDonnell.

“We look forward to providing foundational help as the island transitions to renewable power over the next decade, and we’re excited to have an individual as talented as Rafael providing local support,” he said.

Pagán’s engineering experience in the high-voltage electrical infrastructure industry gives him insights into grid modernization and interconnection possibilities. His knowledge will provide a strong interface between local needs and the deep experience of multidisciplinary Burns & McDonnell power professionals.

“I’m excited to return home and apply my project management and engineering experience to coordination with key stakeholders and the broader Puerto Rican community,” Pagán says. “I look forward to being part of this transformation, developing our future workforce and collaborating with local professionals as we build resilient, sustainable electrical infrastructure to power homes and businesses alike.”

Burns & McDonnell is supporting a variety of projects in Puerto Rico, including providing engineering and planning services for renewable energy developers.

José Vidal (second from right).

CytoImmune appoints CEO
CytoImmune Therapeutics announced the appointment of José Eduardo Vidal, Ph.D. as its Chief Operating Officer. CytoImmune is a clinical-stage cell immunotherapy company developing novel natural killer (NK) cell therapies to fight cancer.

Vidal has been instrumental in building the CytoImmune’s clinical stage manufacturing capacities in its facility in Toa Baja in the past 14 months.

CytoImmune Therapeutics has invested $28 million in creating customized facilities in Puerto Rico and is hiring local highly skilled professionals to work on these bioscience innovations. CytoImmune is one of three cell therapy companies that have relocated to Puerto Rico, along with Cytovia and Biosimilar Solutions.

More than 2,500 clinical trials are being run in Puerto Rico in advanced regenerative therapy and nearly 1,000 of those are company-sponsored products. Puerto Rico’s bioscience sector is home to more than a 100 US Food and Drug Administration-approved plants that generate $50 billion in production revenue annually.

“I feel incredibly fortunate to return home to join the team at CytoImmune as we begin clinical studies in the first cell therapy manufacturing plant in Puerto Rico,” said Vidal. “I also welcome an opportunity and contribute to the island’s clinical cell therapy footprint.”

Vidal joins CytoImmune from Atara Bio, where he led Chemistry, Manufacturing, and Controls (CMC) and was instrumental in securing the FDA approval of the first allogeneic T-cell therapy. Prior to Atara, Vidal was vice president of Global Product Process Development and VP of Drug Substance Operations at Amgen. He supervised over a thousand employees and oversaw a budget of half a billion dollars while managing its worldwide product development network.

“Vidal has driven the build of our manufacturing capabilities in record time in Puerto Rico. Given his vast experience with cell therapies and his leadership in the field, we expect to rely heavily on his expertise in our mission to provide novel cellular medicines for patients battling metastatic solid tumors and refractory hematologic malignancies,” said CytoImmune President, Will Rosellini.

Agnes Crespo

IBTS names director of Puerto Rico division
The Institute for Technology and Safety (IBTS) announced the appointment of Agnes Crespo-Quintana as the new director for its Puerto Rico Division, based in San Juan. The appointment is effective this month.

Crespo-Quintana’s rich experience in developing public policy, furthering the island’s economic development and disaster recovery efforts, and engaging stakeholders across sectors are a perfect fit for the nonprofit organization, which serves as a trusted advisor and partner to local, state, and federal governments nationally.

She has more than 18 years of experience developing public policy, furthering Puerto Rico’s economic development and disaster recovery efforts, and engaging stakeholders across the Island’s public, private, and nonprofit sectors.

In her new role, she is responsible for leading IBTS’ many initiatives that focus on ensuring a resilient future for Puerto Rico, including overseeing the company’s work as the Project Management Office for both FEMA and Community Development Block Grant (CDBG-DR) funded programs, as well as community planning, building code and safety expertise, workforce development, and resilience assessment services.

As Director, Ms. Crespo-Quintana leverages her expertise as a liaison to government agencies and community organizations that are advancing the Island’s reconstruction and recovery; with federal funding programs; and with creating public policies directed toward social economic development.

Prior to joining IBTS, Crespo-Quintana worked with both the Puerto Rico Department of Housing (PRDOH) and the Department of Economic Development and Commerce (DDEC, in Spanish), and as the lead of the Economic Development Unit for the Puerto Rico Community Foundation.

She is an experienced attorney and entrepreneurial coach who has focused on guiding government agencies, businesses, and nonprofits in resilience, corporate social responsibility, and sustainable development approaches, as well as legal support, grant writing, and business development services.

IBTS is a nonprofit organization dedicated to building resilient communities.

Author Details
Author Details
Business reporter with 27 years of experience writing for weekly and daily newspapers, as well as trade publications in Puerto Rico. My list of former employers includes Caribbean Business, The San Juan Star, and the Puerto Rico Daily Sun, among others. My areas of expertise include telecommunications, technology, retail, agriculture, tourism, banking and most other segments of Puerto Rico’s economy.
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