Where are you from?
I’m from Colombia, Latin America. I live in Australia, in Brisbane. I moved here six years ago.
What’s your background?
I grew up in Colombia, so I went there for high school. Then when I finished high school I went one year to the US. So I went to Chicago for a year to do one year in high school there.
Then I went back to Colombia for uni and studied mechanical engineering. then after I study that I started developing new devices for the agriculture industry there.
Then I started a Master of Science in Engineering. At the same time, I was working for the paper packing industry for five years. In 2013, I finished uni, quit my job and moved to Australia.
Describe your life right now
I describe my life as a very fulfilling life. I’m doing what I really want.
It is one of the hardest journeys go through, to try to develop what you have in your head and your heart — what you want to do. So I feel I’m doing that now even if not the best way or other things to make things happen, but I know what I’m doing. I’m building one brick by brick as they say. So yes, I’m very happy with that.
What’s important to you and your life?
Well for me, it’s very important to make an impact. By impact, I mean in a way that whatever you do has a social impact or environmental impact.
We only have a journey in this world for 90 years or a hundred or maybe less, so I try to do everything, try to transcend that so when I leave this world I can leave something that is valuable.
It can be something that can help people or something that can make an environmental impact.
So we are leaving something behind better than that you receive it. That’s my thinking how I should do things and the way I should live life.
I built one machine for the agricultural sector. So, that was to build sustainable houses with bamboo. So I think I was lucky that was early in the years when I finished uni that I start doing these kind of projects. That kinda opened my mind to “Oh I can keep building things, helping people, helping to create ideas that have an impact.”
So everything I’m trying to build has these components. They kind of are my values, my mission, ambition of how things should be built and why I’m doing what I’m doing now.
What specific experiences, people or events have shaped your view?
My family definitely laid the pillars. So what I’m doing now, they are the supporters, the ones that listen to my dreams. They try to help me to make things happen. So all my family is very supportive. For me being coached or mentored by them, even my brothers, my parents, so family, is something that has helped me to be what I am now.
I have a good relationship with them. We founded a business together. When you have family and you found a business there’s a lot of fights because they will have a different perspective. But we found a way to manage this, grow the family and grow the business and at the same time make an impact. We worked in this area of health care. So we were helping people in rural areas, doing that even though it takes a lot of challenges for the family.
Juan is the founder of Inovotech and is President of the Australian Latin American Young Professionals Network.