By Lee Allen –
2018 Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Business Man of the Year
Manuel Ramos, president and COO of ASARCO, is a veteran of the metals and mining industry who began at the lead smelter in Chihuahua in 1974. He’s held a number of titles on his way up the ASARCO career ladder, and is adding one as the Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce’s Business Man of the Year for 2018.
When Grupo Mexico acquired ASARCO in 1999, Ramos was manager of the copper refinery in La Caridad, Sonora. He rose to VP of lead and specialty metals, then was elevated to VP of metallurgical plants. In 2009, he was named president and COO responsible for several mines, smelters and refineries.
Along the way he found time to obtain a bachelor’s degree plus two master’s degrees – one in business administration, the other in human resources. An active outdoorsman, hiker and cyclist, Ramos has ascended as high as 18,493 feet into the clouds and finished the 109-mile-distance of El Tour de Tucson in less than 5 hours.
Yet those accomplishments pale in light of the latest honor, which came as a surprise when a committee showed up with balloons and flowers. “I thought these people were coming back from a party somewhere until I discovered that the party was in my honor,” he said.
“I started 44 years ago and have worked my way all the way up the ladder – but it takes a team to be successful. If somebody tells you, ‘I did it by myself,’ that’s not true. You need to surround yourself with good people and let them get to work. Everyone in our company is a worker, we just have different responsibilities – but we’re all in the same boat to make things better through teamwork.”
Ramos helped lead ASARCO from bankruptcy and into profitability, increasing operational productivity and maximizing property potential – all while emphasizing safety and environmental compliance efforts. “Do it right. Do it safe,” he said.
For those who might aspire to follow in his footsteps, he said, “challenge yourself each time to do things better. Don’t just do the job, do it better than necessary. And then remember the key to success comes from working hard. Surround yourself with good people, but challenge yourself to work hard. Luck plays a part too. But with or without luck, hard work is still the key to being successful.
“Receiving this recognition validates my theory of consistently working hard and it is an honor not only for me and my ethos, but for the members of the team that I surround myself with.”