Guillermo Ramirez grew up in a family of tinkerers.
“My grandfather, Jesus Ramirez Cerda, liked to design, create and build all kinds of things,” says Ramirez, a native of San Luis Potosi in central Mexico. “Even my father, Guillermo Ramirez Cortes, who had an accounting degree, loved to work with cars and mechanics.”
Ramirez followed both paths. At 22, he opened a metal shop with his grandfather, but within six months, the economy doomed that enterprise. Then he studied mechanical engineering at Autonomous University in San Luis Potosi.
After graduating in 2014, he moved to Chicago. It wasn’t easy, relocating to a different country with a different language and culture. “But once you settle down and adapt, you start to overcome challenges,” he says.
While searching for an engineering position, Ramirez put his handyman skills to good use. He worked all kinds of jobs—construction, roofing, carpentry—before joining Incredible Technologies, Inc., designer and developer of entertainment products for the gaming industry, as a mechanical engineer. His primary function there is to “create, improve, test and develop new and existing products.”
The coronavirus pandemic has been transformative both for the business and the process of doing business, says Ramirez, who went from getting up early to drive into the office to working from home, with no colleagues close at hand to help with troubleshooting.
“The social impact plays an essential role in job performance,” he says. “Keeping a positive mindset is one of the practices that I continuously implement to succeed, not only at work but also in life.”
Ramirez cites a number of mentors who helped him cope with challenges along the way, including Cervando Marin, quality control supervisor at Surewaytool & Engineering. “He taught me the importance of having a very organized process, as well as discipline and focus.”
Gary Strahinic, director of product development and engineering at Entropy International, “challenged me in every single way by giving me the most important projects and allowing me to lead them.”
Tim Sickel, senior director of hardware engineering at Aristocrat, worked on several projects with Ramirez. “I observed and absorbed his leadership style and his organization. He was always there to guide me into the gaming industry.”
At Incredible Technologies, Bryan McVey, Omar Torres and Tom Costanzo have proven influential to Ramirez’ professional life. McVey, vice president of mechanical engineering, offered a unique management style. Torres, director of mechanical engineering, brought perfectionist and technical skills. Costanzo, senior mechanical engineer, added his vast experience.
For those who aspire to careers in gaming, Ramirez says, “Listen to your elders, to the experienced people, and be eager to learn from them, as there is valuable knowledge they hold. Be humble and stay grounded, because it doesn’t matter how many degrees you have, how much money you make or what position you have.”
He adds, “Perseverance and determination helped me climb up in this industry.”