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Humble, Inspiring, and Authentic : Drew Estate's Pedro Gomez is The Man!

Jason Faulkenburg: Pedro, thank you so much for taking the time to do this. We are huge fans and honored to have you in Ash Quarterly Magazine.

Pedro Gomez: First, I am extremely honored and humbled to be on the amazing “Ash Quarterly Magazine” It is beautiful to see great content covering our premium cigar industry and you guys have been doing an amazing job educating end consumers and everybody that is involved in this industry.

Jason: You have had such an incredible journey at Drew Estate. Can you give a little rundown of when you started and what your position was at that time?

Pedro: I joined Drew Estate in August 2006. The day I got the job at Drew Estate factory, I was so grateful and happy because I knew that I would have the opportunity to put in practice everything I learned during my full scholarship on Business & International Trade at Scott Community College in Davenport, Iowa. Later, I realized that what you learn in college you don’t put into practice right away. It takes time and sacrifice to get to those opportunities. My first responsibility at Drew Estate factory was to run the errands and do all the little things for the factory that other people did not want to do. At the same time, I was spending time in different departments of the factory such as production floor, quality control department, packaging department, tobacco warehouse, cigar production and tobacco inventory. The factory also gave me the opportunity to be the translator for certain duties of the financial office and later, asked me to be in certain meetings as a translator between Drew Estate Nicaragua and the USA. My first official promotion came after a year of being the Operation Manager Assistant for Manuel Rubio. I learned a lot from Rubio and his team along with all the ins and outs of Drew Estate factory.

Jason: And what was the path to where you are now?

Pedro: I truly believe that “life is what you make it.” I come from humble beginnings, growing up in a poor family from a third world country, I have always believed that you must maximize every little opportunity that comes around. Before my time at Drew Estate, I spent nine years working as a saddle maker in one the saddle shops in Esteli, Nicaragua. I dropped out school for two years because I had to help my family and at the same time, I wanted to learn how to make saddles. I was a young kid who wanted to be the best saddle maker in the shop. Then, I realized that education was key in life. I went back to school and during my time as a saddle maker I did not quit school. I tried my hardest to be the best student in a public high school called Francisco Luis Espinoza in my hometown of Esteli.

In Nicaragua, high school is 5 years which it is very different from other countries. So, I was going to school and at the same time I was going to work. I knew in my heart that through education I will have the opportunity to be somebody and I will also be capable of helping my family even more.

The year before I graduated from High School I applied for a full scholarship program called C.A.S.S. It was provided by the United States and managed by Georgetown University. This was my only hope I had to continue with school. In 2003 there were 300 great students from all over Nicaragua applying for the same scholarship. I put all my FAITH praying to God every day that I would be eligible for this education program. A year later, the scholarship program gave me the great news that I qualified for the scholarship and just two weeks after that I was traveling for the first time out of my country to the United States to Davenport, IOWA.

I came to Iowa not knowing the English language. It was a culture shock for me but I did all my best to study every day from Sunday to Sunday. At first, I had to take classes with a translator then, after 6 months, I was on my own taking classes with American students and students from my scholarship program.


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