Ricaurte Vasquez: VP of government affairs and public policy for GE Latin America.

Author:Mann, Joseph A., JR.


From Panama to Petrobras

GE has been operating in Latin America for 115 years, haying disembarked in the region 19 years after opening its doors in the United States, under the banner of Edison Electric Light Co.

One sign of GE's major innovative impact on the region is visible even today at the Panama Canal, said Ricaurte (Catin) Vasquez, vice president of government affairs and public policy for GE Latin America.

GE designed and built the massive electro-mechanical control system that has opened and closed the Panama Canal locks since the canal was inaugurated in 1914.

Even though the control system has been upgraded over the years, Vasquez noted, "You can still see the original GE logo in the canal control room."

GE, which has about 36,000 "technologists" in its global workforce, has been a world leader in developing innovative technology in lighting, energy, health, jet engines, trains, manufacturing, nanotechnology and other areas.

In Latin America, Vasquez said, GE is developing new technologies for jet engines, the oil and natural gas industry, environmental improvements, as well as energy production from biomass and other sources, to name a few. The company today has about 20,000 employees in the region.

"We have a technology center in Queretaro (Mexico) that is working on new technology for jet engines," Vasquez said. This part of Mexico has become an important aerospace manufacturing site, with companies such as Embraer, Bombardier, Hawker...

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