As a young man, Ramon Escudero promoted tourism in his native country of Peru, taking visiting journalists to Machu Picchu so many times he said he knows that wonder of Inca civilization like his own hand.
But then he fell in love with a visiting American who is now his wife, and came to the United States in his mid-20s.
Now 45, he has lived in Lancaster City since 2008. He was the executive director of the Elizabethtown Area Chamber of Commerce starting in 2011 and took a leave of absence in December so he could take a seven-month trip to Peru with his family. The business group did not have the money to keep paying his salary, so the position was revised for a lower salary and Escudero decided not to apply for the new job.
His family recently returned from Peru and he said while it was wonderful time creating unforgettable memories, getting home to Lancaster is the best thing that happened to him this year.
Family: Wife Stephanie, daughters Maya and Sofia, and dog Smiley.
Education: Professional degree in marketing from San Ignacio de Loyola Institute in Peru, and bachelor’s and master’s degrees in business from The George Washington University.
Who you’ve worked for: The Peruvian government, United States Agency for International Development, Inter-American Development Bank, The Brookings Institution, Lancaster Chamber and the Elizabethtown Area Chamber of Commerce.
Two sentences on your career in business and economic development: I connect the dots. I facilitate access to resources.
People might be surprised that: When traveling, I always asked to be served the most typical meal for that place that I wouldn’t find anywhere else — but said “Don’t tell me what it is until I at least try it.” I ate a lot of unusual things.
Countries you’ve traveled to: I’ve lost count. I have been in almost every country in South America but Paraguay. I’ve been in every country in Central America but El Salvador. I’ve been in Europe, France, Germany, Spain, Japan and Korea.
Favorite Peruvian holiday: Peruvian Independence Day, July 28. No matter where we are, Peruvians celebrate it with good Peruvian food and Peruvian music.
Growing up you thought you’d be: A Formula One car racer.
You spend a day off: Catching up on domestic chores at my house. There’s always an endless list.
Favorite sport: Soccer and volleyball. I watch them more than play them.
Travel tip: Travel light. But I hardly follow it; we came back from Peru with 12 suitcases.
You picked this career because: Growing up in a developing country that back then was affected by terrorism — there were car bombs all over the place, there were high poverty levels — many of my generation wanted to emigrate to the land of opportunity, the United States. I was always like, “Why do you want to leave? Why don’t we make our land the land of opportunities?” I said, “We can build this here.”
I was committed to making Peru the land of opportunities. Everything was working great toward that goal until I met my wife.
One thing you’d like to change about economic development: In traditional economic development they went for money, benefited very few people and enlarged social and economic differences in the population. Making it more inclusive — that’s something I would change.