Ricardo Migueláñez. Agricultural engineer. @rmiguelanez
This week we highlight Tomás Fuertes Fernández, Chairman of Grupo Fuertes, in our Who's Who section. I truly enjoy these kinds of stories, where we recognize the hard work of those who started with nothing and built empires, such as the case with this family, which manages more than 20 companies and has a workforce of over 6,000.
Tomás, who was born in Alhama de Murcia in June of 1940, is married and has four children. He is certified in Business Management by the University of Murcia and Murcia's Chamber of Commerce. He also has certification in Sales Management from the Ministry of Economy.
Those who know him say he's an entrepreneur at heart, and that must be the case because he's been building the holding company that he chairs for more than 50 years, with a business philosophy based on continuous improvement, reinvestment and sustainable development.
He's a member of the Spanish Chamber of Commerce's Executive Committee, Chairman of the Murcian Meat Industries Regional Association, and President of Murcia's Association for Management Progress (APD).
Among his most noteworthy distinctions, he (and his siblings) was named Honorary Citizen of his hometown, Alhama de Murcia this year. He also received the Gold Medal from the Regional Confederation of Murcian Enterprises (CROEM) in 2014, and the Gold Medal from the Region of Murcia in 2013.
He was named Honorary President of the Murcian Family Business Association (Amefmur) in 2012, and received the Gold Medal of Merit in Work, the Spanish government's highest distinction, in 2011. The Federation of Spanish Radio and Television Associations presented him with the Golden Antennae Award in 2010 for his professional track record. He was also named Businessperson of the Year in 2010, and Entrepreneur of the Year in 2014.
Up-close and personal
All of the people who build these types of companies are wholeheartedly dedicated and, in addition to business, Tomás Fuertes is also passionate about indoor soccer. As a result, his company supports the sport through an athletic sponsorship. Additionally, ElPozo Alimentación, the Group's most representative company, has had a team, ElPozo Murcia F. S., in the first division for more than 25 years.
Tomás enjoys hearing about others' experiences and is extremely interested in everything going on around him, in his surroundings and in learning new things. Time management is a fundamental part of the Fuertes company philosophy. That, together with perseverance, determination and hard work by the people who believe in his business are the secrets to his group's success.
I have run into him on several occasions, in particular at the Alimentaria fair, and it's during those meetings that you can truly see the passion he pours into everything, which is how he has gotten this far—where an entire city, Alhama de Murcia, and even Murcia region, consider his company a leader in its economy. When you visit the ElPozo plant, you realize the scope of the business, which started with two grocery stores and is now an international company.