By Jennifer Erb
2016-10-072016-12-08https://wvuieleaders.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/[email protected]WVU IE200px200px
Luis was destined to be an entrepreneur. As a child, he sold items throughout his neighborhood. When he came to WVU, he chose Industrial Engineering because he enjoyed math, but he wanted a business career also.
As an undergraduate Luis and a classmate, Jeff Manuel, produced a resume book with all of their classmates resumes in it. They marketed the resume book to companies. This was prior to the career fairs on campus and set the tone for the career focus of our major. Luis was successful in landing an internship with GE Transportation.
When he graduated Luis was offered a job with GE but turned it down. He joined Symmetrix a consulting firm started by one of our IE alumni. While at Symmetrix, Luis was asked to work on a project in Chile since he was the only person in Symmetrix who spoke Spanish. Luis later joined another consulting firm, Mars & Co and did projects in Mexico and Argentina.
After four years of consulting, Luis applied for MBA programs and was accepted at Wharton where he received a fellowship that covered tuition during his first year. He was also one a small number of students who was also accepted into the International Studies master´s program. For this Luis needed to obtain another language skill, so he learned Portuguese.
While at Wharton, Luis met a partner in the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) who asked Luis if he would help set up their office in Brazil. Luis so impressed BCG that they paid for his second year of graduate school. When Luis graduated from Wharton, he returned to Brazil to work with BCG.
After working for BCG, Luis and two partners formed Vidalink, a pharmacy benefits management (PBM) company in Brazil. PBM’s were an unknown entity in Brazil since most companies do not provide for prescription drug coverage. PBM’s handle financial payments for employer-provided prescription drug benefits.
As with most entrepreneurial businesses, the first five years of Vidalink were a real struggle. It took 8 years to break even. As more employers began to cover the prescription needs of their employees, Vidalink began to grow. Luis and his partner (one partner left the business) were also able to secure funding from major investors including CVS Health.
Today the business has reached a success threshold. “I’m not sure you can ever be comfortable as an entrepreneur,” Luis explains. How does being an entrepreneur agree with a personal life? “My wife and I were married in a civil ceremony. That’s all we could afford at the time. We have two children, and I make it a point to dedicate my weekends to them.”
Luis is especially proud of the skill development programs he has for his employees. “A number of our employees have really raised their socio-economic status by working for us. If I ever start another business, it will have to have a social purpose,” Luis describes.
Luis F. González is CEO and co-founder of Vidalink, the leading Pharmacy Benefit Management (PBM) company in Brazil. Inspired by the U.S. PBM model, the company was the first in Brazil to introduce the concept of subsidizing the cost of prescription drugs as a way of reducing overall healthcare costs by avoiding unnecessary hospitalizations of individuals that cannot afford their drug treatments.
Vidalink´s team of nearly 300 employees serves over 180 clients (employers, HMOs, and pharmaceutical manufacturers) and intermediates over US$ 500 million per year of prescription drug sales in 24,000 network pharmacies. The company has raised capital from financial and strategic investors including CVS Health – the largest pharmacy innovation company in the U.S. and # 7 on the Fortune 100 list, Grupo Martins – one of the largest distributors in Brazil, and LatinTech Capital – a Brazilian venture capital fund.
Prior to Vidalink, Luis worked for several management consulting firms. He was a founding member of The Boston Consulting Group’s São Paulo office and, in addition to project responsibilities, coordinated the e-commerce practice in Brazil. Prior to BCG, he worked for two firms (Mars & Co, Symmetrix) founded by BCG alumni. His consulting experience was primarily in financial services, consumer goods, and heavy manufacturing in markets such as Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, and the United States.
Luis has a M.B.A. with an emphasis on Entrepreneurial Management from The Wharton School and an M.A. in International Studies with a concentration in Latin America and Portuguese from The Lauder Institute at the University of Pennsylvania. He also holds a B.S. in Industrial Engineering from West Virginia University.
He was born in Morgantown WV, the son of retired Colombian college professors, is married to a Brazilian with whom he has two daughters, is a native English and Spanish speaker and is fluent in Portuguese.