Interview with Ron Cardenas: Vice President HR at Gavilon Agriculture
Ron Cardenas is a human resources expert with over three decades of professional experience. His specialties include employee relations, compensation, compliance, and talent management. For the past 11 years, Mr Cardenas has worked at Gavilon Agriculture Holdings in Omaha, Nebraska, progressing from Director to Senior Director to Vice President of Human Resources.
Tell us about yourself?
My name is Ron Cardenas, and I’m the Vice President of Human Resources at Gavilon Agriculture Holdings in Omaha, Nebraska. I’m a native of Colorado, with an undergraduate degree from Colorado State University and MBA from Regis University.
My passions include enjoying the outdoors, and in particular, I love to hike and snowshoe in the mountains, as well as play golf in my spare time. Over the years, I have also volunteered my time giving back to youth in the community through mentorship programs and coaching youth sports.
I’ve spent over 30 years as a Human Resources professional in Corporate America and look forward to retiring to a quiet place in the mountains when the time is right.
What makes you different from other professionals in your field?
I believe I am unique in that I take a very market-based approach to Human Resources by looking at the business needs and aligning people solutions to address those needs.
How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected/changed human resources’ role in an organization?
Maintaining a safe work environment has been the primary focus. In addition, the biggest challenge has been maintaining a balance between the personal and political beliefs of an employee while ensuring the company maintains the collaborative ‘in-person’ environment, which has made us successful.
What was the most important part of your professional journey?
I can’t point to a particular role or point in time. Instead, I think that continuing to learn and build upon experiences has been the key to success, as well as being willing to work hard and take on some challenges that others weren’t able or were willing to do.
What are the best and worst purchases you’ve ever made?
This is a difficult question to answer. I wouldn’t consider myself an extravagant spender, and the homes and cars I’ve bought have lasted and been good investments.
What takes up too much of your time?
Watching sports takes up a lot of my time, but it is a nice stress reliever, so I don’t mind that I spend time doing it.
What three pieces of advice would you give to recent college graduates/young professionals who are just starting out in their careers?
1) Never stop learning
2) Be prepared to work harder than is expected of you
3) A key to being successful is to appreciate and nurture the relationships of colleagues and co-workers.
What drives you to keep going when it’s really tough?
Fear of failure and disappointing people who look up to me.
How should people connect with you?
LinkedIn is a good start.