The best technology is of little use if you do not know how to explain it. One person who knows exactly how to do this is Jorge Castillo. The 35-year-old Mexican is a salesman with heart and soul. And that is despite the fact that he came to this job more or less by chance.
It’s the year 2006. Jorge Castillo is studying to become a mechatronics engineer at the Technical Institute of Querétaro. In addition to electrical engineering, the young man has another great passion: camping. Like some of his friends, he is also training to become a paramedic. As a paramedic, you are occasionally asked by companies to accompany their outdoor events. One of those companies is Balluff. “I had never heard of Balluff before,” says Jorge today. How could he? After all, the German company had only set up shop in Mexico in 2001, and the North American branch is still relatively small. Sensors are also still a marginal topic in Mexico. “Back then, we had maybe ten different sensors at Balluff de México. Today we have thousands,” Jorge says.
So Balluff de México hosts a team-building event in 2006, and Jorge is there as a paramedic. That is how he meets Antonio Mendoza, managing director of Balluff de México. Like sensor technology, the mechatronics profession is not very widespread in Mexico at the time. “Until then, I didn’t really know what to do later with my degree. Balluff was my first point of contact with a potential career field,” says Jorge. “I had a good feeling about the team right away. That’s what got me excited about the company.” A few years later, Jorge happens to hear about a vacancy at Balluff and contacts Mendoza – who immediately remembers the charismatic and outspoken paramedic of yesteryear. He invites him to a job interview the very next day. The outcome of the inter-view is clear, otherwise we wouldn’t be telling Jorge’s story here.
Jorge Castillo initially starts as a trainee in the Business Development department at Balluff de México, because these first years are still all about setting up. The Mexican subsidiary grows little by little – and Jorge grows with it in his tasks. “Actually, I have a technical background. So, a job in sales was not my first choice. But Antonio Mendoza told me: ‘Even as a salesman, you have to understand the technology in order to bring it closer to your customers. And you need to be good with people. This job combines all of that.'” It is a perfect fit for Jorge. “Technology has always fascinated me. But that’s not everything for me. I also love to have contact with people, to engage in an exchange. I’m a very proactive person,” he says. Jorge continues to rise steadily, first becoming Sales Manager in Monterrey, Northern Mexico in 2009, then Industry Manager two years later. In 2013, another opportunity arises for him: a new subsidiary is to be established in Argentina. Jorge does not hesitate for long – after all, he loves challenges and likes to be on the move. He spends two years helping to set up the branch in Argentina.
But Jorge Castillo has strong roots in Mexico. Together with his wife, he decides to go back. Both grew up in Querétaro and have family there. Jorge first becomes a coordinator in Satillo, then, from 2018, he manages sales for the entire Northern region, one of three regions of Balluff de México. That has remained his area of responsibility to this day. Together with the coordinators, he sets the goals for the entire region, and today he is responsible for a team of around 20 employees. He guides them, gives them assistance and trains them. “My job is to train and develop the employees so that they can take us forward as a region.” Jorge Castillo takes care of the big picture; everything has to run smoothly: contracts, customer relations, distribution, prices. That means a lot of office work, yet he is still out with customers, too. “What I like most about my job is the contact with people and problem solving. As my parents used to say: there is a solution for everything. For me, it’s an incredibly good feeling to solve a challenge,” says Jorge. He says that sometimes you have to get really creative and consider different technologies. “It can also be tricky. But when I find a solution, the customer is happy and so am I. It’s similar for the other salespeople; it’s also often about helping them find a good solution. I know what I’m talking about because I was also in that position for many years.”
Problem-solving is important to Jorge not only for his own work but that of his employees. Always having a solution at hand is also what he values about Balluff. “Balluff has a large portfolio. This breadth is one of our greatest strengths. Others are very focused on a specific area. When we go into a conversation with the customer, we are looking for an all-encompassing solution for their application, not just one component of it. With us, they get the complete package: the sensor, the cable, the camera and the software to go with it.”
In order to always find the right solution, the team is crucial. Jorge appreciates the teamwork. Although he has climbed the career ladder continuously, he has always remained grounded. As a team leader, he wants to be a mentor to his colleagues above all. “In my team, they are all fighters. They love challenges. They are very proactive and open. They are very direct and I appreciate that a lot. It’s great fun to set goals as a team and then achieve them. It’s always an open exchange. We make the plans together.”
Jorge lives with his wife and two children, one and four years old, in Ramos Aripze, about 11 kilometers from Satillo. And Jorge has also set an ambitious goal for his private life: he wants to build a house someday.