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Alumnus working for a major international cement and building materials producer shares tips, discusses trends

by Monica Smith

Nov 15, 2022, 11:00 AM.

Ruben Terrazas, Vice President of Integrated Supply Chain at Titan America says non-stop building in Florida has most manufacturers depleted of capacity, but he leans on his experience at FIU to help improve systems and inventory.
Ruben Terrazas
Ruben Terrazas

Where Ruben Terrazas sits, the job is clear—make sure all the stops are removed, clear the pathways to ensure inventory goes to where it’s needed and keep supply channels coming in with resources to keep the business going. As the Vice President of Integrated Supply Chain at Titan America , Terrazas is concerned with logistics. He manages the flow of products to clients up and down Florida and he mentions that the explosive residential development in the last year has provided a backlog of activities for the cement and building materials producer.

“The hottest part of the state is the I-4 corridor between Orlando and Tampa. There’s a lot of construction going on there; however, the Southwest is strong, Jacksonville is strong, and Miami is coming back,” he reveals.

Business intelligence

About 15 years ago, Titan sponsored Terrazas’ degree. He went back to school anticipating that the master’s degree would help enrich his path; move his career forward. The company wanted to see him go through some leadership training. He enrolled in the M.S. in Engineering Management, and he focused his studies on systems engineering.

Terrazas was curious about technology and wanted to understand more about how to use new technology to help manage the full range of capabilities at his company. Currently in charge of implementing the business intelligence for logistics with Titan America, he uses the background from his degree for creating the digital infrastructure for database management, understanding design and inventory control, among other things.

Full visibility

“This is what we’re designing right now—a control tower for full visibility of everything that is going on logistics-wise, and it’s very advanced,” he says. “I am very thankful because all of the planning for it was possible because of the knowledge I received from my engineering management program.”

Through his work with the company’s databases, Terrazas can inform upper management of the needs for the organization in real-time.

“We’re trying to create a system that is the single source of truth, so if you have a question, you can go to the system and you can find an answer,” reveals Terrazas. “Once you have that you are in a much better state because you can make some organized decisions and know if you’re having an issue.”

Supply chain management

In the wake of supply chain slowdowns, says Terrazas, this bird’s-eye view has been crucial to find workarounds.

“It’s been a couple of tough years, I would say for the logistics teams,” states Terrazas who notes that Titan America is in a much better situation compared to competitors because of the visibility and investment in the company's business intelligence system.

Tips for grads

Terrazas is an industry advisory board member for FIU’s M.S. in Logistics Engineering degree program, and he is instrumental in helping develop and evaluate curriculum. His biggest tip for graduates of the Master of Science in Engineering Management program at FIU is to never stop learning. Don’t lose focus on the new technology, he advises. Terrazas mentions that the cement plant operating in Miami is totally operated by artificial intelligence.  

As far as who he likes to hire, he stresses, “A person with drive.” 

Titan America has established a partnership with the College of Engineering and Computing for internships. In fact, many of his coworkers are FIU graduates, he highlights, and reflects on his own experience as a student:   

“My education provided me with enterprise systems tools for managing databases, that are extremely useful. The basic understanding from my courses allowed me to understand what some of the issues were within the company,” says Terrazas. “I would recommend the engineering management program to others, definitely, and it’s especially valuable to those holding leadership positions because you’re able to apply what you learn in current, real-life situations.” 

Since this interview took place, Terrazas was asked to lead the growth of Titan America in the US. He is now the VP of Growth and Business Development.

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