12/08/2020 9:00 am
Jorge Hernandez has built a career based on communicating and problem-solving – skills that tie directly back to his years at Rockford University.
The 1984 alumnus oversees teams around the globe in his position as vice president of quality assurance for restaurant chain Wendy’s. It’s a position he never envisioned when he arrived at RU as a pre-med student from Mexico. But the lessons he learned here gave him the flexibility to pivot his career away from medicine and into environmental health and food safety.
Growing up in Mexico, Jorge needed to choose at an early age what career path he would take. So he decided to become a doctor in his early teens and his education put him on the path to do that. He came to RU with a degree in microbiology from the Centro de Estudios Medico-Biologicos in Mexico City, and continued his studies by getting a bachelor’s degree in biology at Rockford University.
In addition to science, however, Jorge also studied French and spent a year in Paris at the Sorbonne. He took French, history, art, and communication classes, which taught him how to apply his education in the real world. And he learned plenty outside of the classroom as well, while spending time among students from other countries.
“For someone who came from another country, to be able to interact with Americans and live in the American culture, it broadened my view of the world,” he said. “I learned there are many paths to get to the same goal.”
Jorge began his career as an environmental health inspector for the Winnebago County Health Department and worked his way through various food safety and quality roles at the State of Illinois Department of Health and several food companies. Today, Jorge works from the Wendy’s headquarters in Ohio, where he is responsible for the quality and safety of all of the products the restaurant chain buys, transports, and prepares in 31 countries around the world.
“I’m having a lot of fun,” he said. “It’s an awesome job and I love it.”
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