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Q&A: An Interview With Jorge Padrón

The president of Padrón Cigars Inc. speaks about his Nicaraguan cigar brand.
David Savona
From the Print Edition:
Gen. Tommy Franks, Nov/Dec 03

(continued from page 2)

A: Those were good times. It was rough, but at the same time it was very practical. Don't forget, it wasn't very safe. There were a lot of kidnappings. We were in our little shell inside the factory.

Q: Kidnappings of local businessmen?

A: Yeah. There was a plot to kidnap my father in Honduras. They were found with plans of the factory, the layout, where his room was. Those times were very rough times, particularly in Nicaragua; and [in] Danlí, Honduras, being very close to the border, there was a lot of military activity.

Q: It must have been very challenging to run a business in that environment. How old were you?

A: 20 years old, 17, 18, 19. And at the time I was, more than anything, just accompanying my father, but in all of those trips you learned something. Even if it was not about tobacco, you learned something else. So I can tell you that, in all the years that I spent next to my dad, I think I learned more than I did all the years I spent in school.

Q: Tell us about your education.

A: I graduated from a Jesuit high school in Miami, and from there I went to Florida State University and got a bachelor's degree in marketing. After I graduated there in 1990, I worked in the family business for a year, in Miami, and then I went to the University of Miami and got my master's degree.

Q: When you got your MBA, what were you thinking in terms of a career path?

A: All my friends were interviewing for jobs with different companies, and I told them I was going into the cigar business and they thought I was crazy.

Q: When was that?

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