Happy August! Now that summer is winding down, we’re thinking about back-to-school—and specifically, to college. This month, we’re talking about a new trend we’ve been seeing lately: Families taking special trips with their college-bound kids. And speaking of bonding travel, we’re also highlighting our recent retreat in Puerto Rico—including our top hosting tips. And finally, rounding out this edition is a great Q&A with Qatar Airways, which was recently honored with the distinction of “World’s Best Airline.” We hope the rest of your summer is fun and relaxing!
Erika Reategui and Fernando Gonzalez
When it comes to legal or strategic decisions at F1S, chances are that Antonio Gutierrez has a big hand in helping make them. As the company’s general counsel and part of the management team, Antonio handles all global legal issues while being actively involved with F1S’ business affairs.
It’s been an unplanned but natural career path for the Rutgers Law School – Newark grad, who spent his undergrad years majoring in international studies at American University. “I always had an interest in international development, particularly in Latin America,” says the half-Peruvian, half-Puerto Rican New Yorker. Although international relations was in Antonio’s DNA, including stints studying abroad at the Sorbonne in Paris and University of Puerto Rico, it was his passion for both business and law that ultimately won him over.
An early turning point in his career came eight years ago when he landed at a national law firm and began practicing employment and business law and litigation. “I’ve always had an entrepreneurial drive. And even as a young associate, I wanted to make sure the Hispanic business community was adequately represented. Through personal connections, I brought on my very first client – First in Service.”
While at the firm, Antonio noticed he was only one of a handful of Hispanic attorneys. He also recognized that traditional corporate law firms were not meeting the needs of an increasing number of successful Hispanic-owned businesses. A light bulb went off.
In 2010, he partnered with two colleagues and formed Plata Ferrer & Gutierrez LLC, a Hispanic-owned business boutique law firm counseling start-ups and emerging growth companies. First in Service remained Antonio’s client, and over the years, he counseled the company through some of its most critical growth periods, opening the Bogotá, Santa Monica, and Miami offices. Continuing its international expansion plans, F1S recently carved a full-time role for Antonio, a corporate and entrepreneurial challenge he couldn’t refuse.
His next project at F1S? Moving to LA this summer to run the Santa Monica office for the next year. “It’s an incredible opportunity to help grow the company and our presence on the West Coast.” He adds, “It’s also a great chance to indulge in the LA food scene, and ride a Harley along the Pacific Coast Highway.”