Blog It Forward – Leonardo De Araujo
I met fellow SAP Mentor Alexandre Rivet during SAPTeched 2013 in Vegas. Super nice guy. Hope you got a chance to read his “Blog It Forward” BLOG, link here.
He blogged me forward so I take this very nice opportunity to BLOG about me, something I don’t think I’ve ever done.
Where am I from?
I was born in Porto Alegre, Brazil (a little while ago 😉 ). I had the opportunity to live, grow up, study and work there. I only left when I was 25 years old.
Porto Alegre – Brazil
Porto Alegre is not a very large city by Brazil standards, but it has 2 million habitants. It is located at the far south of Brazil, the capital of the state of Rio Grande do Sul. People from this region are called the GAUCHOS. Originally, there were many farms in the region and the Gauchos were the south American cowboys (no far-west here please). The vast region where the Gauchos are from is called the PAMPAS and it goes from north of Argentina, including Uruguay and my state.
We are most likely the people that eat the most of red meat (anywhere in the world). We created the CHURRASCOS, served at Churrascarias ( check Fogo de Chão at www.fogodechao.com.br for reference internationally ). We usually eat that every week, and most often for lunch!
Emigrating to Canada
Since early in my career, I wanted to emigrate to a country where I would have more career opportunities, that would offer a better quality of life and that would be a safer place to raise a family.
Having worked with SAP while in Brazil, it opened a lot of opportunities for me. A SAP professional is in demand anywhere in the world.
So I checked the immigration opportunities out there. Two countries in the world stand out as the reference in terms of imigation. These countries are CANADA and AUSTRALIA. I say that cause these are countries that have very well established immigration processes. Afterall, these countries have been formed by immigration.
Even though Australia seems like a terrific destination, I decided to immigrate to Canada for the following reasons:
- Similar(close) timezone to Brazil – That is important as I left behind family and friends. Australia would be just too complicated in that regard;
- The proximity to US provides a healthy economy and career opportunities (yes, even with all the recent recessions)
- I don’t necessarily mind the cold weather. It is not that bad here in Canada(believe me…);
From the day that I applied for Imigrant visa to the day I arrived in Canada, it took me 6 months. The process was faster pre-9/11 and also and IT professional gets some kind of a “fast track” because of the demand.
I left family and friends behind. I even had a long term girlfriend and the time. I chose Toronto (as the largest job market) and moved, alone.
Montreal – Canada
After 1.5 yrs in Toronto, where I worked for BAYER Canada, the company that makes Aspirin, as a SAP guy, I had the opportunity to move to Montreal as Bombardier was hiring like crazy. They needed to form a SAP team and they were bringing people from all over Canada. I decided to jump on the opportunity
Montreal is the second largest city in Canada and the largest in the French speaking province of Quebec. It has around 2 million habitants. There are a lot of bilingualism here so arriving without any French speaking knowledge was not too bad. Of course, with time, I ended up learning it.
Montreal is known for its nightlife, its restaurants, the festivals and of course the girls…;-)
Funny thing: by vocational tests, I was supposed to have studied (and worked) in IT, in programming. But knowing how I am, a guy that can give 450% into something in a tunnel like focus, I was really afraid I would end up one of those reclusive, crazy, nerds… (oh well…. 😉 )
So I decided to study Business. I did Business Administration with emphasis in Logistics at UFRGS (Federal University), considered one of the best in the country. I wanted to become a business man and even had goals of Graduate studies at Harvard MBA…
Getting into SAP
After working many years as a Logistics Analyst, responsible for hiring and supervising transportation services for one of the largest Steel companies in the World, called GERDAU GROUP Gerdau Long Steel North America, once they decided to implement SAP, they brought me to the team as a Business Analyst. After training, I was responsible for configuring Shipping and transportation (freight processing) during the project. We were one of the first companies in the world to implement this functionality introduced with SAP R/3 4.0
My independent professional experience
So I started as a Business Analyst, became eventually a Functional Analyst. Since I loved the technical part of the software, I became through the years more and more connected with ABAP coding. 3-4 years into my SAP career I was already coding. 😉
Since then I either worked in one of the following profiles:
- Functional SD consultant (or Retail in some cases) with strong technical background;
- Developer with strong functional background in Logistics (most modules)
- Or, more recently, a Solution Architect. The guy that gets from Business requirements, designs and implements a solution, all the way to final delivery and testing.
Founding Beyond Technologies
In 2005 I co-founded Beyond Technologies a SAP Channel partner that has the largest SAP team in Quebec, one of the largest in Eastern Canada. I am very proud of that.
At Beyond, I am responsible for the technical team. I continue to be involved in SAP projects acting as a solution Architect.
My Passions (apart from SAP, of course)
I am a foodie and a real wine lover. I often arrange my vacations around that.
Picture with Chef ATALA from Brazil (6th best restaurant in the world)
Picture of me at restaurant NOMA, second best restaurant in the world (number 1 for 3 years before that).
Picture of chef Rene Redzepi (from NOMA)
Picture at Winery OPUS, maker of OPUS ONE in California, one the best known Californian reds…
Picture at Catena in Mendoza Argentina…
Bodyboarding is a discipline of surfing where you catch waves laying down. The choice of this instead of standing up surfing comes from the fact that where I was raised, the waves were small and hard/pointless to surf standing. The waves were better suited for bodyboarding where we can get into tubes easier.
I’ve been practicing this sport since I was 14 years old.
You can see here a little video I put together for my last trip to Mentawai Islands in Indonesia, considered one of the best places in the world for surfing.
I’ve always tried to do my part regarding protecting the environment. Apart from regular recycling, composting and chosing ecologically responsible products, I highlight here 2 things I’ve done I am proud of:
- I’ve installed solar panels over my house so I can enjoy my pool warm using little electricity;
- I’ve been driving an electric car since May. It has been 10000 KM without a sip of gas. Think about the tons of CO2 that I have saved!
Driving an electric car
Electric cars have been slow at adoption because of their compromises. They use to sacrifice performance, looks or range(if not all of them together).
Tesla Motors, a Californian startup changed the game completely with its Tesla Model S. As I’ve been a big fan of the company for many years, it was an easy decision for me to put an order for one. As one of the earliest adopters in Canada, I waited for it for 2 years and received it in May.
This car is faster than Base BMWs and Audi’s., looks great (reminds of Austin Martin) and has a great range (up to 400Km).
Trying the car before I got it.
I would like to blog it forward to my good friend harald_reiter