Fightin’ the good fight: former student overcomes adversity to be a successful industrial engineer

Aggie Ring DayOvercoming poverty, adversity and obstacles in life, Israel Escamilla Jr., a graduate of the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering at Texas A&M University, earned a place in the 2017 Twelve Under Twelve Young Alumni Spotlight sponsored by The Association of Former Students.

As a freshman, Escamilla had no idea where his career and life would lead him.

“When I first started college, I had and continue to have an overall vision versus a dream job,” Escamilla said. “At the end of the day, I ensure that my actions of today are ones that my future self will thank me for.”

His vision is to pursue the highest professional and personal development and growth that will enable him to be the best leader possible. Escamilla recalls his first exposure to industrial engineering during his freshman year in an introductory engineering course.

“The professor asked for those going into industrial engineering to raise their hands,” Escamilla said. “Five out of the class of 70 students raised their hands. The professor then went on to say that these individuals would be the people the rest of us would most likely be reporting to. That was when my industrial engineering career began.”

A born leader, Escamilla diligently committed himself to his studies and the relationships developed during his time on campus. Aggie ring day finally arrived in November 2010, which is his favorite tradition due to the rite of passage into the powerful Aggie Network once the piece of gold is placed on the finger.

This special day became extra special to Escamilla four months later.

“I did not know this at the time, but this would be the last picture and celebration I would share with my dad before he passed from cancer the following March,” Escamilla said. “I am grateful that, through this amazing Texas A&M tradition, I was able to share this unforgettable moment with my dad. My Aggie ring and this memory will always carry incredible significance in my life.”

Graduation Day

While many special memories were created while he called Aggieland home, Escamilla’s favorite was his graduation day because it marked the glory achieved from reaching the top of a very challenging climb.

“I remember celebrating with my loved ones and closest friends, reminiscing about the many stories we shared and knowing that this was a result of constantly persevering through extreme adversity,” Escamilla said. “This was a game-changing moment for me and my family. It was a moment that set the trajectory for my career and the quality of life for the future Escamilla generations.”

After graduation, Escamilla began his career with P&G Gillette|Venus brands as a supply chain manager. He was responsible for delivering North America results enabled through managing a global supply chain.

“In addition to gaining critical supply chain skills and knowledge, I learned that a portfolio of great advocates will trump a portfolio of powerful brands any day,” Escamilla said. “This role shaped my perspective on my most important factor when accepting an assignment – whose leadership I’m under. For me, ‘getting on the right bus,’ is the difference between the value I bring to my company being recognized and rewarded versus not.”

The young professional still holds tightly to his family roots and remains true to his background growing up as an immigrant from Mexico. Among numerous other traits and accomplishments, Escamilla is the first-born son, eldest of four, first generation English speaker and Aggie graduate.

“My greatest accomplishment is being a game-changing pioneer for my family,” Escamilla said. “I have followed my vision of developing myself as the best servant leader possible, focused passionately on building relationships and learning from great people, and I move forward in life with a growth mindset.”

PG Leadership AwardHis employer did not overlook his servant’s heart, positive attitude and work ethic. Escamilla received both the P&G CEO Award and the Emerging Leader Award in the same year. The awards positively reassured Escamilla that he was moving in the right direction to achieve his vision.

“My two managers at the time, Matthew McClish and Erene Karras, enabled me to receive these honors by greatly advocating on my behalf,” Escamilla said. “I am blessed and thankful to be surrounded by leaders who are the best of the best and who consistently set an example of professional excellence that inspires me to be better and achieve more.”

While he is honored to have been selected to receive the awards from his employer, Escamilla is most proud of his deep understanding of where he came from, who he has become, why he does what he does, and his faith that there is someone much greater than him at work in his life.

“Knowing that I have worked as hard as I could to attain my goals, that I have humbled myself to accept the wisdom and mentorship from those who have come before me and that I have stayed true to my faith through the toughest trials and tribulations in my life is what I am most proud of,” Escamilla said.

YMCA Award

These qualities cannot be defined by career success, awards received, resumes or LinkedIn profiles, but rather in one’s perseverance through the tough times and their dedication to the ones that mean the most to them.

Escamilla is thankful to have had many influencers and mentors in his life, but credits David and Claire Northcut as being among the greatest. The pair supported Escamilla’s dreams, believed in him and encouraged him through the toughest times in his life.

“They have been a special part of my life since I was allowed out of the English as a second language (ESL) class and into normal English speaking classes back in elementary school,” Escamilla said. “They taught me the importance of building a sound faith foundation and getting an education which would enable me to reap exponential benefits and knowledge that would remain with me for the rest of my life.”

Tailgate

As a result of his strong admiration for the Northcut family, Escamilla developed a desire to serve the underprivileged youth in Cincinnati and champion their success. He became involved in the YMCA Black and Latino Achievers Program and was awarded the YMCA Achiever Award as a result of the Northcuts championing his success while he was growing up. Escamilla now serves as chairman of the board for the Cincinnati YMCA where he represents P&G and continues advocating for the youth.

Escamilla believes that enduring through adversity, as difficult as it may seem at the time, is the greatest indicator of character.

“I remember that pain is only temporary and that the steeper and more challenging the climb, the higher the view and greater the glory,” Escamilla said. “My encouragement to all my beloved Aggies is to keep on fightin’ the good fight.”