Francisco J. Uriarte
Francisco J. Uriarte has practiced in several business arenas and has 22 years of combined experience in the areas of Corporate and Entrepreneurial Finance, Strategy, Marketing, Operations and Mergers & Acquisitions. He’s been directly involved in over twenty transactions with accumulated value over $150MM and has been involved, as a Principal, in two entrepreneurial activities which subsequently have been sold, and as a Partner or Advisor in many more.
Francisco is Principal of ESP Group, a business and advisory services firm in Puerto Rico since June of 2006. His clients include companies in the recycling, venture capital, financial services, entrepreneurial development, advertising services, behavioral health services, food manufacturing, physical security, software, amusement parks, remote monitoring services and real estate, commercial financing, among others. He has active engagements in the mental health space—operational and financial efficiencies, joint venture development and strategic options advise; food manufacturing space—sell side mandate; technology side—equity raise mandate; and construction management space—buy side advise. He also serves as Treasurer of Puerto Rico Medical Defense Insurance Company—a local insurance company specialized in excess medical liability coverage; and as CFO of Commercial Equipment Finance, Inc.—a local capital equipment leasing company.
Francisco started his career in 1990 as an engineer at Eli Lilly Industries, Inc., a United States pharmaceutical corporation. From 1993 through 1994, he was Plant Manager at Anclo Norte, S.A., a Mexico based construction supplies manufacturer. In 1994, he opened and headed the Puerto Rico Government Commercial Office in Mexico until 1995, when he came to Puerto Rico to head the Office of the Caribbean Basin Initiative until 1996. In 1996, he was named Executive Director of the Puerto Rico Tourism Development Fund, where he supervised a $50 million credit enhancement fund aimed at the development of new tourism-related properties in Puerto Rico. In 1998, he was named Executive Director of Grupo Guayacán, where he structured, raised and oversaw two geographically diversified private equity fund of funds that invested in United States and international venture partnerships, while familiarizing local institutional investors with the private equity asset class. Also in 1998, he co-founded Prolac, Inc., a local dairy processor that sold a family of white cheese products to the local food retail trade and together with his wife, grew sales five-fold and sold the business in 2002. In 2002, he co-founded together with a group of local investors, and served as President and CEO, Supermercados Máximo, Inc. (“SuperMax”) and grew the operation to a $70MM, six store chain within four years.
SuperMax is a local start-up that acquired the assets of six—initially four, then later two more—supermarket stores that Wal-Mart was forced to divest from the Wal-Mart/Amigo merger. While at SuperMax, Francisco supervised all aspects of the operation, including sourcing providers for private label products, a staff of twenty and a total of 510 employees divided among six retail outlets and the corporate office/warehouse. At his departure, SuperMax was profitable and ranked 9th in the locally owned supermarket chain list in Puerto Rico. Also in 2002, he co-founded Qualitas, Inc., a local real estate holding and management company.
Francisco serves in the Boards of Aireko Construction, Tustin Mechanical Services LLC (Philadelphia), Resolve Holding Corp., Commercial Equipment Financing, Inc., , Foundation for Puerto Rico—a private, non-profit, non-partisan foundation dedicated to developing the Puerto RicoEconomy—Qualitas, Inc., UB Holdings, Inc., and Chairs the Boards of EnterPrize, Inc., Grupo Guayacán, Inc., and the Board of Asociación de Residentes de Torrimar, Inc. Francisco is a member of the Young Presidents Organization.
Francisco has a Bachelor Degree in Industrial Engineering with a minor in Finance from the Georgia Institute of Technology and a Masters Degree in Finance from the Inter American University in Puerto Rico. He’s a graduate of various executive programs from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Entrepreneurial Development), Northwestern University (Equity Valuation and Credit Analysis), the National Venture Capital Institute and the National Business Incubation Association.
He is a registered professional engineer in Puerto Rico, a Certified Merger and Acquisitions Advisor (CM&AA) certified by the Alliance of Merger and Acquisition Advisors and an Accredited Valuation Analyst (AVA) certified by the National Association of Certified Valuation Analysts.