He may have over a decade of experience running two internationally successful businesses, but for Ramon Vila Altimir there's always an opportunity to learn more.
As the owner and managing director of Spanish logistics and communication company Driving Events, and the strategy advisor and principal investor of Italian food distribution business Mammafiore, Ramon has a wealth of knowledge spanning many facets of the business world. But that hasn’t stopped the 57-year-old father-of-three from Barcelona from developing his skills further.
After moving to Australia with his wife and teenage sons in 2018, Ramon jumped at the chance to enrol at TAFE Queensland’s Mooloolaba campus, where he's currently completing a Diploma of Business and Diploma of Leadership and Management (BSB50215/BSB51918).
“I have a friend from Barcelona who studied at TAFE Queensland in Hervey Bay and he and his family had a wonderful experience,” Ramon said.
“I started out studying English, which was a great experience with great teachers, and from there I enrolled in the Diploma of Business (BSB50215). When I saw it was offered as a dual qualification with the Diploma of Leadership and Management (BSB51918) it seemed perfect for my situation.”
Ramon spent his youth as a Nissan factory rally driver, racing across the globe for more than 20 years in prestigious competitions including the notoriously difficult Dakar Rally. At the same time, the passionate car enthusiast made a living helping people explore some of the most amazing places on the planet by organising 4x4 adventures around the world.
In 2004, Ramon decided to use his knowledge of the motor industry to start his own business. Dedicated to launching new international vehicles for a variety of car manufacturers, some of the brands among his clientele include Nissan, Toyota, Lexus, Mitsubishi and VW. Driving Events has since grown so successful that Ramon split the company into two, establishing Driving Logistics in 2017.
In 2010, Ramon also diverged into food distribution by investing in Mammafiore, which he continues to run simultaneously with Driving Events and Driving Logistics from Australia while he studies. It’s a lot to juggle, but for Ramon it’s been an incredibly valuable experience — particularly over the last few months.
“You don’t realise what you'll have to deal with until you're in front of any management challenges, and this applies to both your jobs and your personal life. I really enjoyed the emotional intelligence unit and learning to understand our own personal leadership style,” Ramon said.
“I now have a clear strategy for both companies — the biggest challenge is to keep my teams motivated and thinking positively about the future.”
Although he's already completed an international business course and training in sales in the past, Ramon said his TAFE Queensland diploma has provided him with many valuable lessons that he wishes he knew sooner.
“My goal was to learn as much as possible about what you need to know to improve and build a business. I like all the subjects we are studying because they have a direct relationship with business in reality,” Ramon said.
“From my perspective, it's helped me understand my mistakes and learn from them. But the leadership side of my studies has been fantastic too; to do business you must integrate management knowledge, but without leadership it would be very difficult to succeed in any of the other areas.”
Above all else, it's the dedication and professionalism of his teachers that has impressed Ramon most — values he said they've demonstrated first hand throughout his entire experience.
“The greatest value to a company is its people. My teachers were great and during the last few months in particular, they've showed incredible management and leadership. They quickly and successfully transitioned my course online, and have been delivering it with the same encouragement, empathy and energy that we've had since the beginning of the course."