After achieving the rank of sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps, Ron Fortin ‘08 left military service and started college. He arrived at Trinity as a transfer student in August 2005 and graduated three years later with a degree in marketing and finance with an emphasis in entrepreneurship. He started a business in Guatemala to connect certified Spanish teachers with Americans who want to become fluent in the language. Now, Fortin wants to mentor young entrepreneurs, but please, turn off that alarm clock! To learn more, keep reading.
What is your favorite memory from your time at Trinity?
There are so many to choose from! This is a two part memory... I remember sitting in Laurie Auditorium during orientation, listening to all of the speakers and thinking, "This is such a great opportunity, I can't believe I get to attend this school!" and then I remember graduating in Laurie Auditorium and thinking, "Wow, I'm so thankful I got to have all of these experiences."
Who was your favorite professor or class at Trinity?
Favorite professor was Charlene Davis in marketing. She encouraged us to think outside of the box and allowed us to try things that went against the grain. My favorite class was “Risk and Reward” taught by adjunct professor Craig Wilson. It was a six-person class where we used Harvard case studies to analyze business scenarios and not only learned how to build financial models from scratch, but also learned how to actually use them to make very real decisions.
Is there something you regret not pursuing while at Trinity?
More classes unrelated to my major, business administration. I really wish I would have taken advantage of more English or writing classes, anything communications related, or more computer programming-related classes. Additionally, I wish I would have gone to more lectures, performances, and sporting events. I was really focused on my GPA, but in hindsight, I would trade a few A's for A-'s in exchange for some of those non-grade related experiences.
Describe Trinity in 3-5 words.
Vast opportunities to those seeking.
How did you get involved in your career?
Out of Trinity, I became a consultant in the telecom space. Left that to become a director of a school for impoverished students in Guatemala. Needed to learn Spanish, so I did that online, before that was a thing. Thought, "Hey this is pretty effective, I'm pretty sure there's a business here." Decided to start a business in Guatemala that bridges together certified Spanish teachers living in Guatemala with students in the U.S. who need Spanish credit and want to become fluent in Spanish, all taught online, via Google Hangouts.
Who inspires you and why?
The students of the recent tragic shooting of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. I'm inspired because they have the audacity to believe that they can be the catalyst to change. I believe they can do it and will.
What profession other than yours would you like to attempt? Why?
In the future, I will attempt being an investor and mentor to young companies. I think once you've been through the entrepreneurial wringer, you hunger to be around others who are also passionate about ideas or businesses, and love to execute their visions.
What sound do you love? The sound you hate?
I love the sound of a saxophone. I hate the sound of my alarm clock.
What is your favorite color and why?
Black. I have very favorable associations with the color black: black belt (martial arts), Batman, Black Panther, Knight Rider, chocolate.
Where would you like to retire?
I think the "where" is less relevant to me. I just want to be with my wife and family; anywhere in the world is fine. To answer "when," however, I don't think I'm ever going to "retire" in the traditional sense. I will always continue to pursue my interests while continuing to provide value to the world.