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From college scholar to COO: An AboitizPower story of success

Perseverance, dedication, and determination define those who strive for a great future.

Driven by will and ambition, Visayan Electric Company (Veco) President and Chief Operating Officer Engineer Raul Lucero is a perfect example of this.

Engr. Raul is an exceptional leader and a beacon for others. Despite all of the challenges of his earlier years, he has maintained a focused eye on his goals — climbing the ladder and leaving fruits as he continues his ascent.

The foundation of those values started when he entered the seminary in high school. With that whole experience, his discipline and outlook in life changed.

Fate led Engr. Raul to Don Bosco Seminary College in Canlubang, Laguna, where he took up a Bachelor’s degree in Industrial Education. He left two years later upon realizing that religious life was not for him.

He went back to his hometown of Cebu and pursued his dream as an electrical engineer. In 1986, he transferred to the University of San Jose Recoletos and took up Electrical Engineering where he was an irregular student.

It was in 1988 when he, then a regular third year student, learned about the Aboitiz Scholarship through his university’s student affairs office.

"I read in our school bulletin board about the Aboitiz Scholarship and I applied. On the exam day, there were 20 students from different universities. But later on, only two passed the written exam, including me,” he said.

As the eldest of five, Engr. Raul wanted to help his parents, especially since his siblings were also pursuing their education.

"I had to find ways to help my parents shoulder the burden of paying for our educational expenses which is why I applied for that scholarship," he shared.

A year later, during his fourth year in university, he was sent to Davao for his on-the-job training at Aboitiz Power Corporation (AboitizPower) subsidiary Davao Light and Power Company (Davao Light), foreshadowing his development as part of AboitizPower and the energy industry.

He completed his Electrical Engineering degree in March 1990. After graduating, he took up Communication as his summer subject at the University of San Carlos.

In the same year, he also enrolled in six units of Electrical Communications Engineering, supplementing the subjects in the same field which he took in college. The additional units earned him a degree for that course.

Now a double-degree holder, he took the board exams of both engineering professions in the same year, passed, and even placed eighth in the October 1990 Electrical Engineering board examinations.

In the following month, he started working for Davao Light.

"My first assignment in Davao Light was in the Material Management Department or warehouse during that time. My main task then was to familiarize myself with all the materials needed in lining the electricity. I was in the stock room, and since I was there, I was also asked to join the materials together. As a ‘bodeguero,’ I had the opportunity to know and learn the different kinds of materials used in the lining," Engr. Raul shared.

He also experienced becoming the company's messenger during the day and an assistant lineman at night. Despite the difficulties of his first stint, he remained steadfast and resilient in doing his duties.

Among his greatest contributions to Davao Light was a software application he developed in 1993. Enough books and experimentation on the computer enabled Engr. Raul to complete an automated mapping system using the drafting program AutoCAD. The computerized mapping software was similar to present-day Google Maps.

A year later, he became the manager of the Line Service Department which marked the beginning of his journey as a team leader in Davao Light.

With exemplary performance in his duties, he was later on promoted to manager in the new Department System of Engineering System in 1996. He continued to go up the proverbial corporate ladder and was promoted to Assistant Vice President (VP) of the Electrical Operation Division a year after. He was further promoted to VPof Davao Light’s Engineering Department in 1999.

After spending five years as VP in Davao Light, he moved to another AboitizPower business unit; this time as Vice President of Veco in 2004.

“I was supposed to retire in 2019, but I was honored with the responsibility of being the Veco President in January 2020," he said.

Several challenges awaited him in his first year as president, including the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and Typhoon Odette in 2021. He stayed strong and made it a point to be always visible to his colleagues — a true trait of a great leader who will always choose to lead in any situation.

"When you are young, try to develop all the skills that you can develop and do not wait for people to teach you. You should be the one to manage your own learning. If you want to learn a certain thing, ask people to teach you. These people have their own day jobs, own responsibilities. If you do not ask them, they will not know your problems. Don’t be afraid to ask. There is no limit to learning," Engr. Raul said, advising the youth.

From a hopeful scholar to an inspirational leader, Engr. Raul shows us that with determination and ambition, anything is possible.

This article was written by Glaire Zhealo Colonia and first appeared on the Freeman on July 28, 2023


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