Pedro Palomo Collazo – Trader – Interfood Inc.

It is really up to us how we want to grow our book of business as we are given the trust and freedom to do so

Hi Pedro, can you please introduce yourself?
My name is Pedro Palomo, I’m 27 years old and I am a Commodity Trader at Interfood Inc. in Miami. I was born and raised in the beautiful city of Segovia in Spain, but have been living in the United States for the last 10 years. I studied Business Management with a minor in Computer Science at Barry University in Miami. After completing my undergraduate degree I worked in the Grains division of StoneX in their Miami office, before joining the internationally renowned University of Miami to pursue a Masters of Science in Finance graduate program. I joined Interfood right after completing my Master’s degree and have been working here for the past 1.5 years. After working hours, I like to work out and practice many sports. I am very passionate about soccer and love to play and watch it as much as possible. I also really enjoy skiing which is a sport I have been practicing since I was a child (Of course since I moved to Miami it’s been tough to find any snow… water skiing is also fun though😉)

What was your motivation to start a job at Interfood?
I have always been very passionate about commodities in general as I think they are a key element in the development of any economy. During my years in University I noticed how most finance students were focused on getting jobs in investment banks or other businesses as such. That made me realize that specializing in the commodity sector would pose a competitive advantage on me so I started to learn more about commodity markets which I think sparked my passion for it. To be honest, I never thought I would end up working in the Dairy Industry, but as I was researching commodity trading companies in Miami, I came across Interfood and became very intrigued about dairy commodities and the ways in which they can be traded.

What is your favorite thing about Interfood?
One of the things that I liked the most when I first started working for Interfood was the trust and responsibilities that the company gives you at a very early stage of your career. At Interfood, your age doesn’t matter and also if you don’t have any experience in trading, we are all valued the same way. And if you have a good idea, it will always be taken in consideration. I must say that at the beginning this seemed a bit frightening and stressful, but undoubtedly, it is a tremendous way to gain confidence in the business, making my learning curve steepen every day.

Interfood invests a lot in training and educating young traders in the business and values of the company. One of the things that attracted me the most about accepting a job at Interfood was the Trade Academy they offer. They sent me, and every other Junior Trader, to their main office in the Netherlands for a month-long program in which we learn from every core discipline of the business, from quality and logistics, to finance and compliance and of course, trading. During this Academy we also had the opportunity to be mentored and trained by a big and professional group of well-experienced traders who don’t hesitate to spend time teaching us and giving us tips to be a successful trader.

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What does your average working week in trading for domestic US look like?
It is safe to say that working as a dairy commodity trader there is no such a thing as an average day. The volatility of the market and the fast-paced nature of the business makes you go through a new challenge every day. Being a commodity trader, you need to have a very entrepreneurial spirit. We don’t come to the office every week with a list of things to do, neither we are told what is expected from us that day, rather we need to seek and come up with our own ideas and opportunities. It is really up to us how we want to grow our book of business as we are given the trust and freedom to do so. Most of my days start by getting aligned with the team on the strategies we have in place that day and review all necessary steps we need to take that day to achieve them. For the rest I spend a big part of my day talking to clients and suppliers in order to figure out where supply and demand are going and based on that get an idea of what direction the market could go.

Why domestic US specifically? Interfood has many more teams, right?
As mentioned above, my life has been established in the US for the past 10 years. Therefore I became very familiar with the American culture and the way of working here which I think made me a great fit for this market. The US domestic market is very wide and active where there are endless opportunities to conclude business on a daily basis. You have to take into account that this is a 330 Million people country where dairy is an ingredient that is very present in the diet of most Americans.

Interfood has indeed many other teams that focus on different markets around the world which I also find fascinating. Although we as a company are a big group of traders spread around the world, we have a very close relationship with every colleague and are always aware of what is happening on every team and market. Each trader in the company focuses on a specific market or region, but we all have the doors open to join new teams within the company when the time is right.

What do you like the most about your job?
One of the things I like the most about my job at Interfood is the freedom and responsibility we are given and the possibility of taking (calculated) risks while closing domestic and international deals. I also really like the fact that we have to travel a lot, whether it is within the U.S. or to another country, we are almost every month on the road and that is something I really enjoy. I consider myself a very social and interactive person, and that is an aspect that is super present on my job – I am constantly talking with clients and suppliers and in many occasions have face-to-face interactions with them by either visiting them at their office or going with them for drinks or dinners. Another aspect I really enjoy about my job at Interfood is the interaction with colleagues. We have a total of 14 global offices spread around the world with many different nationalities and cultural backgrounds from which you can always learn something new.

Since you're working for Interfood for almost 1,5 years now, what is your best memory of your time at Interfood until today?
I can think of many remarkable memories for such a short time in this company. From the aforementioned Trade Academy in Holland to our latest HUB incentive event in Panama. In the Americas HUB we have offices in Miami, Uruguay, Brazil and Mexico, and for the Panama event we all flew in to Panama City and spent a weekend together where we did all kind of activities and excursions that were incredibly fun.

What can you tell about the culture and atmosphere at our office in Miami?
Miami is a super diverse city were many different nationalities come together. Nobody in Miami is really from Miami, our office is a mix of American, Uruguayan, Spanish, Colombian, Lithuanian, and Venezuelan colleagues that together form a unique atmosphere full of new ideas and ways of working. Undoubtedly a very enriching environment.

How important is the cooperation between all offices in the Americas region? Or even globally?
Interfood really lives for its purpose statement “Together for better”. All the big decisions and strategies are made together, as one big team, and therefore I think that interaction and cooperation within every office is crucial for the success of the company. Not only cooperation within traders from other offices, but also within every department such as logistics, quality, finance or supply chain. Without their help and cooperation we would not be able to be as successful as we are.

What would you say to potential Interfood team members?
First of all welcome on board! Get ready for an amazing journey and a great learning experience. Try to get the most of what this company offers, don’t be shy, ask questions and don’t be afraid to speak up! You were hired for your skills and your opinion will always be valued at this company. If you are passionate about commodity trading, you arrived in the right place!

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