Wingate Senior Shows Entrepreneurial Side

Lucas Cuadros’ success in marketing and entrepreneurship isn’t surprising. A native of Colombia and captain of the Wingate University swim team who will graduate with honors on Saturday, Cuadros comes from a business-oriented family.

His grandfather started a hardware store, which his father now operates. His mom has her own business, as do many of his uncles and cousins. Even as a school boy, Cuadros hawked candy and pens. In high school, he and his friends bought an industrial blender and a cooler and would get up at 4:30 a.m. to make ice cream, which they sold to the school cafeteria.

He’s worked as a research-and-development intern for his father’s business, marketed superhero swimsuits internationally and helped to build a larger market for Stone Table in Monroe.

What’s interesting about Cuadros is the motivation behind his ventures.

“It’s all about people; everything is about people,” Cuadros says. “Businesses have the opportunity to bring people together and work for a greater cause. They can be a way to solve problems for people. If you can connect the two, you can have a business that does good for the world.”

Lucas Cuadros accepts the A.F. Hendricks Award from Provost Helen Tate during an April 30 Honors and Awards Celebration.

Professors say Cuadros has brought people together for a greater cause in every class he has taken, which is one reason he was awarded the Porter B. Byrum School of Business Faculty Award last month.

“He has been a remarkable student and a joy to have walking the halls,” says Peter Frank, dean of the School of Business. “So many of the faculty say that what he does best is to make the class better.”

Cuadros said he asks a lot of questions, jokes “respectfully” in class, builds a close relationship with his professors and talks to all of his classmates.

“I am sincerely interested in learning. It’s the best gift my dad has ever given to me – how to enjoy learning,” he says. “I don’t care about the grades at all. I just want to learn, so I do a lot of reading and researching and bringing more questions to class.”

Cuadros, who has a 3.93 GPA, says he’s only able to bring his ideas and creativity to the classroom because faculty has been so supportive.

“Feeling supported by professors is what makes a difference,” he says. “In order for a student to fall in love with learning, they have to feel that support. They need to feel trusted, important, loved and cared for.”

Similarly, Cuadros believes business owners have a lot of responsibility for their employees. “You should inspire them, help them grow as a person,” he says.

Lucas Cuadros was named to the 2017 Academic All-District III at-large team, selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America. He served as a Bulldog team captain and made his third consecutive appearance at the NCAA Division II national championship meet.

It was swim coach Kirk Sanocki’s philosophy of growth that brought Cuadros to Wingate in the first place.

“One of the things I’ve enjoyed the most and learned from the most – it challenged me every single day – was swimming,” he says. “I want to emphasize the benefits of combining athletics with academics. I am truly grateful that I was able to do that.”

Although he says his last swimming season was a rough one, he says learning to motivate others even as he struggled at times was a life lesson he’ll always treasure.

The winner of the A.F. Hendricks Award and the Innovator Award, both handed out April 30, Cuadros will take his knowledge and enthusiasm for marketing to his new job at Assa Abloy in Monroe and said he’d like to work for a while before studying for his master’s degree.

Wherever life takes him, you can be sure that Cuadros will be investing in people and making every day fun.

“I believe life is the adventure that you make out of it, and that well-intentioned businesses can change the world,” he says. “I live by the motto: Leave the world better than you found it.”