Family, faith and education have been the beacons guiding Rick Lucio’s life. He was born in Brownsville, Texas, and is the youngest of 10 children. He said throughout his life he was blessed with tremendous examples from his parents and siblings of humility, never giving up on your dream and understanding right from wrong.
Lucio’s ability to heed advice has paid dividends. Today, the Texas A&M mechanical engineer graduate is the CEO and owner of Hallberg Engineering, Inc. in White Bear Lake, Minn. The electrical and mechanical engineering firm, licensed in 49 states, designs mechanical and electrical systems for all kinds of commercial buildings such as schools, office buildings, healthcare facilities, retail stores and restaurants.
“Early in my life, my inspiration came from my parents,” he said. “My parents definitely taught me right from wrong. Unlimited guidance also came from my older siblings who stressed that education was a necessity and one can be anything if educated. Today, my immediate family is my inspiration. My wife and I instill the same values we grew up with on our children.”
Lucio originally started as a design engineer with Hallberg Engineering in 1998. He worked his way up to project leader, project manager, and vice-president.
In September 2012, while still a senior officer with the company, Lucio approached the Minneapolis MBDA Business Center, operated by the Metropolitan Economic Development Association, to discuss his interest in purchasing Hallberg Engineering. He was looking for support in finding how much the business might be worth, how much capital he might need and how to approach his long term employer with a plan to buy him out.
“Our center provided a ‘rules of thumb’ valuation, and advised on potential terms and conditions of how the transaction might be structured,” said George Jacobson, Director of the Minneapolis MBDA Business Center.
Jacobson said they assisted Lucio in the development of a plan for a leveraged buy-out and brokered the legal representation and financial plan which was adopted and funded by Wells Fargo. As a result, Hallberg Engineering was able to retain 34 employees and created three new contracted positions.
“My father passed away seven years ago,” Lucio said “But my mother is still alive and I know she’s extremely proud of me.”
He said he lets people talk without interruption and listens. He allows his employees to work what they are experts in and enjoy because he said if the employees are successful in what they do best—he succeeds.
In the end, Lucio claims he has no magic formula for success. He just follows what was instilled in him while growing up, “Don’t stop trying. Keep going and never quit.”