Roger Prado: Living a new dream at NC

Mature NC student and research assistant with Research & Innovation Roger Prado was once a rising soccer star in Brazil. Family circumstances changed his career path and he’s now living a new dream with his family in the Niagara region.

In Brazil, the sport of soccer (football) is a way of life. Some might even say it’s intrinsic to the identity of the country. Roger Prado, a Niagara College mature student and Brazilian, can attest to that philosophy.

Once a young rising soccer star – he was even courted by professional clubs in Rio de Janeiro – Prado dreamed of making a living playing the sport he loves so much. Despite his natural talent, family circumstances would sideline those goals; but not his passion for the game years later.

Today, he is living in Niagara with his family and studying in NC’s International Business Management program, after completing the one-year Hospitality and Tourism Management program in 2019. And he was recently hired on as a research assistant for the Business & Commercialization Solutions team, part of the Research & Innovation division.

“I love having the opportunity to work as a business research assistant at Niagara College,” says Prado. “It is a new field of study for me and I am already learning a lot from it, expanding my knowledge.”

At 44, Prado boasts an impressive career in information technology, telecommunications and computer science, acquired while in Brazil. This after earning a Bachelor degree in Computer Science at the University of Taubaté, Sao Paulo in 1999 and a graduate degree in Telecommunications in 2003. He has garnered expertise in computer science, microcomputers, application software packages, data communication and database programming.

“This business research assistant position has given me the opportunity to apply what I’m learning in the classroom, while providing me valuable on-the-job learning experience.”

During his professional experience Prado worked for American multinational Delphi Automotive Systems, before moving on to Ericsson Telecommunications, another global giant from Sweden. At Ericsson, he was a telecom analyst and software designer for projects around the world.

While Ericsson was a great opportunity, like most Brazilians, family is the cornerstone of daily life and Prado’s job was about three hours from his family home. He missed his parents and family; and so he accepted a position at LG’s electronic factory, in the same city as his parents. He was a senior process analyst of all production areas of mobile phones, and earned his Black Belt certification in Six Sigma (an analytical framework used to test hypothesis and validate data).

“At LG I had most of my working experience, gained a lot of knowledge and above all, the most important, met my wife Lydia.”

Prado stayed at LG for 17 years, got married and started a family.

In all of his positions with global companies, Prado credits his hiring to the experience of spending three years in Florida, during his father’s distinguished military career.

 “I had the chance there to have some amazing experiences; a chance to learn another culture, a new language, make new friends and learn how to face the difficulties of new experiences.”

During high school there, while earning academic honours, Prado once again excelled in soccer. He played for the school’s varsity team and even earned most valuable player for a season, along with other trophies.

Roger Prado, son Vinicius, 10, his wife Lydia and son Pedro, 16.

The experience in Florida stayed with Prado throughout his life and motivated him to want to provide a similar experience he had in the west for his own family. In 2019, he set his sights on Canada – the Niagara region in particular – after learning about Niagara College while attending a college fair in Brazil.

 “We chose the Niagara region for its calmness and being able to give our family a better quality life,” explains Prado.

In his first project since joining the R&I team early October, Prado is working with an industry partner wanting to sell a B2B innovative product. 

“Our business research group provides suggestions on how to promote the sales on the company’s website, and how to capture the attention of possible clients,” Prado says, adding that his technological experience has been put to good use in implementing the client’s initial website.

He’s learning about marketing strategies and how to implement marketing campaigns for industry partners seeking to increase their sales, attract customers and build a strong brand image. He’s also benefitting by improving his writing and speaking skills interacting with clients in a real-world setting.

“This business research assistant position has given me the opportunity to apply what I’m learning in the classroom, while providing me valuable on-the-job learning experience.”

Living in Niagara Falls with his family – his wife and two sons – soccer is never far from Prado’s mind. Accordingly, he volunteers as assistant head coach for the Niagara United Soccer Club.

“I can show them not only technical skills and about winning games, but also about how to be a team, to support each other and learn from our difficulties, losses and successes.”

Believing it’s important to adapt to Canadian culture, Prado is also taking up the game of hockey.