Tony Gonzalez, a manager within ScottMadden’s energy practice, joined the firm in 2016 after an impressive 14-year career within the utility industry. Leveraging this experience, Tony serves on the leadership team for the firm’s Transmission & Distribution and Grid Edge Communities of Practice. Most recently, Tony worked on engagements at a top-five leading energy provider and within the Caribbean on initiatives in Aruba and his home country of Puerto Rico, where he feels strongly about giving back.
Tony was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico. With constant warm weather, he developed a love for baseball and surfing. He also spent time playing instruments made by his grandfather. Early in Tony’s childhood, his father joined the navy, temporarily transporting his family to Norfolk, Virginia. As his family transitioned, Tony and his older sister were sent back to San Juan to live with his grandparents. He later rejoined his parents in Virginia Beach, where fortunately he was able to continue his outdoor hobbies. Upon his arrival, Tony was amazed by the country’s well-engineered infrastructure and wide-open natural spaces the United States offered. He admired the diversity of America—its people, food, music, and landscapes. Tony embraced every element of his new life.
Following high school, Tony enrolled in a three-two program with Fort Valley State University and Georgia Tech. Within his home, Tony’s family spoke Spanish, ate Puerto Rican food, and listened to Latino music. His experience at Fort Valley offered another cultural shift—his freshman-year roommate was a southerner from Albany, Georgia. Tony was quickly immersed in the southern dialect, hearing terms such as “fixin’ to” and “reckon” in daily conversations. Despite their cultural differences, Tony’s Fort Valley peers welcomed him with open arms. Tony recalls, “It was the most inclusive environment I have ever been a member of.”
From these experiences, Tony developed the ability to adapt to change and find the good in any situation. “If there is a basic goodness within someone, I feel like I can immediately find the value of and grow to understand that individual. Through my consultant career, I have been able to use this skillset to interact with a variety of clients at varying capacities,” he explains.
In the temporary absence of his father, Tony formed a special bond with his grandfather, who remains a role model to this day. As a laborer for the utility, his grandfather was always building and tinkering. He taught Tony how to raise animals, use a machete in the field, install wiring, and fix lawn mowers and cars. Tony explains, “While my dad has been an excellent father, for a short time my grandfather filled the traditional father role and added to it. As I now father my two children, I aim to share his interests with my kids, who now salsa dance around the house and attend Atlanta United MLS games, just as my grandfather did.”
Another mentor greatly influenced Tony’s academic pursuits, his math teacher, Mr. Coleman. In high school, Tony was a talented athlete. Though academically inclined, he believed baseball was his ticket to success, and practice and training often took precedent over academics. Mr. Coleman recognized this academic potential within Tony and mentored him through high school and through the college process, explaining “life is about having choices, and being successful in college will provide you those choices.” He invited college recruiters to speak with Tony, and ultimately, helped Tony accept his academic scholarship to attend Fort Valley, where he received a B.S. in mathematics, and Georgia Tech, where he received a B.S. in electrical and computer engineering. Feeling extra motivated, Tony later achieved an M.B.A. from Georgia State University. What’s more, Tony was the first in his family to graduate from college. Tony believes that he was able to do this because of the strong support and encouragement of his parents and the mentors in his life, such as his grandfather and Mr. Coleman.
Paying It Forward
Outside of ScottMadden, Tony is a lifelong volunteer and advocate for the Hispanic community. He currently sits on the board of three organizations, two of which are family and children oriented—Agape Youth & Family Center and Ser Familia. “As a child, I had every need these organizations support. I know first-hand the impact mentors like Mr. Coleman can have, which is why I am so passionate about giving back and encouraging my family to do the same.”
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