Much as it’s thrilling to execute on a well-laid plan, sometimes the things you don’t plan for – and couldn’t have planned for if you tried in a million years! – are the most fun and satisfying of all.

Case in point: Our discovery of Alejandro. Alejandro LaCaria is studying Chemical Engineering at the Universidad Tecnica Nacional. When our WFL Buenos Aires Project Manager Erica Lee was on the radio in late October to promote the fundraiser she was throwing in Toronto, Alejandro was listening from Argentina.

The Waste for Life core team (Eric, Caroline, Erica) with Alejandro La Caria, Director of Ingenieros para Cambio Argentina, talking over the machine design projects we will be collaborating on.

What was a 22-year-old Argentinian university student doing listening to the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation)? Turns out he’s something of a Toronto-phile, having visited there for a few months earlier this year, and often tunes into Matt Galloway on Metro Morning, or Sook Yin Lee on Definitely Not the Opera. When he heard Erica’s spot on Metro Morning about Waste for Life, he contacted us immediately to see how he could help.

Just a few days into our visit here, we arrranged to meet up with him. He got started right away, helping Erica create the Spanish subtitles for the wallet-making video that RISD created for us, and was full of other ideas and excitement about the project. Based on our initial conversations and his great interest in the project, he has founded his own organization called Ingenieros para Cambio Argentina or ‘Engineers for Change’.

Besides being a lovely person, he is ambitious and is clearly showing tremendous leadership potential. His network of engineers and machine builders (comprised so far of his friends and classmates, with lots of potential to grow!) will be collaborating with us on some machine design projects. Having him as part of our network has really prompted us all to remember that you just never know what do expect, and we feel really lucky to have him on board.