Alumni Spotlight

The FIU Legacy of Jose Manuel Diaz ’86

Jose Manuel Diaz ’86, Principal of Compass Office Solutions, is no stranger to the FIU Legacy. Despite being a first generation college student, Diaz comes from a large Panther family – and we don’t just mean being part of our 200,000+ proud graduates. He and his five siblings, as well as 25 of his 29 first cousins, have all graduated with various degrees from FIU. Diaz even met his wife, Beatriz Lecusay-Diaz ‘87, at FIU’s Green Library.

With over 30 graduates coming from Diaz’s family alone, and his daughter now joining as a freshman, it’s no surprise that FIU has played a pivotal role in the shaping of his and his family’s lives. “I see how FIU has been an essential part of the academic formation of my family and how we are all successful in each of our fields thanks in part to the FIU degrees we all share,” Diaz explained.

jose-diaz-family-2Unbeknownst to Diaz, attending FIU and creating connections within the University would have a direct and positive impact on his future career.

Growing up, Diaz was immersed in his father’s food distribution business, and as a result, he wanted to learn more about the science of creating his own flourishing company.

When asked if any professor made a significant impact on this career goal, he shared the powerful influence his marketing professor Dr. Nicholls had, “He set up a 3 month internship [with the Gorman Family] that introduced me to the commercial office furniture business. I eventually grew to become the General Manager of the company and when the company was sold 9 years ago we started Compass Office Solutions.”

“So you can say that my career was born in my Marketing Research class with Dr. Nicholls”, Diaz expressed simply.

FIU and its professors were vital in providing him with the tools necessary to succeed. “I would describe my years as a student as very strong educational years that gave me the knowledge and confidence to pursue my business career”, he reminisced. Though, ultimately, it was up to Diaz to put the skills he learned to use and become the successful business owner he is today.

Compass Office Solutions is stronger than ever and when asked what lies ahead, Diaz shared, “The future is bright for Compass Office Solutions. We are going to expand our brand. Compass is recognized among the leading organizations in our industry in South Florida. We have changed the landscape and we plan on continuing to lead the industry to produce effective and productive working environments for the South Florida business community by striving to find A Better Way for everything we do.”

Today, Diaz and Office Compass Solutions continue to foster their relationship with FIU by furnishing many projects at the University. Through this same ongoing involvement, they have also been able to develop business relationships with companies such as City National Bank Headquarters, Preferred Health Care Headquarters, TotalBank Headquarters and many others.

When asked what advice he would impart onto students and young alumni, he expressed, ”…build strong, meaningful relationships at FIU and maintain them when you move on to other endeavors. I believe this will be the measure of your success and the success of our FIU in the future.”

In 2013, Diaz was inducted into the College of Business’ Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame by receiving their Founder Award.

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