In the Driver’s Seat

December 25, 2016 Elizabeth M. San Nicolas

Rick San Nicolas' career seems to have led him naturally to Lexus. The new brand manager at Atkins Kroll smiles and says, “I like seeing other people happy. I guess that’s why sales comes naturally to me.”

He moved back to Guam just five months ago after deciding with his fiancée Maria that it was time to come home and get settled before they marry next July. “Between work, working out, trying to fit in traveling when I can, and my other half, that’s basically my day.”

The son of educators Miguel and Eva San Nicolas, Rick grew up on a street named after his grandfather Enrique in Talofofo surrounded by 50 first cousins. He says his large extended family and siblings helped shape the person he has become. “I’m very ambitious, I’m very driven. My parents set the bar high, but also gave me proper support.”


Achieving goals of all kinds is what drives this ambitious southern boy. He saves money for a trip or dedicates time to meet a fitness goal. He muses, “I feel like my drive and my determination to succeed in whatever it is I do allows me to succeed inside and outside of work.”

Though his parents wanted him to become a teacher, Rick had an enterprising touch from a young age. “Growing up, there was a golf course behind my house. Me and my cousins would go in the jungle and find golf balls. We would clean them up and sell them to tourists that were driving by in golf carts,” Rick recalls, laughing.

After finishing his degrees in Business and Public Administration at the University of Guam, Rick together with Maria decided to see where opportunity would take them by moving to San Jose, California. He got a job at Google Shopping Express (now Google Express).

Then Maria’s job with a luxury shoe company led them to Los Angeles, and Rick got a job with Apple, helping customers find products to fit their needs. “It’s funny, because when I first started out in my career path, I jumped around a lot.” He adds that his parents, who had picked their career young and stuck with it, would worry and wonder when he would settle down. “Now I think I’ve found it and I’m really enjoying it. I’m happy to see where it takes me.”

Rick’s bedrock is his family. When asked who inspires him, he doesn’t hesitate to say his older brother, Senator Michael F.Q. San Nicolas. “He’s always kind of been my third parent. My rock, I would say, growing up. A lot of people think we had it easy, but our lives weren’t really easy. Our parents supported us with our education and all that, but everything we got we kind of had to earn. It’s something that I’m proud about,” he says.

He also cites the influence of his grandfather, Franklin Quitugua, a seven-time Guam senator, life-long public servant, and advocate for education. “He was someone in the community. He inspired me to want to be someone.” Undoubtedly though, his parents have kindled his dedication and work ethic. “They didn’t have it easy. They got married very young. They took turns going to school, they both got teaching degrees. They both got their masters. They both became principals. My mom eventually got her doctorate.”

Education runs thick in the family. His younger sister Faith is also a teacher, and Rick says he’s often considered going for his teaching degree, wondering if he went in the right direction. “You never know the path that God wants you to go down. He eventually guided me to this position, and it’s been great.”

After deciding to come home from the mainland, Rick applied at Atkins Kroll, but got on the plane not knowing if he’d gotten the job. He says despite the horror stories about car sales he was intrigued. “I always looked at it as similar to real estate: you determine your own success. So I came here with an open mind.”

At Lexus, Rick is bringing his appreciation for hard work to his role as sales manager. He steeples his fingers and says, “I hope to learn as much as I can in my current role. I’d like to grow and learn from the many different managers we have.”

Rick credits his amazing team for accepting him and his management style. “They were very established in the car industry, and I was coming from nowhere, really.” Currently driving a demo Lexus RX350 F Sport, Rick says, “I really enjoy the RX, I think it’s a great vehicle.” He says the SUV is great for Guam’s imperfect roads. He adds, “We have a great group of guys, who respect each other. I want to give a shout out to my entire team for giving me the opportunity and allowing us to succeed as a team.”

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