Distinguished Alumnus Profile - Joe Delgadillo

Joe Delgadillo graduation picture

Retired CEO cites MATC instructors’ transformative influence

Distinguished Alumnus Profile - Joe Delgadillo

When Joe Delgadillo was named chief executive officer of Metavante Corporation in 1998, he had more than a decade of executive-level leadership experience and a Master of Business Administration from a prestigious university on his résumé. But Delgadillo cites two additional contributors to his success: commitment to hard work, which he learned from his father, and confidence in his abilities, which he learned at MATC.

Delgadillo’s father, who didn’t attend school beyond third grade in his native Mexico, worked in a Milwaukee tannery. The job required physical strength and long hours in difficult working conditions, but he persevered in order to make a living for his wife and nine children.

“My parents valued education,” Delgadillo said, “and I attended an excellent college-prep high school – Don Bosco (now St. Thomas More). But my grades were below average and I was told I was not college material.”

So Delgadillo joined his father at the tannery following high school graduation. After a couple of years, he enrolled at MATC while keeping his full-time tannery job.

MATC gave me confidence to continue my education. The community needs a place where people can realize their abilities and their potential to move forward.

Joe Delgadillo, MATC Graduate CEO, Metavante Corporation (retired)

“I chose MATC because it had a good reputation and was affordable,” he explained. “I didn’t know if I would be successful at college, but my instructors helped me recognize my interests and abilities, and I did well academically. This gave me the confidence to think that a four-year university and even graduate school would be possible.”

He transferred to the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, worked full time and continued to achieve excellent grades. Also while at UW-Milwaukee, Delgadillo and his wife, Vickie, who met at MATC, were married. Although he was interested in pursuing graduate studies to become a psychologist, he could not afford it. He was hired by IBM Corporation after earning his bachelor’s degree in 1977, and worked nine years in sales and management.

In 1986, Delgadillo joined M&I Data Services in Milwaukee, a financial software and services division of M&I Corporation that was later named Metavante. As a senior vice president in 1990, Delgadillo enrolled in Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management Executive MBA Program, which required attending weekend classes in Evanston, Illinois, for two years.

Completing the rigorous master’s program while also expanding his leadership role at M&I was challenging, but his commitment to hard work and education paid off. He became M&I Data Services’ president and chief operating officer in 1993, and chief executive officer five years later.

Named MATC’s Distinguished Alumnus in 2019

Metavante became an industry leader, offering advanced technology for a range of financial services. Delgadillo’s focus on innovation to meet emerging market needs led to high rates of growth: The $10 million company became a $700 million company and its employee base grew from 750 to 5,000.

Delgadillo’s career also includes leading Wausau Financial Systems Inc. as the company’s chief executive officer for five years, retiring in 2010.

He has served on boards for several corporations and nonprofit organizations, including the United Community Center in Milwaukee. He helped raise funds to expand Bruce-Guadalupe School, and was a mentor to Nativity Jesuit Academy middle school students in the south-side Milwaukee neighborhood where he grew up.

In recognition of his path from MATC to executive leadership roles at major corporations and his contributions to the community, Delgadillo was named a Distinguished Alumnus in 2019 and he gave the keynote address at MATC’s commencement ceremony in May.

He maintains high regard for the college’s role in the community. “MATC gave me confidence to continue my education,” he said. “The community needs a place where people can realize their abilities and their potential to move forward.” Noting the college’s vital role in preparing a strong workforce for local employers, especially as technology evolves, he added that “MATC provides the education people need to enter a career, and also to progress through continuous education.”

Are you an MATC alum? We’d love to hear from you. Contact Alumni Coordinator Bob Holland, 414-297-6825, MATCalumni@matc.edu.