Berto Guerra Jr., CEO and President of Avanzar Interior Technologies, sits on the floor of his San Antonio plant
"Si, puede!" Yes you can.
Three words launched five Latin CEOs in San Antonio in their joint venture for success.
In 18% of the US population, Latinos have accounted for 82% of US workforce growth since the financial crisis.
This is according to the Latin Donor Collective US Latin America GDP Report, prepared by researchers from the Lutheran University of California Center for Economic Research and Forecasting and UCLA's Center for Latin Health and Culture Studies.
However, how do Latinos – a group that grows six times faster than non-Latino populations – prepare to assume executive leadership roles?
Meet the & # 39; Five Compadres & # 39;
Toyota's five Compadres, Level 1 suppliers for its San Antonio pickup truck plant. From left: Frank Herrera, Berto Guerra, Rosa Santana, Fernando Reyes and Max Navarro.
- Frank Herrera, CEO of Hero Logistics | Provides internal logistics.
- Berto Guerra Jr., President and CEO of Avanzar Interior Technologies | Manufactures vehicle seats.
- Rosa Santana, owner and CEO of Forma Automotive, becomes Toyota's first Tier 1 direct supplier to Hispanic woman | Provides fully assembled truck beds for Tacoma trucks.
- Fernando Reyes, founder of Reyes Automotive Group | Produces injection molding and carpet for pickup trucks.
- Max Navarro, Founder and President of Vutex | Assemble shipping kits for assembly line.
The group is comprised of a lawyer, a STEM professional, a human resources specialist, and two business owners from various companies, all established Latin business leaders from various industries.
And while the five had no automotive manufacturing experience, Toyota still approached them to become the first Latin American manufacturers to supply products directly to the company without intermediaries – also known as Tier 1 suppliers.
Toyota decided in 2003 to buy 2,600 acres of predominantly Latin farm land (64%) In San Antonio and build your new Tundra and Tacoma pickup plant.
One of the company's first tasks was to identify and train local entrepreneurs.
Today, Compadres' business assembles a variety of automotive components including wheels, tires and truck bodies built entirely inside vehicles, including carpet and plastics.
CNBC Invest In You: Ready. Set. Grow sought the best advice for young Latin entrepreneurs looking for their own path to success.
Max Navarro: No experience? No problems!
The leap into manufacturing was not easy.
"Many of us had business experience, but none of us knew how to build a truck," said Navarro, founder and president of Vutex, San Antonio's first Hispanic-owned scientific research company.
"But we all put together some kind of common denominator that helped each other grow."
Navarro said that lack of experience often leads to a dubious "can't do" mentality, but for him, no experience is no problem.
Toyota's Texas plant, with the help of Compadres companies, now produces more than 200,000 pickups a year.
"Finally, we answered the $ 64,000 question:" Will people be able to manufacture trucks in San Antonio? "Said Navarro.
"There is no doubt that the question was answered. Yes."
Berto Guerra Jr: Surround yourself with smarter people
In the beginning, Compadres were paired with experienced Toyota Level 1 suppliers to form joint ventures. They traveled throughout the US and Japan to learn about business, supplier processes and "Toyota Way. "
"One advice my dad always gave me was" Don't be afraid to surround yourself with people who are smarter than you, "said Guerra, president and CEO of Avanzar Interior Technologies.
Guerra grew up in San Antonio with his family and lived in a small room behind his father's barber shop. His father gave his first job to War – greeting customers as they walked in and giving them a shoe shine for a few cents.
Humility was a lesson that Guerra learned from an early age.
"There is no shame in knowing when you need help," Guerra said. "Especially when help from others ensures your long-term success."
Rosa Santana: Believe in Yourself and Raise Others
Rosa Santana, CEO of Forma Automotive and Founder of Santana Group
The four original Compadres became five in 2014 when Rosa Santana, the first "comadre", joined the team a decade after the Texas plant opened. With her, she brought over three decades of experience in the personnel industry and previously provided human resources services to her now fellow companions.
"I think all Compadres come from underserved communities and somehow someone gave us an opportunity," said Santana, CEO of Automotive Form.
Santana now acts as a direct supplier of fully assembled trucks.
"Sometimes I think Latinos, especially Latino women, think we can't do the same, or we're not prepared to be leaders," she said. "We have to do everything to empower ourselves and our people."
Frank Herrera: The Latin Agenda is the US Agenda
"We must understand that we are advancing not only in the Latin cause, but equally important in the US cause," said Herrera, owner and president of the Herrera Law Office and president of Hero Assemblers and Hero Logistics.
An estimated 55 million Latinos live in the US, according to the US Census Bureau. This number represents 18% of the country's population and is officially the largest ethnic or racial minority in Latin America.
Herrera said Latinos need to leverage their role in the workforce as a major driver of future US economic growth.
"If the United States 100 years from now is predominantly Latino, we have to prepare to assume these leadership roles."
Fernando Reyes: Remember, "si, puede"
"Si puede," said Reyes, founder of Reyes Automotive Group.
Born and raised in San Antonio, Reyes has decades of business and business experience, including stints in the Department of Defense, Department of Housing and Urban Development, and IRS.
In 2007 and 2008, he was president of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of San Antonio.
At his inaugural dinner, Reyes addressed his fellow Compadres.
"I said, 'To my friends, I know that we will do well in San Antonio, we will do well in our country and we will show everyone we can, because yes, if you can.'
Since then, Reyes has continued to remind himself, his fellow Compadres, and his community that "Yes, if you can! Yes, you can!"
Disclosure: NBCUniversal and Comcast Ventures are Investors in Acorns.
. (tagsToTranslate) Careers (t) Automobiles (t) Investment Strategy (t) Personal Finance (t) Toyota Motor Corp (t) Business News