Two University of San Diego business school alumni, whose family business, Xignux, has become one of Mexico’s leading industrial conglomerates with exports to more than 40 countries, will be honored at the Author E. Hughes Career Achievement Awards May 11.
The awards, named for USD’s former president, honor alumni who have achieved outstanding success in their fields.
Brothers Andres and David Garza Herrera are the honorees from the School of Business Administration. Andres Garza earned his M.B.A. from USD in 1994 and David Garza received a master’s in international business in 1997. Their brother Eugenio Garza is CEO and president of the board of the firm, which was founded by their father in 1956.
Both Andres and David Garza used the lessons in finance and international business to help Xignux grow into a conglomerate with more than 27,000 employees selling auto parts, lighting, chemicals, food, electrical and other goods.
Andres Garza, who has an undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering, says he chose USD because of the small classes where he would have lots of interaction with professors and students. He says a class in international negotiations, with students from France, Greece and other countries, taught him a lot about how people think about business “based on our (respective) cultures.”
The class has been critical to the firm’s success. “It really helps to know the culture to get ventures going,” says andres Garza, who puts together deals with the Japanese for the firm’s auto parts division.
Xignux’ partners include corporate giants like General Electric and Sara Lee. The company hasn’t done a lot of business with San Diego firms, but that’s likely to change, given the region’s focus in telecommunications and automakers’ interest in integrating high-tech communications into the cars of the future, Andres Garza says. “The environment is so dynamic, some type of deal is bond to pop up.”
Andres Garza says he and his brother have many good memories of USD and are proud to receive the award. “We feel we are representing our university and our country, and we feel a need to succeed not only for ourselves, but also for USD.”
“Our alumni are making a difference in the world,” says USD President Alice B. Hayes. “These distinguished honorees represent a proud tradition of excellence and service to the community.”
The Hughes honoree from the College of Arts and Sciences is Bill Gore, special agent in charge of the San Diego division of the FBI and a leader in the fight against terrorism and illegal drugs. Lynn Schenk, the first Congresswoman from San Diego and now Gov. Gray Davis’ chief of staff, is the honoree from the School of Law. From the School of Education, Judy Rauner will be honored for her work in organizing thousands of USD students to volunteer as tutors and mentors to local youth. Ruth Grendell, who has led yearly expeditions to provide immunizations in Africa, South America and china, is the honoree from the Hahn School of Nursing and Health Science.
The black-tie Hughes Awards gala takes place Saturday May 11 at the Manchester Grand Hyatt at 6:30 p.m. Individual tickets are $100 and tables can also be purchased. For more information call 619-260-4819 or go to http://alumni.sandiego.edu/hughesawards.