May 9, 2003

Working towards a solid business community

The Mexican Business Council of San Diego

By Mariana Martinez

San Diego County is the home to half a million people of Mexican decent, representing almost 30% of the San Diego’s total population, a number that influences growth decisions and business proposals in the area. This and with Mexico on our border makes this County an ideal location for cutting-edge businesses and a vibrant center for entrepreneurial prospects.

Mexican business people all over the United States have benefited from consolidating Mexican Business Councils as a way to establish communication channels that will help unite, develop, and strengthen the presence of its members in the United States private and public sector by changing the general outlook of business relations.

A group of Mexican-American San Diego businesspersons have caught up with the growing relevance of San Diego County in the private business sector and decided to create the Mexican Business Council of San Diego (MBCSD) aiming to generate innovated projects and promote investments by combining their business strategies and improving the quality of negotiations, that is, building unity and strength to benefit their own business practices.

It has forty-five founding members, but the meetings usually have more people attending at the Mexican General Council in San Diego, where they meet and discuss issues in relationship to the Mexican community.

Rodulfo Figueroa Aramoni, General Consul of México in San Diego, California is acting as Honorary President and has been involved in the development of the MBCSD since it began about a year ago.

The council’s board of directors is include Mr. Luis Maizel, acting president; Mr. Aaron Feldman and Mr. José Mazón, acting vice presidents; Mr. Victor Villalpana, acting secretary; Mr. Roberto Cornejo, acting treasurer, all volunteering their time and effort for what they believe is important to the Mexican-American community.

Maizel is the first president of the council; he has served as president and chief operating officer of Industrias Kuick, S.A. in Mexico City from 1981 to 1984; senior research associate at the Harvard Business School in Boston from 1979 to 1981; and chief financial officer of Cubiertos Finos, S.A. in Mexico City.

He currently works as senior managing director and portfolio manager for San Diego-based LM Capital Group, LLC, a leading provider of fixed-income investment services to institutional investors. Maizel, who founded LM Capital Group in 1989 with John Chalker, also serves as the firm’s chief executive officer and chief investment strategist, setting investment policy and sector allocation targets as well as managing domestic Core Plus and Emerging Market Debt fixed-income portfolios for his institutional clients.

Mr. Maizel is quick to declare the intentions of this council is in no way to be a “country club for the rich” but a well structured mechanism to help launch new business ideas and connect buyers, sellers, and service providers, an approach, he said, that can benefit the Mexican community and San Diego as a whole. In his view, the Council can:

· Establish relationships between businesspeople, helping them take advantage of unused resources and business connections.

· The MBCSD can be a support mechanism for Mexicans with established business or serve as a guide for those who just arrived in the area and are in search of some advice.

· Help Mexican industries along the border region get easier access to United States business by meeting with the council and working on proposals with the help of people in the field.

· Build a strong and flowing relationship along the border to make an integrated business community, for better decision making abilities for all its members.

Maizel tells how most Mexican businesspeople tend to “import” the way they do business in México, where things are more personal and informal. When they do business in San Diego-or anywhere else in the United States- there not just “translating” but they have to adapt and be consistent to their new, more formal environment. “When in Rome, do as the Romans” he laughs.

The MBCSD count among its members; lawyers, radio managers, car salespeople, tortilla company owners and bankers who plan to work through diverse ad hoc committees and use MBCSD as a forum in which individuals from a variety of the County’s most important economic clusters will have the opportunity to interchange ideas, brainstorm new projects and learn form their experiences taking advantage of the ongoing and increasingly strong binational relationship that exists between Mexico and the United States.

The MBCSD is currently promoting the establishment of the Mexican Business Council of the United States of America by July of this year, working with other business Councils and organizations established in Houston and San Antonio, TX.

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