School of Business Honors Leaders at Event with Keynote Speaker Ray L. Hunt
BROWNSVILLE, TEXAS – MARCH 23, 2012 – Two hundred fifty business leaders from throughout the region attended the first Business Appreciation Breakfast hosted by the School of Business at The University of Texas at Brownsville and Texas Southmost College held Friday, March 23 in the Student Union El Gran Salón.
The keynote speaker was Ray L. Hunt, President and Chief Executive Officer of Hunt Consolidated, Inc., and also Chairman of Hunt Consolidated Energy and Hunt Consolidated Investments.
“The stars have aligned for the Rio Grande Valley,” Hunt said. “There is great activity occurring in the region with development in educational opportunities that will create a base for growth, with collaboration as an important component of this.”
Hunt spoke of the competition that existed between Dallas and Fort Worth years ago and how through good leadership the two cities came together to create DFW Airport for the region, benefitting both cities.
“Similarly, the Port of Brownsville isn’t just Brownsville’s port; it’s for the entire Valley,” Hunt said. “And the education system is crucial, along with enlightened leadership. Mayors, commissioners, public officials and civic leaders all need to strive to create something bigger for all.”
Hunt spoke of what he looks for in an employee, saying it all goes back to his first business principle of shared values and work ethic.
“We have the greatest group of men and women,” Hunt said. “Four years ago, we started an intern program. We make sure the interns have a meaningful experience. I’d say about 40-50 percent who participate as interns get hired.”
The School of Business honored three area business leaders: Sergio Argüelles Guiterrez, Jo Rae Wagner and Rene Capistran. To view a video of each honoree, click on their name.
Capistran, President, South Texas Region, of SpawGlass, spoke of being a Brownsville native and never forgetting his roots.
“Washington is not going to get us out of this recession; it’s everyone in this room with an educated workforce who will do it,” Capistran said.
Wagner, President of CTO, Inc., of Harlingen, a leading commercial plumbing contractor in the Valley, spoke of pride in workmanship.
“Our employees have pride in their workmanship, and when we place our signatures on a job or a project, we make sure it will last for eternity,” Wagner said.
Argüelles Gutierrez, the founder and owner of FINSA, a developer of 14 industrial parks in Mexico, echoed the words of the other two honorees saying the road to success has its difficulties, but it is imperative to find solutions to overcome problems. He spoke of his greatest achievement being his company’s contribution to the quality of life for many throughout Mexico.
“Our facilities have provided one million honest, hardworking people with work,” Argüelles said. “They now live in their own homes and enjoy their families, and they have a high quality of life. This is what remains in my heart, and my family will continue with this commitment.”
Hunt also met with School of Business students where he shared the five principles he feels separate a great company from one that is merely good.
“These are principles that apply to an athletic team, a hospital, a church, a family; they are universally applicable and always have been and always will be,” Hunt said.
Hunt’s five characteristics are: corporate culture with a value system and work ethic; the ability to differentiate your company; adaptability; agility, as in how quickly a company can adapt; and the willingness to be contrarian.
Hunt told students that graduation is not the end of their learning. He reminded students that they should never stop wanting to learn and encouraged them to look at jobs in the early years of their careers as a continuation of their education.
“If you have a choice between two jobs and one pays lower than the other but will expose you to a lot more ideas, people, experiences and ways to continue learning, then take the lower-paying job,” Hunt said.
He told students to learn from their mistakes or from others’ mistakes. Hunt suggests students internally dissect what could have been done better, how the pitfalls could have been avoided, and he said the odds of repeating that mistake will drop dramatically.
Bilingualism is a key component to success in the world of business today, Hunt said, and he encouraged students to take advantage of their bilingual abilities while still recognizing the importance of English as the global language of business.
Looking toward the future, Hunt is focused on Latin America.
“Latin America is coming into its own,” Hunt said. “It has tremendous resources and people with quality values. More than Western Europe or Eastern Europe or even Asia, I am bullish on South America.”