Don Eugenio and El Tec July 1, 2013

Tec 70 anos
Eugenio Garza Sada

Eugenio Garza Sada

“Don’t give out wealth; give out work and you raise the community’s standard of living.”

Those words, spoken by Eugenio Garza Sada, express the philosophy by which the entrepreneur lived an exceptional life during 81 years. Few people have had a more lasting influence in Monterrey than “Don Eugenio” who was kidnapped and killed by leftist guerillas in 1973.  

(Spoiler alert! Even if you don’t read further, watch the YouTube video at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZrQx02QhQnw )

In his 2011 best-seller, Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell describes “outliers” as highly successful people like Bill Gates and The Beatles whose success involves a combination of intelligence, hard work and good luck, often being in the right place at the right time. Eugenio Garza Sada met all the criteria. By 1892 when he was born into an affluent family of businessmen, his father and a group of male relatives were two years into a beer brewing venture. The Mexican Revolution, which caused death and misery for tens of thousands of families, sent the Garza Sadas fleeing in 1913 to the United States where Eugenio ended up at MIT. In 1917, the family returned to Monterrey and a destroyed brewery. They rebuilt and began anew. Starting out as an assistant in the sales department, Eugenio learned the business from the bottom up. At his death, he was the director of a major conglomerate in which the brewery formed one part. Owned by Heineken today, Cervecería Cuaúhtemoc-Moctezuma is one of the two major players in Mexico’s beer industry.

 The young Eugenio matured into a visionary who understood the value of a well-trained and educated work force. His father’s generation, with little or no university schooling, sent their sons away to college. Garza Sada led his generation in the push to establish a local university where home grown engineers and businessmen could be molded in the ways he had been at MIT. In 1943, they founded what became Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey, often shortened to “ITESM” or “el Tec” or, in English, “Monterrey Tec.”

Stories still abound of the beloved business leader and humble philanthropist who drove an old car, worked in his garden and sported a modest wardrobe while leading Monterrey’s industries to new levels. In the end, Don Eugenio’s greatest legacy was—and is—“el Tec.”

In late May, when I visited the prestigious EGADE School of Business, one of 31 Tec campuses throughout Mexico today, posters proclaiming, “70 Años Transformando Vidas” (70 Years Transforming Lives) dotted the campus. To see more of the Tec’s seventieth celebration, visit http://70.itesm.mx/ . Especially, watch the YouTube video of “Siete Décadas” (Seven Decades), written by Eduardo Gómez Gúzman and sung by Víctor Ochoa Peña, both Tec students, at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZrQx02QhQnw . If you don’t speak Spanish, find someone who does to translate this song which sums up the Tec in a way that would make Don Eugenio proud.

Follow “The Other Side of the Peso” in the coming weeks as we explore the far-reaching impact of Don Eugenio’s academic legacy.  

 

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