Paso del Norte Entrepreneurs Oral History Project
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Armando Reyes was born in El Paso, Texas on April 12, 1947. His parents were Robert and Dolores Reyes and Armando has nine brothers. Armando attended Jefferson High School in El Paso, Texas. He also attended El Paso Community College. Armando is married to Vicki Reyes and they have one daughter, a son in-law and two granddaughters. Armando served in the United States Army and is a veteran of the Vietnam War. Armando is the founder and owner of Kings Air in El Paso, Texas.
Summary of Interview
When Armando was a 12 years old, he began accompanying his father to work at Alejandro’s Plumbing Company. When Armando was a teenager, he worked for that company as well. Armando Reyes graduated from Jefferson High School in 1965 and worked for Pacific Food Express after graduation. Once the job ended, Armando and four friends left for California to find work. He was able to find work in California that paid well but eventually Armando returned to El Paso. When he returned, Armando attended El Paso Community College and worked with his brother Julian at an air conditioning company called Reece. A few months later the United States Army drafted Armando into the Vietnam War. Upon returning from the Vietnam War in 1968, Armando returned to Reece and continued to work for the owner for seven years until he left to work for D&L Plumbing and ran the sheet metal and air conditioning department. Armando was able to save enough money to start his own business and on April 1st 1980, Armando left D&L Plumbing to start his own company. Armando is the founder and owner of Kings Air. Kings Air is full service air conditioning company that also has a full sheet metal department. They are able to do their own dump work, full electrical work, and in addition they have their own electricians and a master electrician. Kings Air does contract work in the city of El Paso as well in Fort Bliss, Texas a United States military post in El Paso County, Texas and Doña Ana/Otero Counties, New Mexico. Armando’s brother George also works with him as the master electrician and runs the electrical department at Kings Air. Armando’s son in-law also works as the chief financial officer for Kings Air. Along with his savings, Armando was able to receive help from the United States Small Business Association. Kings Air has help organizations such as Upwards Santa Clause and The USO. Armando is a part of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce as well as The Greater El Paso Chamber of Commerce. Armando states that hard work, long hours and dedication to quality work and quality business is what has kept Kings Air successful for over 30 years. Motivation and education have been crucial to the success of Kings Air. Armando makes sure that he takes care of his employees with free hospital insurance, paid holiday, vacation, uniforms and the company also helps with the employee’s 401k. Armando’s advice to entrepreneurs is to have good business plan, go to seminars, get the name of the company to the public, and to educate one’s self in business.
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Interview with Armando Reyes by Javier Navar, 2010, "Interview no. 1481," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.