Paso del Norte Entrepreneurship Oral History Project
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Mike Garcia was born in Ciudad Juárez, México on July 13, 1935. Mike attended Lydia Patterson Institute in El Paso, Texas. His mother was Benita Enbarrabe. Mike is the founder and owner of Mike A. Garcia Painting in El Paso, Texas.
Summary of Interview
Mike was brought to El Paso by his godmother to attend school at Lydia Patterson Institute in El Paso, Texas when he was 11 years old. Mike had his first job working at a bowling alley in El Paso at the age of 12. At the age of 15 years old, he got married. Mike cared for and loved his mother Benita very much. He recalls that she taught him to better his life, to better his family, to do the proper thing, to be honest with himself, and to have self-respect. Mike has used these concepts to build his life and his career as a businessman. After Mike left school at the age of 12, he never returned however he used every job and life in general as his schooling. Mike seized any opportunity to learn. After he was married at the age of 16, Mike worked with Prices Creameries for six months and then left to work for a company out of Arlington Texas called Fitzgerald, as a painter. The owner, Harold Fitzgerald was very helpful to Mike, teaching him about the painting business and helping Mike during hard times. Mike worked for Fitzgerald for over a decade and then decided to open his own painting business. In 1958, Mike started Mike A. Garcia Painting in El Paso, Texas. He has contracted work with Fort Bliss, Holloman Air Force Base. He has worked all over Texas, in many cities across the United States as well as abroad. Mike faced some discrimination over the years due to misconceptions and stereotypes about the Mexican/Hispanic work ethic. Mike worked harder to prove them wrong and thus his business was successful. Mike eventually got into real estate by purchasing properties and renting them out. Mike was able to meet many people who he built lasting personal and professional relationships with. Mike was chairman of the Civil Service Commission; he was active in the Good Government League. He has also been active in LULAC, Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the El Paso Sheriff Department, the YMCA of El Paso, and city politics. Mike felt it necessary to be involved with the city of El Paso in order to give back.
Date of Interview
Length of Interview
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GMR Transcription Services
Interview with Mike Garcia by Kristine Navarro, 2010, "Interview no. 1491," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.