Hispanic Entrepreneurs Oral History Project
Summary of Interview
Hector Holguin is the president and founder of Secure Origins in El Paso, TX; he was born in El Paso, his parents from the city of Chihuahua, Mexico. He attended El Paso High, received a Bachelor of Science from UTEP in Civil Engineering; Masters from UT in Structural Engineering; worked in aerospace engineering with Boeing Space System Center in Hunting Beach, CA for Apollo space missions. Mr. Holguin explains his work in engineering for the space program during the 1960s; recounts his family and decision to move back to El Paso; explains how work experience helped him secure a job in El Paso and prepared him to start his own business in 1972; chose consulting work with early computers that were novel at the time; recounts presenting Dr. Wang a way to improve his core memory design that then dominated computer random access memory. Mr. Holguin describes early sales and travel for his business Holguin Corp., eventual software vending for Hewlett Packard during the 1970s; mentions his strategy of having only one version of product releases at a time in order to keep up productivity and levels of automation; recounts negotiating to purchase a section of AM International for a program that translated spreadsheets into a drawing file; mentions the use of his software in Las Vegas casinos in the 1980s; covers loss of business experienced during the rise of personal computers and new product development to adapt to the changing automation equipment market; explains how the Mountaintop software they developed stayed in use for over two decades. Mr. Holguin describes move to servicing telecommunications companies with automated design systems in the 1990s; mentions expansion of his business and lack of bank support; recounts how he almost lost his company to the Royal Bank of Canada after a merger with System House and efforts to regain control; recounts his creation of another company AcuGraph, and failure of it after he left. Mr. Holguin describes his reasoning for hiring local students; explains how military service helped develop his organization and leadership ability; gives his business philosophy on the importance of esprit de corps in companies, strong management for entrepreneurship; challenges faced commonly in business. Mr. Holguin explains the entrepreneurial values that his parents and family instilled in him and their background; importance of valuing individuals; describes parents’ efforts to balance American and Mexican identity by staying El Paso, race relations at the time and different values of the era. Mr. Holguin discusses the difficulty Hispanics encountered in business when he was younger due to discrimination; details efforts to support Maestro Chavez when the city wanted to fire him without benefits from the El Paso Orchestra; explains how conditions didn’t change until the formation of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Mr. Holguin explains how servicing employees and taking care of their families are part of business to build loyalty; Mr. Holguin discusses new ventures for his company and challenges of not knowing what will occur with new emerging technology; expresses view that border relations dependent on economics to improve conditions; goes over support from the State of Texas and Department of Defense in emerging technology field for secure systems that have benefited the company. Concludes with stating he could have built his company faster elsewhere with bigger markets, but El Paso is his home and has been good to him so he’s tried to improve the community.
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Interview with Hector Holguin by Homero Galicia, 2009, "Interview no. 1508," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.