Hispanic Entrepreneurs Oral History Project
Summary of Interview
Gary Porras, founder of Garick Electric Group, was born in Camargo, Mexico on March 17, 1949. He grew up in that same city and started to work on his parent’s farm at the age of 5. Later they went to Chihuahua, Mexico where he studied elementary school and worked as a collector and delivery boy. He wanted to be a missionary so he attended a seminary during his middle school years and only stayed there for two years and decided to leave this life because he did not agree with many of the beliefs taught there. Then he remembers that his family imprinted on him the values of ambition, respect towards others, and the value of work to have something for the future. Porras came to El Paso, Texas to live with her sister and family when he was almost 17 years old and attended two years of special english classes at El Paso High School and it was there that he met his future wife in 1966, after two years they got married. He recalls starting working at Bob’s Electric as a digger, but eventually he ended up without a job but stayed because he wanted to learn this business. Porras mentions that after this company went bankrupt he went to Tovar Electric and finally ended up in Fuller Electric, where he worked for ten years and learned many things from Mr. Tom Fuller. He got his master license to put his own company which started on April 1, 1977. Additionally, he recounts that he started his company with $3,000 and by the end of the year he was making business worth $300,000. Porras recalls that his company started with residential contracts and later with commercial ones and that a lighting project in downtown El Paso gave a lot of exposure to his business. Moreover, he describes that the first three years of his company they were doing $3 million worth of business that let gave him the opportunity to buy two lots one of them is where his company is located. He goes into other details on the meaning of fame for him; the problems, challenges, and politics he encountered in the Electric Board and Union; how his company grew on business and employees; about his children and the role they play in the family business; the company’s future plans and his daily work routine. Finally Porras describes his meaning for success, his failure on investing in Mexico, and how El Paso embraced him going into the specifics on his experiences with Mexican and Anglo members of the community.
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Jaime R. Ruiz
Interview with Gary Porras by Homero Galicia, 2009, "Interview no. 1534," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.