News Column

The Economy: 'Shock and Awe'

Oct. 31, 2008

Jesús Chavarría--Editor & Publisher, Hispanic Business Magazine

economic slump, shock awe, corner office, Jesús Chavarría

Developments of recent weeks--talk about shock and awe--are regrettably reminiscent of 9/11. "Who would have thought?" we hear over and over.

Mighty sequoias of finance such as AIG, Bear Stearns, Lehmann Brothers became overwhelmed by the fear and trembling of markets seized by forces not unloosed since the 1930s. Credit has been freezing up virtually worldwide, and as we go to press finance ministers are set to pow-wow this weekend in Washington, D.C. under the auspices of the IMF to counsel with each other about further actions.

So far the onset of the 21st Century has been a shocking wake up call. Yet in the midst of sound bites and blogging chatter, as well as the in-depth analyses of newspaper and magazine print, one can discern glimmers of a new economy.

Mayors of large metro markets recently released news about 2 million new green jobs becoming available over the next decade. Earlier they had called attention to the need for massive construction projects needed to renovate the nation's worn-out infrastructure. Much of the new construction will be green by public edict. In recent years, American state and local governments have been more responsive to the threats of global warming than the federal government.

Our lead November stories set out the agenda. The automotive industry, a vital national interest, stands at a crossroad. Curb carbon-based pollution we must, as well as develop fuel-efficient transportation solutions. August vehicle sales of 1.25 million nationwide were down for the 10th consecutive month. Dealers across the country wrack their brains reaching out for solutions to market conditions. Says Cuban-born Jeronimo Esteve, owner of Headquarter Toyota in Hialeah, Florida: "There are people out there buying cars . . .We just have to find them." And, he adds: "We don't have time for anything negative."

Staying positive in down times is fundamental. And that's the thinking at Frank Venegas' The Ideal Group, corporate umbrella for six companies, including everything from facilities management, construction, and engineering, to storage, warehousing and spare parts inventory management, based in Detroit. Mr. Venegas picked up his company's sixth consecutive GM Supplier of the Year Award this past April.
Ideal's "Share-the-Spare" management system offers centralized storage and distribution of manufacturing machine parts for GM's stamping operations as well as its body and general assembly plants. It's what produced Ideal's latest award from GM. Housed in a single building, "Share-the-Spare" lowers inventory requirements yet provides greater access to parts as needed. Mr. Venegas comments on his product: "GM fosters these sorts of win/win entrepreneurial relationships."

So in the midst of periods of intensive change it is still possible to win.
At HispanicBusiness' Entrepreneur of the Year (EoY) Symposium convening in Los Angeles November 6th at the Millenium Biltmore downtown, the topic of conversation will be New Directions for Green, Social and Urban entrepreneurs. We clearly have to keep that conversation going into 2009.

-- Jesús Chavarría, Editor & Publisher

Source: (c) 2008. All rights reserved.

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