News Column

Corner Office: Building Confidence Globally

Jan. 28, 2009

Jesús Chavarría--Editor & Publisher, Hispanic Business Magazine

Jesús Chavarría--Editor & Publisher, Hispanic Business Magazine
Jesús Chavarría--Editor & Publisher, Hispanic Business Magazine

As a new administration assumed power in Washington this month, the electoral majority's favorable predisposition will go a long way toward building confidence in its ability to turn around the economy. It's a big task. We all know it will take time. But the matter at hand is to build up confidence at home and abroad. It is quite clear American leadership and teamwork with the world's leading economies is vital to stimulating new economic directions. Creating confidence and right action go hand in hand.

The administration's stimulus package, depending on its success in pump priming, will be vital. But it will not be enough unless government can also strike a joint recovery partnership with the private sector economy. The small business economy must also be included in this vital partnership. It's not clear what kind of public, private sector partnership might be pursued. To date the media has largely reported on "economic stimulus" in relation to the new administration's legislative initiative. So it's too early to tell what role -- and if, when, and how -- the private sector will play in the recovery. But it will take a massive effort to create the kind of confidence required for turning around the still downward spiraling national and global economies.

This month, the esteemed New York Times ran one of the very few affirming economic forecasts to appear in recent weeks, if not months. Wrote the paper of record, "In the midst of the deepest recession in the experience of most Americans, many professional forecasters are optimistically heading into the new year declaring that the worst may soon be over."

Admittedly, the Blue Chip Economic Indicators survey of 50 professional forecasters, issued monthly and made up of forecasters from investment banks, trade associations, and big corporations, is presented as tending toward optimism. Nevertheless, the observation that the economy might well be at the bottom now of its downward trend, and that the must-have new administration's stimulus package could jolt it back to a mild recovery by early summer, is worth considering.

One of the ways that the private sector can contribute to stimulating the recovery is to time the restart of hiring to the first real signs of an economic turnaround, and partner with the employment sure to come from the start of government spending. Readers of this issue will surely note how executives on our "Corporate Elite" directory, such as Henry Vigil of Microsoft, are poised to proceed cautiously but earnestly in pursuit of a recovery. Said Mr. Vigil: "The speed of the recovery depends on the collective work of people and businesses. Our focus this year will be on expense management and driving efficiencies. But 2009 is also a year of opportunities ... products and services that provide value for a reasonable cost will be in high demand."

In this issue we also reach out to HispanicBusiness 500 CEOs, many of whom are focusing their business development prospecting on federal markets.

Some in the construction industry are finding government contracts to be a stable source of revenue. Gabino Cuevas, CEO of Florida-based engineering company Cherokee Enterprises Inc., is among them. "Right now, private construction is slow and environmental construction has slowed down considerably," said Mr. Cuevas, whose company has landed contracts with the federal government and now has jobs in three states.

Tapping new revenue sources and instituting innovative ideas are among the many talents of our Corporate Elite, who, despite a tumultuous economic climate, have risen to the challenges and seized the situation as an opportunity.

Source: (c) 2009. All rights reserved.

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