EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — For El Paso business owner Antonio Rico, he got the “small-business bug” from his mother, who owned and operated her own small business when he was growing up across the border in Juarez.
“This 30-year ride with my business has been great,” said Rico, the owner and president of El Paso-based technology services company ESEI (Electro Systems Engineers Inc.). “I got this bug from my mom. She was a small-business owner in Juarez. Since I was very young, I always wanted to own my own business.”
Rico started ESEI back in 1994 and the company will celebrate three decades in business this January.
Rico is one of a series of Hispanic business owners that are being profiled by KTSM.com during Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15.
Rico’s company serves as a full-service technology company that provides a team of highly skilled IT professions to their clients.
“We integrate and manage technology for clients in different industries — just making sure their systems are up and running and information is flowing across their boundaries, all the way from emails to servers,” Rico said.
ESEI originally started out integrating networks for later companies like utilities, Rico said.
Now, they focus on a growing list of Borderland clients that they provide a full range of information technology services for.
“We have a team of people where we cover the spectrum of technology challenges that come about,” Rico said. “If you hire one person, that person may specialize in one area and not have much experience in others. In our case, we have a team that knows something about each area that we touch.”
Rico grew up in Juarez and attended and graduated from UTEP with a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering.
His company has gone through some periods of growth, but now has nine employees which is a size that Rico says fits what they do perfectly.
Serving El Paso and the greater Borderland also feels like “home,” he said.
“There is something about El Paso,” he said. “It is difficult to leave. The weather is beautiful. The people are great. It is just a nice place to live.”
Rico says he has tried to build his company by putting people first.
“The main thing is to make sure we understand we are working with people,” he said. “The end user is a human being that is frustrated, that needs their system up and running to make sure he or she can do the work they are supposed to.”
Rico says they try to “pay a lot of attention to the human side of technology.”
“We understand that they (the client) don’t know technology,” Rico said. “Just like, we don’t know what they do. And so we respect the fact that they have a job to do and we respect the fact that they are good at what they do and they are relying on us to deliver the technology.”
Rico says he has gotten some help along the way.
Rico graduated from Goldman Sachs’ 10,000 Small Businesses program in 2015. He also says that the El Paso Hispanic Chamber of Commerce provides a wide range of resources and help that can be beneficial to business owners.
“Again, we are a small business,” he said. “We are good at what we do. Whenever we get a job, we don’t care how small or how big. We are going to concentrate on delivering good services.”
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