Lead by Mr. Jaime Bermudez the first industrial park emerged
“In November 2012, shortly before the sworn-in, the elected president Enrique Pena Nieto coincided with Jaime Bermudez in Punta Mita, Nayarit. Both stayed at the same hotel. One night, while Mr. Jaime and his wife were dining at the restaurant, President Pena entered and went directly to greet him and kindly asked him if he could join them to dinner. That is how much Mr. Jaime was recognized.” This is what the director of the Mexican Association of Private Industrial Parks (AMPIP, by its Spanish initials) told in exclusive interview, Claudia Avila Conelly told this to illustrate the importance Mr. Jaime Bermudez had for the industry and the society; he died on June 25th, 2018 when he was 94 years old. “He was an eminence in the industry,” Avila Conelly explained.
It was no wonder, recognized as the Father of the maquila Industry in Mexico and founder of industrial parks in Mexico, Jaime Bermudez Cuaron was a man noticed for contributing in much to the economic development of the country.
Jaime Bermudez Cuaron, known as Don Jaime, opened the door to the industry not only in Ciudad Juarez, but in the entire country.
He founded seven of the 38 existing parks in the city: Aztecas (10 companies, with 1609 employees in total,) Bermudez (45 companies with 16017 employees,) Rio Bravo I (16 companies, with 5761 companies,) Rio Bravo II (2 companies,) Panamericano (5 companies, with 2 thousand employees,) Aeropuerto (6 companies with 2831 employees) and Berfer, which no longer exists. In addition, we were founder partner of the Mexican Association of Private Industrial Parks (AMPIP) and president from 1996 to 1999.
Some of his industrial history starts in the World War II, when American citizens’ departure to European battle fields to fight. As industries were left without workers, the American government, together with the Mexican, opened the program “braceros” in order for Mexicans could work legally in their country. When the war ended, these soldiers returned to their formers jobs and the braceros went back home.
Before the situation of high unemployment index in the border. Bermudez, among others, proposed the temporary implementation of American industries in Mexican territory for them to work, taking advantage of the workforce cost, with a scheme that implies not paying taxes in certain products. This was called the Program for the Manufacturing Industry, Maquila and Export Services (IMMEX, by its Spanish initials.)
Once this program was created, there was the need for infrastructure in order for companies to operate, since the government back then did not have enough resources to invest in spaces. It was then that Mr. Jaime, together with other industrial developers, created the required infrastructure.
Even though, the private developers did not have resources for the parks' needs, thus Bermudez, through his uncle, created the National Border Program (PRONAF, by its Spanish initials) with the objective of increasing the urban and functional level of border cities.
Mr. Jaime was tireless on his work, even to the last moments of his life. Even in 2017 he was optimistic about Mr. Trump’s presidency and the possibility of building a wall. In an interview he mentioned that a wall would not stop his plans to increase Mexico’s economy.
For AMPIP director, Avila Conelly, Mr. Jaime was an example of perseverance and humbleness. As many more, the first thing Avila heard was that Bermudez was the creator of Industrial Parks. But the first impression she had of him was that he was a practical and humble man, with a clear vision of how parks had to be and the importance of young people education.
“Mr. Jaime concentrated in education and linking the industry with the academic sector. ‘There is no use in having parks if we do not have talented youngsters that contribute for companies to operate in Mexico. If we have high added valued companies paying good wages, we need prepared people,’ he told me.”
Jaime Bermudez Dam
For Maria Teresa Delgado, director of the Maquila Association Index Cd. Juarez, Bermudez is an example because he always sought the development of his country, particularly of his city. “He studied in the United States, but instead of remaining there, as many do, went back to develop his city. Not everyone does that,” she said.
Delgado also mentioned that Bermudez was a visionary man that achieved to fulfill his dream. “He achieved finding the way to fulfill his dream. That is an example for all the people from Cd. Juarez,” she shared.
One of the satisfactions Delgado has is that Bermudez was recognized in life. “We in Index instituted in 2013 the Award Jaime Bermudez Cuaron to recognize employees and noticeable companies from the industrial sector,” she said.
“If I am asked, Maria Teresa which was his greatest contribution, it was the Maquila. I have more than 30 years living of this industry. If I am asked as a professional, I will answer, the Maquila. Since I graduated, I work here. If you ask the more than 300 thousand industrial employees of the city, I believe they also will answer, the Maquila. I am thankful for all his contribution,” she ended.