Guaymas & San Carlos, Sonora

Earlier this week, I had a short trip to Horst Engineering de Mexico in Guaymas, Sonora, Mexico. It’s actually a long trip, but it was packed into a short amount of time. I left last Sunday afternoon and I returned early Saturday morning. There is no easy way to get to Guaymas. I flew to Tucson via Atlanta, spent one night there, and then drove to the plant. My return trip brought me back to Tucson for a night and then a flight home via Minneapolis.

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It’s six hours of driving from southern Tucson on a good day. Thankfully, we had easy drives both to Guaymas and back. The line at the border during our return trip, was very short, which is what we hope for. The main road between Nogales and Guaymas is Route 15. It has been under major construction for several years. They are making a divided highway and much progress has been made. Every time I return, there are fewer crossovers and the pavement is getting smoother, which is welcome.

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Business has been much better. Ever since 2010, when the manufacturing economy hit its big slump, we have made steady progress with our operation. We have added several new machines in the past year, and it was great to see them running on new jobs. Our little EDM hole popper was a highlight for me. We have an excellent management team and they are preparing for the growth ahead.

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Since 2008, San Carlos has suffered from a lack of activity. The combination of economic recession and the violence that gripped Mexico was too much for the tourist economy to sustain. I remember trips when I was the only one in a restaurant. It was like that for several years. That is why the uptick in business is noticeable. There was both more business activity and more tourist activity. I saw a lot more “snowbirds” both on the drive (with their RV’s)  and in San Carlos.

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Guaymas itself was buzzing as usual, but is driven much more by the success of the maquiladoras and the growth of Mexican business. Guaymas is a growing port and as better jobs drive a stronger Mexican middle class, the city will continue to grow. My hope is that a wave of environmentalism will eventually sweep through Mexico. There is still way too much waste. Sonora has always struggled with litter and trash, but it seems like it is getting worse, not better. It’s unsightly and bad for the environment.

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There is also little regard for energy savings. With monopolistic utilities, there is little incentive to conserve electricity and other critical resources. This coupled with a still lagging infrastructure (e.g. reliable Internet) keeps Sonora a step behind. Even still, it’s a fun place to visit and to witness the impact of economic progress.

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After a long New England winter, it was nice to run at sunrise in shorts and shirtsleeves. I also swam three days in a row in the Sea of Cortez, which is always nice. No Sonoran would swim in the water in March, but I loved it.

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