The 2019 General Assembly is just three short months away, to be held in Querétaro, Mexico. WTCA Meridian Editor Alex Brown sat down with Carlos Uribe for a brief interview on why the city is a gem for industry and commerce, and a must-see for anyone looking to explore the heart of Mexico’s promise
Carlos—thank you so much for sitting with us today. Not that you need any introduction to most of our Members, but for those readers who haven’t met you, why don’t you introduce yourself a bit?
It’s a pleasure to be with you. My name is Carlos Uribe and I am the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of WTC Queretaro, I am 27 years old and I have been a part of the WTCA for four years. I consider this one of my greatest personal achievements, since I’ve had the opportunity to make allies around the world and generate business relationships that help both the WTCA and my community promote commercial strategies that result in progress and development.
Great. So, let’s start out with a brief introduction of your city. When you presented Querétaro as a potential host for the 2019 General Assembly, I have to admit I had not heard of the city before, outside of your Membership, of course. But it was such a great place to visit! A best-kept secret, if you will. Can you tell us a bit about the city in general: its history, its present importance, and some of the things that make it a destination?
It definitely was our best-kept secret but it’s time to show the world! Querétaro is one of the most important cities in México, crucial to the development of many industries, businesses, and economic growth.
It also happens to be the country’s number-one tourist destination with no beaches, and that’s not for nothing. It is a beautiful, 400-year old colonial city with a rich history, after all. But what I find most remarkable is its constant growth. I was reading an article in Forbes Mexico which pointed out that in addition to tourism and automotive investment, the aeronautical sector is Querétaro’s “biggest bet.” This city has now become the fourth most important destination in the world for this industry, just below Singapore, Dubai, and Bengaluru. And our industries just keep flourishing! I believe in my city and I am honored that the Board of Directors of the WTCA also did when they chose us as the host for the 50th WTCA General Assembly. It is truly a pleasure for my team and me to take on this endeavor.
Let’s dive a little deeper into the economic importance of the city, and the opportunities there for Members and their local companies, suppliers, buyers, etc. Give us the elevator pitch for why this is a place that people should stand up and take notice of. What are the dominant sectors? What are some of the companies that call Querétaro home that might be of interest for Members?
Of course! As I mentioned just now, the aeronautical sector is one of the driving industries – not only in the country, but in the continent as a whole. Querétaro is home to a multitude of companies in a wide range of industries, including 80 in aerospace, 26 in manufacturing, five in special process, and seven in education, to name a few. The story of Safran in Querétaro is a perfect example of our constant growth, which inevitably, benefits our local community. Safran – an aeronautical company of French origin – manufactures blades and motors, and just happened to inaugurate its sixth plant in our state this past February. This brought on an investment of $100 million USD to produce blades and engines for Boeing aircrafts, and is expected to generate 230 jobs, a number that will increase to 600 in a year or two.
We also have 22 industrial parks and more than 550 export companies, as well as enterprises in biotechnology, telecommunications, IT, automotive, appliances, and the food and beverage industries. And I must add that world-renowned corporations – such as Kellogg’s, Airbus, Nestle, Samsung, and TRW – also have headquarters here, making our city a very attractive place for investors and business leaders.
You attended the 2018 GA in Leeuwarden, the Netherlands, which was a great event with an incredibly strong business purpose. It was also a shift in the positioning of the event for the association, and a resounding success—a high bar. Tell us a bit about what you’ll be doing to make a meaningful impression on Members and their company delegations?Y
Absolutely – and yes, I must agree that our predecessor in Leeuwarden set a very high bar for us. I absorbed a lot from that experience to implement some of their great ideas. I really need to commend Evert Jan (known to many of us as EJ) for such a wonderful event in 2018.
Our team is ready, and of course excited, to receive my fellow Members. We’re not going the extra mile – we’re going two, since this happens to be the 50th iteration of the WTCA GA. We’ve been working to create a high-class, interactive event, and that’s how the idea of a business summit took shape. You might have already heard of it as the “WTCA ITS SUMMIT,” which is designed to generate global connections and collaboration among attendees. The summit will showcase Innovation, Technology and Sustainability in the region, particularly focusing on healthcare and research and development (R&D), agriculture and food (agri-food), and aerospace manufacturing.
We will also offer an exhibitor’s fair, where companies from a wide range of industries will get a chance to interact with potential partners, as well as with the general public.
I also must mention something that I’m personally very excited about. When you register for the WTCA ITS SUMMIT 2019, you will be granted access to our My Business Match (MBM) platform. MBM allows you to search for buyers and suppliers and make appointments, so that you can meet with those contacts at the GA in a "speed dating" fashion. The platform is designed so that you are meeting with potential partners who you had a business compatibility of at least 85%.
And then of course, you can’t forget about other aspects of the GA, such as the top-notch speakers, workshops, and just great networking.
For us, the most important thing is that everyone walks away with tangible results and that they reap the benefits of what Querétaro can offer our network and our association.
I also don’t want to leave out the fun stuff! Aside from the historic downtown district—which is incredibly welcoming and charming—I understand there are some beautiful sights and attractions in the area for our Members and their Accompanying Guests to visit. And of course, there will be plenty of time to socialize in unique settings and at the receptions and gala you have planned. Tell us a bit about this?
Well, I don’t want to spoil some of the surprises but I can give you a glimpse. We are organizing company tours to visit some of the most important companies in Querétaro, as well as guided tours to one of the best vineyards in the region. I can’t leave out the spectacular gala, where we will cater gourmet Mexican food (and we promise to offer both spicy and mild options), tequila, mezcal, and mariachis. It will be a wonderful party!
Well it sounds like you have a great event planned, and I am excited to visit again! Is there anything else you’d like to leave us with? A last word, so-to-speak?
Our vision is focused on growing, developing, and attracting not only established markets, but also emerging markets to support them. We believe that these events offer a much more open-minded business perspective based on functional and useful economic models.
We are counting down the days to welcome the entire WTCA community and special guests, and also showcase to the world that in México – especially in Querétaro – we are developing businesses with a progressive outlook to better everyone’s future.
Great—thank you so much for your time Carlos—I know we are all very much looking forward to your GA!
Thank you for this amazing opportunity, and we are anxiously waiting to welcome you at the 50th WTCA GA!