Meet Our Founding Partner, Arch. Leopoldo De La Maza

In this special edition of #HermosilloLeaders, we interviewed one of our founding partners, Architect Leopoldo de la Maza. Don Polo’s journey is a testament to the power of perseverance, and unwavering commitment to the company’s and his personal and professional growth. His stories and perspectives offer unique insight into the values and principles that have driven Grupo Hermosillo’s success.

Through this talk, he shares his motivations for joining the company, recounts his early experiences, and reflects on the important lessons he has learned. He also discusses the key factors behind Grupo Hermosillo’s success, the values that have guided his leadership, and his vision for the future.

1. What was your initial motivation for joining Grupo Hermosillo? Was there any specific experience or event that inspired you to take this step?

My initial motivation for joining Grupo Hermosillo was the possibility of improvement and the hunger to grow. I had ambition and a desire to excel, continuously improve, and secure the livelihood for my family.

After receiving my internship letter, I moved to Mexico City, hoping to find more opportunities.  I told myself that if Monterrey had two million doors to knock on, there would be eight million in Mexico City. I didn’t know that those eight million people were knocking on the same doors. As a graduate of the Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León, I was often denied opportunities because they preferred graduates from more prestigious universities. Despite this, I got a job at the construction company Falcón, allowing me to continue advancing my career.

Experience is about reflecting on what you have done, correcting mistakes, and improving on what you have done well. But experience doesn’t end there; it is essential to share it with others so that we all benefit. Keeping knowledge to oneself is selfish. The next step is to teach and pass on that knowledge.

2. Tell us about your first days at the company.

In my first interview for Grupo Hermosillo, architects Juan Ramos, Víctor Hermosillo, Leopoldo Carrillo, and Administrative Manager René Tiznado were present. I came recommended and learned an important lesson: everything happens for a reason, and relationships are crucial.

My honesty, both in speech and deed, caught their attention. In that first interview, I said, “I will never take a penny that doesn’t belong to me” because I firmly believe everything is based on trust.

I am deeply grateful to God and to the architects who trusted me. When you start working, you become committed to the company, but it’s also important to commit to yourself. I learned to study the information about the projects thoroughly before visiting them to observe and critically evaluate the information I already had.

3. What do you believe is the key to Grupo Hermosillo’s success?

I believe the company’s success is attributed to the extensive knowledge within each sector or department and the commitment to honestly fulfilling commitments, which forms the foundation of everything.

Additionally, the loyalty of each colleague has been essential in working as a team.

Economic strength has been achieved through vision, saving, and investment, representing the company’s “assets.” Our leaders were never wasteful; they believed in saving and investing for growth.

Prestige represents the company’s “essence” and is earned through fulfilling acquired commitments. Gaining prestige requires consistency and persistence over many years of work, but losing it can happen in just ten minutes.

Attitude is also crucial. It’s an acquired predisposition that propels us forward. Grupo Hermosillo has never adopted a defeatist attitude.

The market niche in which we operate has been on the rise in recent years, and we depend on markets because we are a service-oriented company.

But above all, we are thankful to God, who has never let go of our hand, and thanks to Him, we have survived many crises.

4. What values or principles have guided your leadership in the company?

The common good is a principle that this company pursues with intensity. This includes partners, coworkers, contractors, suppliers, and the city in general. However, this will only be achieved as long as we respect the laws of nature (biological, chemical, etc., the company has always tried to respect nature) and natural laws (human and divine, which pertain to humans as such and are the absolute principles that govern us).

All of this is based on effort, work, and subsidiarity. The company’s vision is the well-being of all. We are supportive, giving to others without expecting anything in return.

5. How do you feel about the legacy you are leaving for your family and collaborators in the company?

I never imagined that I would reach this height when I graduated. I never thought my teacher would have the gift of prophecy. In the first year, we were asked: “Why did you decide to study architecture?”. Most responded with their love for design or art. On the other hand, I answered: “To work!”—the teacher Architect Armando Villarreal, son of the author of the song “La Morenita,” laughed and said: “So you’ll be a magnate.” And that’s how I got my nickname.

I am grateful and proud of Grupo Hermosillo’s legacy. It is an honor to have contributed to its growth and success. I hope these principles will continue to guide future generations.

6. What has been the most exciting project you have worked on within the company, and why?

I couldn’t mention just one in particular, as there have been many satisfactions in various forms. I have been moved by the recognition that some colleagues have given me without deserving it.

I especially remember one person who was retiring from the company saying to me, “You have been very humane and professional.” Another told me, “I was about to retire, but you gave a talk that made me change my mind. I consider you my mentor.”

For more than sixty years, every day has brought successes and failures. New knowledge and experiences, sorrows and satisfactions, have been obtained from both.

The project I valued the most was my first in Ciudad Obregón. Not only was the prestige of the company at stake, but also the survival and life of my family. Additionally, it was a challenge I set for myself.

At the beginning of Grupo Hermosillo, we were always put to the test. The business had too many insecurities due to market fluctuations and the six-year political changes that endangered the company’s survival. To the point of telling my wife, “Tighten your belt,” as after each project, there was a possibility of being given “forced vacations.” I spent the company’s first five years without taking vacations for fear that someone more intelligent and efficient than me would take my place.

God squeezes but doesn’t strangle. For God to give a lot, we must give a little. If you don’t give your little, God won’t give his lot either.

7. What important lessons have you learned during your time at the company?

The most important thing is that honesty pays off in all aspects—honesty in speaking, handling money, and with our employees, contractors, and suppliers.

8. What is your vision for the future of Grupo Hermosillo, and what do you believe will be the main challenges to face?

I can’t predict the future, but I believe four factors will impact us significantly:

  1. Mexico and its elections, we vote not for a party but for freedom or slavery.
  2. The global situation is very uncertain.
  3. We will depend on the market if we get through these two things.
  4. Lastly, ourselves. If the company falls, let it be because of us, not external factors. We must do what we can with what we have.

The American says, “Time is money,” but I say, “The value of time is eternity.” Don’t waste it. Don’t lose time; make the most of it as much as you can.

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