Investing in Future Industry LeadersWed, 01/20/2016 - 09:21
Oil and gas extraction is a male-dominated industry, not only in Mexico, but all over the world. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 17.9% of those employed in the industry are female, and 12.8% are of Hispanic or Latino origins. In this way, Angelica García-Dunn, President and Founder of AIM Global Logistics, is breaking the mold in her ascent to the forefront of the arena. García-Dunn’s success, however, is due to hard work and dedication, and adherence to advice from her grandfather. “He used to always teach me to believe that ‘I put on my pants in the same way as you’,” she points out. “I do not want to sell my business based on the fact that I am a woman and a minority, I base my achievements on the fact that I know the industry, I know exactly what I am doing and, often, I can outperform any of my peers, whether they are male or female.”
In 2012, the company was named ‘Emerging Business of the Year’ by the Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. After an initial US$250,000 in sales, the business grew to US$2 million, whereas now, the company is registering around US$25 million. “Our status as a certified minority female-owned company has enabled us to sign contracts to work with BP, Exxon, indirectly with PEMEX, PPI, Siemens, and GE,” García-Dunn boasts. In the US, especially, there is a significant push toward supplier diversity, to the extent that the company is working with the US government, but also sees a lot of business in Mexico. Some of AIM Global’s most significant customers are freight forwarders like Panalpina, Agility, Geodis, and DHL that use the company for most of their imports and exports, whether that is trucking, shipping, air freight, rail, or warehousing.
Mexico is gradually changing its diversity practices, and this can be seen in the requirements for Congress deputies, in that 50% must be women. However, García-Dunn believes that the focus should not only be on the fact that she is a woman, but on her qualifications, as she can contribute just as much industry knowledge as any of her male peers. “It is essential to have a solid knowledge base and competence within the industry, and not just act as a figurehead due to diversity,” she asserts. “Last year, I was featured in Forbes because I moved 18 rigs for PEMEX and its contractors in the last three years, which involved solid industry knowledge.”
In terms of logistics services between the US and Mexico, this can be problematic due to integral cultural differences, according to García-Dunn. For instance, in the US, the turnkey solutions are what is most requested, whereas PEMEX contracts have several intricacies that can create a clash. In this way, AIM essentially performs sourcing services, and this is what led to the creation of AIM Energy and Chemicals. This company is now dedicated to global sourcing of rigs, chemicals, and machinery from all over the world, and this extends beyond the oil and gas industry, to segments like pharmaceuticals and automotive. Moreover, AIM Global Logistics specializes in overweight, over dimensional project cargo, especially to and from Mexico. “As a result, not only can I source the materials or the 333 buyers, I can also provide the transportation services,” García-Dunn explains. To cater to the changing industry, the company also offers leasing and factoring services through its third subsidiary AIM Global Financing.
With both AIM Global Logistics and AIM Energy and Chemicals, García-Dunn plans to forge a path within the Mexican market. “We are in talks with GE at the moment regarding distribution services, and logistics for transporting hydraulic pumps, and in the near future, we will be able to enter discussions with PPI about the potential to become a distributor for GE here in Mexico,” she notes. That contract not only involves the distribution for GE, but also the installation and the maintenance at the rig site. Therefore, the companies will work hand in hand. In terms of AIM Global Financing, the services would be applicable to companies with a presence in Mexico but a base in the US.
García-Dunn believes that, as a result of the Reform, much of Mexico’s infrastructure is beginning to see development, with the ports and customs systems are becoming more structured. “On one hand, the prices may have increased due to the fact that more players are interested in the market, generating more competition, but on the other hand, customs brokers are beginning to realize that they cannot maintain current operations, and that they are no longer working exclusively with PEMEX, but also with international companies that will not necessarily operate in the same way,” García-Dunn points out. There have been a lot of internal changes at PEMEX, but she sees this being beneficial for the industry. Change is difficult to implement, especially for the government changing PEMEX into a productive enterprise of the state.