By Vic Kolenc
El Paso Times, Texas.
Being laid off in 2001 turned out to be a good thing for Rosa Santana.
That prompted the executive for a national staffing agency to start her own staffing company, Integrated Human Capital, which is headquartered in East El Paso.
That turned into a successful company, now 13 years old.
But Santana didn’t stand still.
Last year, she diversified her enterprises by forming two other companies: Oveana Global Business Services, a joint venture with El Paso’s Datamark Inc., to operate an East El Paso call center; and Forma Automotive, which this year will begin assembling truck beds at Toyota’s San Antonio factory.
Santana’s successful diversification prompted the El Paso Hispanic Chamber of Commerce to nominate her for the Small Business Administration’s El Paso Small Business Person of the Year award.
Santana is this year’s winner and will be one of eight business operators and business champions to receive awards Wednesday at the SBA’s annual Small Business Week Awards luncheon.
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“We were looking for a company (to nominate) that has learned to transform itself and open new markets,” and Santana has done that, said Cindy Ramos-Davidson, chief executive officer of the El Paso Hispanic Chamber.
“It’s really unique that someone with an HR (human resources) company is now a (parts) supplier for Toyota,” Ramos-Davidson said. Forma is the first Hispanic woman-owned company to supply parts and components to Toyota in North America, Toyota officials announced last year.
“She has the vision, and dreams, and motivation to create new opportunities for her company. Sometimes, you have to go outside the box and take real risks. And it paid off,” Ramos-Davidson said.
Integrated Human Capital and Santana’s two other companies had sales last year of about $35 million, Santana said. About 75 percent of those sales came from Integrated, which employed about 3,000 temporary workers last year, and had a full-time staff of about 30 people.
Forma Automotive now has 25 employees and will have about 50 employees when it starts assembling truck beds in August, Santana said. It’s been training workers and doing trial runs in recent weeks, she said. Forma eventually will be Santana’s largest company by sales, she said.
Forma and Oveana were born out of years of relationship building, Santana said. The companies also are related to hiring people, which Integrated Human Capital is all about, she said.
Besides relationship building, good planning is another key to Santana’s entrepreneurial success, she said.
“Planning your work, and working your plan has been the way (to success),” she said. “Staying on track, and on focus.”
Santana’s two daughters help operate her companies. Lisa Navarro-Gonzalez, 38, is overseeing Forma, and Nicole Navarro-Velesiotis, 34, is overseeing the staffing agency.
“I plan to groom them to be my successors, if they choose. But I am not going anywhere for a very long time,” said Santana, 56.