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Francisco Antón Gabelich

MEXICO - Industry

Bright Sparks

General Director, Center of Advanced Technology (CIATEQ)

Bio

Francisco Antón Gabelich has more than 30 years of experience working for world-class companies in the manufacturing and technology development areas. He has been part of the educational faculty at the Universidad Iberoamericana and the Tecnológico de Monterrey. Through his professional career he has participated in product innovation and development mainly for the home appliances sector, in electrolytic coatings and waste management. He graduated as a Chemical Engineer from the Universidad Iberoamericana, has a Management Master from the Instituto Tecnológico de Monterrey (ITESM) and a Specialty in electrolytic processes at the American Electroplaters and Surface Finishing Society (AESF). Currently, he is the General Director of CIATEQ.

How would you characterize the development and role of the Center of Advanced Technology (CIATEQ)? We are a non-profit organization dedicated to R&D in order to enhance industrial competitiveness. We […]

How would you characterize the development and role of the Center of Advanced Technology (CIATEQ)?

We are a non-profit organization dedicated to R&D in order to enhance industrial competitiveness. We were established in conjunction with a network of public research centers connected to the National Council of Science and Technology (CONACYT). The research center’s network covers three sectors: technology, science, and society. CIATEQ belongs to the technological sector. Out of the 27 centers, CIATEQ has been the most successful in creating links, which means working for the productive sector in Mexico. CIATEQ has been able to generate 75% of its own budget, and there are not many centers like this in Mexico. Spanish centers usually generate 50% of their income, and the rest is financed by the government, whereas we only receive 25% from the government. CIATEQ has developed more than 3,000 products, and we have provided more than 35,000 services to industry and have a list of 2,800 customers. There is not a single state in Mexico where we do not have a customer.

What growth have you been witnessing in the local industrial sector?

The local industrial sector has been growing continuously for the last 20 years. The main supply chain for the automotive industry is one of the most important areas of development and growth in our region, and recently, we were involved in and witnessed the development of the aerospace industry, which has been acting as a catalyst for industry. CIATEQ has been one of the key actors, promoting the sustainable growth of these sectors.

The central region of Mexico has been very successful at attracting investments and creating new jobs. Querétaro is close to a 0% unemployment rate, one of the lowest in the country, and these kind of results come from an environment that facilitates the establishment of new business opportunities and promotes the sustainable growth and investment in innovation, due to government actions, the safety standards of the community and Querétaro’s hard-working society. CIATEQ started here more than 34 years ago, and now we are present in seven states of Mexico, like San Luis Potosí­, Aguascalientes, Mexico State, Hidalgo, Veracruz, and Jalisco, some of the most productive regions in the country.

“The central region of Mexico has been very successful at attracting investments and creating new jobs.”

You developed a technological management model unique to Mexico. Can you tell me about that?

We have focused on two things: we have a Director of Design that works directly with the market, and we have six Specialty Directors that work on improving the scientific level of each technology we have. It is not common in a public research center in Mexico to have a marketing department. We have a corporate affairs director that handles our relationship with the government and with the industry so that we help them meet their needs. As a public research center in Mexico, we are devoted to education. We offer Master’s and PhD studies in the advancement of factories, where we have a special approach; all of our students are the employees of our customers. We offer each student a scholarship, and the only requirement we have is that their thesis theme needs to be the definition of a problem at the company and the development of a solution that increases its competitiveness. The results come in the long term. We focus on helping people who are working in a company and who have never had the opportunity to get a degree due to their responsibilities. We created a special three-year program where employees can come to class on Saturday. It is offered to employees in Mexico, but you don’t have to be a Mexican citizen. Instead of entrance exams, we have prerequisite courses in math and statistics, where everyone who approved these courses gets admitted to the program. Today, we have 75 students admitted to the Master’s program, and 80 more applying to the prerequisite courses. We are opening this program in our facilities at Guadalajara, Jalisco.

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