Paso del Norte Entrepreneurs Oral History Project
Biographical Synopsis of Interviewee
Robert Navarro was born in El Paso, Texas on March 30, 1939. His parents were Robert Navarro and Lidia Navarro. The elder Navarro was a contractor and his wife was a stay at home mother for Robert and his sister, Lidia. Robert attended Morehead Elementary School, El Paso High School and is a graduate of Texas Western College in El Paso, Texas and New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Robert served in the United States Army and is a recipient of the Army Commendation Medal. Robert is married to Merle, with three daughters Laura, Jennifer and Sara, three grandchildren.
Summary of Interview
Robert Navarro was born and raised in El Paso, Texas and attended school in El Paso. After Robert graduated from high school, he attended Texas Western College in El Paso, Texas and graduated in 1961 with a B.S. in Civil Engineering. He entered the United States Army via the ROTC program for two years. After the Army, Robert attended New Mexico State University and received his Masters in Structural Engineering. During his time as a graduate student, Robert worked for A.B. Peinado and Sons. After graduating, he continued to work for that company. A.B. Peinado and Sons got into land development and Robert saw his opportunity to buy their engineering firm. After the acquisition, the name of the firm changed several times until Robert had 100% ownership in 1980 then the name permanently became Robert Navarro and Associates Incorporated. Robert’s firm is primarily a structural engineering firm and the firm has done work for various agencies and places such as the state government, federal government, El Paso Water Utilities, Army Core of Engineers, Hunt Building Corporation, the Navy, Texas Tech, the prison bureau and the United States Embassy in La Paz, Bolivia. In addition, Robert served as the Chairman of The Greater El Paso Chamber of Commerce, and is also a part of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in El Paso, Texas. He has also been a part of the Lion’s Club and the Rotary Club of El Paso, Texas. Robert has served on many boards such as the State Board of Licensing for Engineering, Consulting Engineers Organization Group, he was president of the State Organization, served ASAE, became vice-president of the State Organization, founded local chapters of the Structural Engineers Association of Texas and was president of that association, founded a local chapter of Consulting Engineers, and he helped establish the American Concrete Institute Chapter in El Paso. Robert is also a part of a relatively unknown organization called Paso del Norte in El Paso, Texas that is working towards revitalizing downtown El Paso. Robert’s advice for others seeking entrepreneurship is to go out and compete, use all of one’s resources, be straight forward, honest, communicate, establish a network you’ll always use, and don’t create enemies.
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GMR Transcription Services
Interview with Robert Navarro by Edmundo Valencia, 2010, "Interview no. 1479," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.