Hispanic Entrepreneurs Oral History Project
Summary of Interview
Rudolph Miles was the president and founder of Rudolph Miles Customhouse Brokers, Inc. in El Paso, TX; he was born in El Paso in 1920; attended Lamar Elementary and El Paso High; could not attend college due to finances so took correspondence courses and vocational school in accounting; describes his parents, his mother was a homemaker from Mexico, his father was from Yuma, AZ and worked for American Smelting and Refining Company; spoke Spanish at home and learned English at school. Recounts his first accounting job with J.W. Chambliss that did construction contract work, later worked for El Paso Building Material as an order clerk; describes his duties at the job and recalls when he had an appendicitis while working there that almost killed him; explains his parents’ preference to live close to the schools he attended. Mr. Miles then recalls his courtship of his high school girlfriend and his decision to join the U.S. Army Air Corps for a year, due to the start of World War II stayed in for four years working in finance for the military in St. Louis, MI and Sioux Falls, SD where he married his girlfriend; mentions that after the war he returned to El Paso and began working for his father-in-law’s customs broker office Bailey Mora Co, Inc.; goes into further detail of how he met his wife in Mexico; describes his efforts getting his broker license and the circumstances surrounding the startup of Rudolph Miles Customhouse Brokers, Inc.; explains business generated from the twin plant system maquiladoras where U.S. made parts were assembled in Mexico; recounts his time serving on the selective service draft board, as well as on the boards for the Chamber of Commerce and First City National Bank. Mr. Miles presents some of the challenges he faced from customs due to the nature of trans-border business; describes business expansion from maquiladora growth during the 1960s, and how his sons joined to help; describes the careers of his children and how his children took over the business after he initially retired from brokering; gives his reason for going back into broker business was to support his warehouse business after his sons sold his business and he needed clients. Reminisces on how much El Paso has changed from the time he went into the military and how business and society has changed for Hispanics; closes with explaining how his family was the key to his success; advises young people starting a business to gain the personal support of financers and to get involved with civic committees.
Date of Interview
Length of Interview
Length of Transcript
Interview with Rudolph Miles by Homero Galicia, 2009, "Interview no. 1520," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.