Hispanic Entrepreneurs Oral History Project
Summary of Interview
Joe A. Rosales grew up in El Paso, Texas on the 1100th block of Missouri Street, which he calls “the barrio”. His father was a carpenter from Durango, Mexico and his mother was from Chihuahua, they had a total of 10 children including Joe. Rosales was a graduate of El Paso High School in 1957, the same year he opened his own concreate company. All throughout high school Rosales considered himself and entrepreneur, from collecting bottles, having a newspaper route, and washing cars. Since his father owned his own concreate business, Rosales learned business values and practices from his father. With his own business, he began to pour concreate slabs for houses, realizing there was little profit, Rosales then purchased a curb and gutter machine to begin commercial work. Rosales then changed the name of his company after facing discrimination for being a Mexican American business. He explains that some of his jobs were given to anglo owned companies; instead of the Mexican American own companies or Mexican companies were paid significantly less for jobs. So, the name was changed to J.A.R concreate incorporated. Rosales created business connections with other El Paso business men such as Jim Shelton. Shelton offered Rosales financial credit, and became Rosales’ mentor. Through Shelton, Rosales obtained Texas highway contracts and even worked airport runways across Texas. Rosales also discussed the importance of having experience when working for a business. Even though his son graduated from Texas A&M, Rosales only hired his son after he had received experience working in a company. Rosales also says that being a Mexican American contractor and business owner and was the biggest challenge he faced. He even recalls racism taking place at a contractors meeting, where work was being refused to African American contractors. Rosales stood up against it. Rosales was also the only Mexican American curb and gutter contractor in El Paso during the 1970’s. Rosales also discusses his chapter 11 bankruptcy, but was able to pay off his debt within four years. He credits God, hard work, and friends for getting him out of debt. He also discloses that businesses should be fair and honest. Being a religious man, Rosales discussed the importance of giving back to his community through churches and organizations. Rosales no longer contracts work himself, but left the company under the direction of his son.
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Interview with Joe A. Rosales by Homero Galicia, 2009, "Interview no. 1532," Institute of Oral History, University of Texas at El Paso.