Driving the development of Chihuahua

50 Years of Desec

50 Years of Desec

Since the late 1960s, Chihuahua radically changed. In the midst of crisis and social disunity, a group of businessmen with a vision of change emerged.

They created a solid foundation for a prosperous Chihuahua and an economic model.

DESEC, a key player in this transformation, is celebrating 50 years of leading the way in innovation.

Fifty Years of Transformation at DESEC

The Power of a Vision

The book “The Power of a Vision” tells the story of how Chihuahua transformed itself in the face of adversity.

DESEC, created to overcome the crises of the 1960s and 1970s, is the focus of the story, showing the collaboration of leaders such as José de Jesús Pérez Cano and Federico Terrazas Torres, whose tactics and agreements drove development.

The book honors their heritage and inspires new generations, evidencing the unlimited potential of a collective vision.

You can click on the book cover to read it or you can download it to your computer by clicking on the button below.

The Economic Awakening of Chihuahua

DESEC Trajectory

Late 60’s and early 70’s

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The Madera Revolt, Bank robberies, Talent drain

At the end of the 1960’s, the situation in Chihuahua was full of problems, an important decline in the industry caused an unemployment crisis and a massive flight of talent to foreign countries. The social fabric was teared due to hostile situations and insecurity.

This great social dissatisfaction led a group of businessmen to join together to carry out the first actions for the transformation of the State:

  • José de Jesús Perez Cano
  • Federico Terrazas Torres
  • Eloy Ruíz Terrazas
  • Ramiro Alvídrez Frías
  • Julio Ornelas Gil
  • Alfredo Martínez Urdal
  • Guillermo Cantu Charles
  • Mario González Muzquiz
  • Leopoldo Mares Paredes
  • Fernando Rubio Domínguez
  • Petronio Fernández Arguelles


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Photograph from the Heraldo de Chihuahua, January 28, 1973.

Visit to President Echeverria

The businessmen, supported by CANACINTRA, and accompanied by Richard Bolin – an industrial development consultant – undertook a tour of the state.

The flipchart, the magic resource
“…with the help of Richard Bolin, we prepared a flip chart that we used to expose the state’s problems, to present the path to a solution and ask for the support and sympathy of various sectors…”

The strategy consisted of raising a fund of 10 million pesos, which would set in motion a mechanism to create 25,000 jobs each year.

There were 3 possible solutions to generate jobs: establish export industries, develop tourism in the mountainous sierra and promote the maquiladora industry.

All the support and sympathy of the Federation
“…indeed, Echeverría received us one Sunday in September 1972, at seven o’clock in the evening, in the Carranza Room at Los Pinos. Mario González Múzquiz, who was not afraid to utter certain words, broke the ice with the following phrase: ‘Mr. President, allow me to speak as a rancher: in Chihuahua we throw our eggs ahead, but we always pick them back up’…”
“…the next day Echeverría ordered Mr. Hugo Cervantes del Río (Secretary of the Presidency) to: ‘bring them a check for two million pesos’…”

In Chihuahua, Governor Óscar Flores Sánchez changed the game… he made a contribution of 3.5 million pesos, conditioned to a matching amount from the private sector.


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Photograph from the Heraldo de Chihuahua, June 6, 1973.

DESEC Foundation

Some time later, already armed with almost everything that was budgeted, DESEC formally began in the 2nd floor office of the Woolworth store on Victoria Street. Chaired by Eloy S. Vallina Laguera, and under the direction of Eugenio Villareal Vallina.

Four major objectives were defined:

  1. Direct industrial promotion
  2. Generation of generators, referring to economic development infrastructure
  3. Creating an environment conducive to investment
  4. Training industrial development promoters

In 7 development axes with managers in each region:

  • Parral – Carlos Ramos
  • Cuauhtémoc – César Chavira
  • Ojinaga – Alfredo Rohana
  • Delicias – Octavio Amaya
  • Casas Grandes – Carlos Domínguez
  • Camargo – Héctor Alvídrez
  • Ciudad Juárez – Alfonso Murguía


  • Héctor Álvarez Álvarez
  • Ramiro Alvídrez Frías
  • Octavio Amaya Comadurán
  • Néstor Baeza Montes
  • Federico Barrio Terrazas
  • Jaime Bermúdez Cuarón
  • Guillermo Héctor Cantú Charles
  • Víctor Cruz Márquez
  • Carlos Ulises Domínguez Arana
  • Manuel Enríquez Barbier
  • Guillermo Enríquez Díaz
  • Petronio Fernández Aguelles
  • Mario González Múzquiz
  • Leopoldo Mares Paredes
  • Alfonso Murguía Valdez
  • Jorge Navarro Ayala
  • Julio Ornelas Gil
  • José de Jesús Pérez Cano
  • Guillermo Pérez Ontiveros
  • Carlos Ramos Domínguez
  • Alfredo Rohana Estrada
  • Fernando Rubio Domínguez
  • Eloy Ruíz Terrazas
  • Primitivo Ruíz Terrazas
  • Raúl Santini Sifuentes
  • Federico Terrazas Torres
  • Rafael Vallina Fernández
  • Eloy Vallina Laguera
  • Eugenio Villarreal Vallina


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The blue folder, Honeywell and the Américas Park

The path ahead was clear, in order to promote the different development axes it was necessary to develop intelligence work, … Eugenio (Villarreal Vallina) Fernando (Rodríguez Serna) and Arturo (Chretin Castillo) were in charge of creating an information bank on the State, which was called the Carpeta Azul (Blue Folder).

That same year, the first maquiladora arrived in the city; Honeywell, an effort promoted by Salvador Creel, who already had a great deal of experience in the field.
This was the origin of the Americas Industrial Park, managed by Luis Lara, located primarily in a temporary shelter owned by Enrique Elias.

We want them here

“…in 1979 Phillip Coldwell, the President of Ford visited Chihuahua. As he crossed the Plaza de Armas, he stared at the statue of Deza y Ulloa, and especially at the index finger of his right hand pointing downward to point to the site where the city was to be founded…”

“…Mario González Múzquiz, who read the curiosity and doubt in the Ford executive’s eyes, approached him and said: ‘Do you know what this gentleman is saying? That we want them here’…”

DESEC’s plans at that time were already showing some early achievements, and a change in the state administration set the pace, harmonizing the mission to the beat of a drum…

Sharing Responsibilities

“…Manuel Bernardo Aguirre assumed responsibility for agricultural and forestry development in the state: I’m playing this little drum…”

“…here I leave you the little drum of industrialization for DESEC to play…” “…shortly afterwards Don Manuel Bernardo Aguirre sent a little drum to DESEC, which we keep to this day as a symbol of the very important function we had assumed…”


The year’s crowning achievement.

The crowning achievement of the year was the creation of Promotora de la Industria Chihuahuense, led by Julio Ornelas, Mario O’Reilly, Cristina Ramos, and Francisco Villaverde with the objective of promoting private investment and stimulating the creation of economic development zones, through real estate products, in order to encourage the installation and development of companies that generate economic growth in the state.


Job training center.

The following year, what is now the Work Training Center of Chihuahua State was created.

An institution that since its foundation has planned to raise quality and skills, professionalizing the different trades offered in Chihuahua.

Today the training center has become ICATECH (Work Training Institute of Chihuahua State) and INADET (Technological Development Aid Insitute).


CIE and DESEC Juarez.

The Economic Information Center was also created under the initiative of Enrique Terrazas, seeing the light in 1983, along with the creation of the DESEC Juarez chapter.


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Wiring and electrical circuits and DIGITAL

About to celebrate 10 years of operations, DESEC managed and aided the arrival of more companies, some of them through a great negotiation effort, such as wiring and y electric circuits, and others, by mere fate, as in the case of DIGITAL.


“…in 1984, after attending to the DIGITAL company, we took them to the airport to catch their flight to Guadalajara, where they had an urgent need to get to…”

“…the flight to Guadalajara was oversold and the company considered it inconvenient to establish itself in a city that had this type of problems in its air communications…”

“…we managed to get the group to fly to Monterrey and from there to Guadalajara; as the flight to Monterrey would take a few hours to leave, Arturo Ugalde invited them to his home and organized a meeting with beer and food to entertain them…”

“…the DIGITAL people were delighted and months later the company was established in Chihuahua…”.



During the following years, investments continued to come from ALTEC, MANESA, some with special requirements, such as Data General or Data Equipment, which required professionals specialized in information technology.

The challenge was still being met, but by this point, a new concern was knocking on the door: much of the foreign investment revolved around the maquiladora industry, but what about the other areas?

It was time to rethink the route.


Chihuahua Siglo XXI

Despite our achievements, we realized the need to approach our actions with a long-term vision based on in-depth, practical, diagnostic and prospective research, on which to base a project for the coming century.

Thus the idea of Chihuahua Siglo XXI was born and the first proposal, elaborated with the support of Tec de Monterrey at the end of 1987, constituted this great project.


Towards a better quality of life

Following the organization of a forum to receive proposals from the community in the area of quality of life and after an astonishing success in terms of attendance and participation, the organization Towards a Better Quality of Life was created.

In order to promote initiatives related to culture, public safety, environment, among others.


Francisco Barrio

The Chihuahua XXI Century project raised US$1 million from donors such as Víctor Almeida, Federico Terrazas, Federico Elías, Gustavo Madero, Jaime Creel, Luis Lara, Leopoldo Mares, Antonio Camberos, Ricardo Creel, Salvador Corral, and Raúl Armendáriz.

With support from the Economic Competitiveness Group of the Stanford Research Institute International headed by consultants Eric Hansen and Ted Lyman, and in coordination with Leonel Guerra as project director.

This scheme was promoted as a public policy for economic development in the State at the beginning of Francisco Barrio’s administration.

Trust generates progress

“…during a presentation to businessmen of the Chihuahua XXI Century Project, in the Red Room of the Government Palace, Francisco Barrio stated the following: ‘the alliance between the private sector and the State government is very important, but just as important, or more important, is the alliance between the private sector… and the private sector’…”


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Demic and Chihuahua Now

In 1994 Desarrollo de la Microempresa was created to serve entrepreneurs who could not be served by traditional banks; at that time with loans of up to US$6,000.

And Chihuahua NOW was born as a joint initiative between DESEC, Economic Development of Ciudad Juarez and the State Government to institutionally promote our state as a destination for foreign direct investment.

For the 20th anniversary celebration, we ceme upon a reconfigured DESEC, with vice-presidencies created to enhance the work of its members.

Not even the inclemencies of nature could stop us; the rainstorm fell to strengthen us, to reaffirm once again the mission of the cause.



The emergence of FECHAC and its noble cause of recovering what was lost, today known as one of the most generous models of social intervention.

The professionalization of research in the areas of Materials, Energy and Environment through CIMAV, an institution that contributes to the sustainable development of the country.

The integration of CODECH (1995), an entity with public, private, academic and social participation, which serves as a consultative body for decision-making, supported by the Law for Economic Development and Promotion.


The First Businessmen Congress of Chihuahua

In order to create a statewide business forum where the latest global trends in the field of business with international exhibitors could be presented.


Economic Development Planning Law

The broad collaboration between the private sector and the state government allowed us to draft a law proposal that seeks to strengthen economic activity within the framework of a promotional and non-regulatory spirit of the activities that have an impact on a better quality of life for the people of Chihuahua.


Chihuahua hosts the First International Clusters Workshop

Sponsored by the World Bank with the representation of 29 countries and the presence of Dr. Michael Porter from Harvard, Chihuahua’s cluster model was publicly recognized as one of the most outstanding in the world.


Gazelle Project

Focused on technology-based companies that have a high growth potential in a short period of time with the objective of promoting more investment from Mexican entrepreneurs, especially from Chihuahua.


The Competitiveness Institute

DESEC drives the creation of The Competitiveness Institute (TCI) with the objective of inspiring and strengthening connections, knowledge and competencies for people and organizations working with innovation clusters and ecosystems around the world.


Northwest Grand Alliance

Promoted by DESEC, the business organization Noroeste Gran Alianza is born, promoted by Alonso Ramos and Enrique Terrazas with the objective of promoting economic development based on the strengths of the northwest region of the state.


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Chihuahua Nuevo Milenio

The “Chihuahua Nuevo Milenio” Economic Development Plan was created to promote the study of fast track initiatives, benchmark best practices in the development of new businesses, define strategic economic activities and the competitiveness of the state and its regions.

Thus, the different Regional Economic Development Councils, CODERs, were created, which are made up of the following regions:

  1. Juárez
  2. Delicias Centro Sur
  3. Parral
  4. Cuauhtémoc
  5. Camargo
  6. Chihuahua
  7. Ojinaga
  8. Guerrero
  9. Nuevo Casas Grandes
  10. Jimenez
  11. Madera
  12. Guachochi



With the arrival of the year 2006, the concept of globalization coined the necessary strength to place itself on any strategy board, the Chihuahua Bilingual City initiative allowed for more attraction of companies from companies such as Teleperformance, and ITT Engineering and Manufacturing.



DESEC promotes the creation of the Trust for the Development of Downtown Chihuahua (FIDECHICE) in conjunction with the Municipal Government of Chihuahua with the objective of financially assisting with strategic economic infrastructure projects relevant to the city.


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Cluster dynamization

The first studies were conducted to identify and strengthen the city’s economic vocations as well as the start-up actions for the aerospace, automotive, information technology, metal-mechanic, medical tourism and functional food clusters; we also hosted the Latin American Clusters Congress.


Chihuahua Industrial Pact

At the same time that the cluster dynamization strategy continued, the following activities were carried out:

  • Creation of the Chihuahua Foundation for Innovation
  • The development of the state’s winemaking activity was boosted
  • The signing of the Santiago Pact to promote the wine industry in Chihuahua as well as the cultivation of berries (olive, cherry, raspberry, blackberry and blueberry) as an alternative proposal for profitable crops with much lower water consumption.
  • The creation and implementation of the Chihuahua Industrial Pact.

Industrial Pact
“… in a DESEC council session, Jesús Mesta asked us: ‘How many of you know what is happening in Chihuahua in the maquiladoras?’… So we decided to organize the 1st business mission from Chihuahua to Chihuahua. We rented a truck, and to our surprise, Don Eloy Vallina and Don Federico Terrazas accompanied us… We visited 4 plants with an entrepreneurial, not touristic, approach, in such a way that we created 4 companies that became suppliers to the IMMEX sector in opportunities that we would never have imagined if we had not made the mission…


Security Crisis

By 2010, our region and the country experienced an unprecedented wave of violence, with this came the impetus for the creation of the Citizen Security Council in 2012 and FICOSEC and the Security Observatories and CEDIPOL in 2013.


Rooted Solutions

It did not take long for these efforts to make us realize that the solutions to such a complex problem as insecurity would invole increasing our city’s competitiveness.

Thus, educational innovation initiatives were born through Technology Parks such as the PITs (Innovation and Technology Transfer Parks), the FabLab Flexible Manufacturing Laboratory in conjunction with the European Union, the UACH Techno Park and the Community Tower at La Salle University.

Following the philosophy of Lord Kelvin: “What is not defined cannot be measured. What is not measured cannot be improved. What is not improved, is degraded”, CODECH and the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) promoted the preparation of the Chihuahua Territorial Report, and the Private Sector Competitive Intelligence Platform (PICsp)


Chihuahua Energy Initiative

The Chihuahua Energy Initiative was born from the need to make use of renewable, clean and environmentally friendly energies in our state, but this initiative also promoted the creation of the Energy Directorate in the State Government.


Chihuahua Next

Promotion of the Chihuahua Next initiative in conjunction with the Municipal Government with the objective of accelerating local companies to become suppliers to the export manufacturing industry.


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Chihuahua Futura

Taking into account the possibilities, and calculating the variables, it is easy to make decisions that ensure success.

The next big move DESEC worked on was a long-term vision initiative, the Chihuahua City’s strategic plan for the next 30 years, an economic transformation agenda to compete in a global market based on local capabilities, articulated with technologies that can detonate greater opportunities to enhance its development with 7 strategic lines of development:

  1. Electromobility
  2. Smart Industry
  3. Habitat and Quality of Life
  4. Agribusiness and Advanced Food
  5. Transformative Culture
  6. Entrepreneurship Ecosystem
  7. Sustainability and Environment

And in turn, the other regions of our state were motivated to develop their own smart specialization strategy based on their current strengths and capabilities:

  1. Juárez – Frente Norte
  2. Delicias – Union Centro
  3. Cuauhtémoc – Poniente 2050
  4. Parral – Parral Futura

2019 – 2021

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The economic downturn generated by the COVID 19 pandemic had a major impact on the planet, coupled with a lack of implementation and opacity of the rules of operation and national public policies against the free market.

For Chihuahua, an exporting state, the blow was drastic, and the work had to go from planning to an immediate solution.

DESEC understood the challenge, and sought to specialize efforts in such a way that it spearheaded the initiative for the Contingency Room in coordination with the public sector to bring together businessmen, medical specialists, officials from the Ministry of Health and Economic Development, Foundations, Business Organizations, Trusts and Private Companies with the objective of reviewing the pandemic situation in the state on a weekly basis.

In addition, in the city, the Reactivation Plan was designed in conjunction with the Municipal Government with the participation of 58 business organizations through dialogue tables to allocate resources mainly to MSMEs in 5 areas:

  1. Consumer revival
  2. Health Safety
  3. Field Support
  4. Promotion and Image
  5. Financial Strengthening

We also collaborated actively in the Health Heroes Program which aims to pay the life insurance policy for public servants of the state health sector who work in hospitals in intensive care areas and/or areas designated for the care of patients infected with COVID-19.

Faced with the pandemic and the impossibility of meeting in person, we held digital advisory sessions and webinars for our partners with the presence of speakers such as:

  • Former Mexican President Felipe Calderon
  • Geopolitical Strategist Peter Zeihan
  • U.S. Senator Beto O Rourke
  • Jordan Belfort – The Wolf of Wall Street
  • President of the National CCE – Gustavo de Hoyos
  • Former Federal Secretary of Tourism – Enrique de la Madrid
  • Social activist Saskia Niño de Rivera
  • among others


Creation of the Vice-Presidency Chihuahua City Invest

With the objective of strengthening the competitive and comparative advantages in order to increase the attractiveness and position the city of Chihuahua as an intelligent option for investment, as well as the Business Investment Group with the purpose of articulating the efforts of the quadruple helix in the promotion of the city.


Liaison with the Federal Government

Through Mr. Alfonso Romo Garza, Head of the Office of the President of the Federal Government, economic infrastructure projects for the state of Chihuahua were presented to the President of Mexico through the National Council for the Promotion of Investment, Employment and Economic Growth (COFINESE).


Restructuring of the Business Coordinating Council of Chihuahua

We actively participated in the restructuring of the Business Coordinating Council, thus achieving the consolidation of a more dynamic Council, with greater representation of business organizations and greater budgetary autonomy.


Social Observatory FECHAC

A virtual platform called the FECHAC Social Observatory was developed to monitor the educational conditions, access to health and social welfare of the people of Chihuahua to help reduce inequalities and improve their quality of life.


Chihuahua Cluster City

Chihuahua Cluster City

Under the Chihuahua Cluster City strategy, the Chihuahua State Cluster Network was created and linked to high-value accelerator programs.


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Chihuahua Futura begins to impact Chihuahua’s economy

With the creation of the

  • Chihuahua Cybersecurity Center
  • The Center for Advanced Construction
  • The implementation of the Chihuahua Genial initiative of the vertical “Habitat and Quality of Life”
  • Collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to promote regional entrepreneurship in Chihuahua.
  • The formation of the Rector Cluster
  • Creation of the Start Up Chihuahua program
  • The Smart Industry Center
  • The STEM Academy
  • Promoting the Added Value Center
  • SPARK as an Innovation and Science Park focused on becoming a bridge between entrepreneurs and technology-based development companies.


Talent Development and Training through edX

Together with the State Government, the Municipal Government, edX and DELL Computers, we signed an agreement to promote academic specialization areas of professionals for the industry in Chihuahua through tailor-made courses taught digitally with the endorsement of universities such as MIT, Harvard, Stanford, Yale, Berkley, among others.


Mexico’s sixth most competitive city

The joint efforts with the Municipal Government through CODER Chihuahua demonstrated that unity is strength, so that the sum of the different efforts achieved, that our capital city will go from tenth to sixth place nationally in terms of competitiveness in cities with more than 1 million people,


Nearshoring and overseas links

During the last year of DESEC’s first fifty years in office, a phenomenon once again shook the foundations, nearshoring came to give Chihuahua a glimpse of a promising future.

The arrival of hundreds of industries to our region promises to be encouraging because in Chihuahua there are bases of operation that contemplate each and every one of the Chihuahuenses.

The expert workforce, with responsible authorities and businessmen who promote, and will continue to promote initiatives that contribute to the integral development of our region, which resulted in the Elaboration of Industrial Reserves and Labor Availability Study in order to be prepared for foreign investment.


CODECH Restructuring

This has had an impact on the reform of the Economic Development Law for the State of Chihuahua, the promotion of the Law for the Promotion of Entrepreneurship and the promotion of the Law for Science and Technology and Innovation of the State of Chihuahua through the Science and Technology Fund in conjunction with the Congress and the State Government, these efforts have generated greater budgetary and administrative strength for CODECH.

Currently DESEC has not stopped organizing the IEM Congress of Entrepreneurs with the presence of personalities such as:

  • Ernesto Zedillo
  • Jaime Serra Puche
  • Luis Ernesto Derbez
  • Peter Diamandis
  • Salim Ismail
  • among many more…

We also promote the Pact for Welfare and Economic Development with the State and Municipal Governments, reflecting the public agenda of the private sector through specific commitments that are followed up in periodic meetings with the Mayor and Governor in office.

In addition, we participate in 37 advisory boards of universities, trusts, innovation centers, companies and the public sector.

As we contemplate DESEC’s legacy, we are filled with inspiration and hope. its story reminds us that unity, vision and perseverance can transform realities and open paths to a promising future.

DESEC’s story is not only a tale of entrepreneurial success, it is a story of courageous people who believed in the potential of their land, who dreamed big and dared to transcend established limits.

Its dedication and passion have left an indelible mark in the history of Chihuahua and in the hearts of its people.

May DESEC’s story be a constant reminder that our actions and decisions have the power to transform our reality.

May it inspire us to work as a team, to seek innovative solutions and to never lose sight of the purpose of creating a better future for all.