Gome Gomez has several irons in the fire, with still more to strike. As a perennial entrepreneur, it's difficult to summarize Gomez's career because his pursuits have produced wins in arenas that are seemingly unrelated—from real estate to biotechnology.
Beginning at the University of Pennsylvania, Gomez co founded a chapter of one of the world's most successful startup incubators, the Kairos Society, while balancing his studies and his efforts to master Mandarin. After living for a year in Beijing, Gomez achieved fluency and furthered his entrepreneurial acumen by joining the Global China Connection as Head Ambassador for Latin America.
Following a stint in private equity at Bain Capital in Hong Kong and later at Nexxus Capital in Mexico City, Gomez joined Grupo Tracsa, a leading industrial services business, deploying his experience to launch a technology department that develops telematic monitoring solutions for the Industrial Internet of Things and implements seamless B2B e-commerce interfaces.
After graduating from Harvard Business School with an MBA, Gomez returned to Tracsa full time, undertaking a role that demands more responsibility than most people his age are prepared to shoulder. While he prioritizes his position at Trasca, he still managed to secure a seat on the board of Distrito La Perla, a massive real estate development project in Guadalajara, and assist in the launch of Saya Bio, a venture capital firm that focuses on biotechnology and continues to build an impressive portfolio—this, in addition to the investments Gomez has already seeded at Jopwell, Titan, Torch, Higo, Go-X, and Cresco Labs, among others.
Given the relative brevity of his career thus far, it's obvious that Gomez has learned how to efficiently and effectively optimize his time. We caught up with him to learn about his time management strategies and how he navigates his day-to-day.
Q: You've worked in finance, in startups, and now at the helm of a new division at Grupo Trasca. How have you applied what you learned as an entry level employee in private equity to managing diverse teams across several companies?
G: One of the most beautiful aspects about working in finance is that it gives you a set of tools that is helpful in analyzing and understanding businesses across industries. Luckily, I picked up a number of these ideas during my time in private equity; KPI frameworks, reporting structures, and valuation methodologies, to name a few. By looking at an industrial business that serves disparate types of customers through a financial lense, I think I have been able to more effectively identify key areas for investment, cost cutting, and operational improvement.
Q: There's a lot of social discussion about burnout. How do you stay driven despite the volatility that invariably accompanies running a team of more than a thousand people?
G: No one likes dealing with constant crises. However, unexpected, counter-productive events are the norm when running any business. I think an important quality of an organization is its ability to deftly handle these challenges, whether they be minor speed bumps or major industry-disrupting shifts. I judge many of the decisions I make on a daily basis in terms of how much they will prepare our company for the trials we will face in the future. This way, our company will do better in volatile situations and I will get to keep my sanity when the next crisis comes.
Q: When you returned Grupo Tracsa, what was your experience like and how did it shape your goals for the company?
G: My first year at Tracsa post-MBA consisted of spending time in the different business units within the company, becoming familiar with the team, numbers and product line for each division. Then, I visited all of our branches, where I had the unique opportunity to tour many of our customers' industrial facilities. Some of the types of operations I visited included a precious metal underground mine in which I went half a mile below the Earth's surface, multiple iron ore surface mines, a carrot farm, agave plantations that create rolling blue hills from a distance, the second largest egg producer in the world, a pipeline construction project traversing a mountain range, various road construction projects, marine and dry ports, and robotized car manufacturing plants. It was incredible seeing our machines in action at these customer sites. This enabled me to understand what customers' priorities are depending on the kind of business they run. New ideas came to mind in terms of new products we could offer to these customers and how we could improve our service for existing products. I realized that, for every second we spare our customers the need to think about their equipment potentially having an issue, that is a second we give them back so they can focus on optimizing other parts of their value chain. This insight led us to increase the customer facing team within our Product Support Division nearly by a fifth, further orient our operational metrics to reflect the value-add we deliver to our customers, invest in data analytics and process digitization, and introduce more technical training across the Product Support division.
A group of people wearing hard hats and helmets standing in front of a waterfall
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Q: How do you align high expectations with realistic results?
High expectations should be somewhat unrealistic. Goals that require a person or team to push beyond how reality exists today are what drive the world forward. I always try to remember to expect a little too much from myself and from others.
Q: What strategies do you use to mitigate inefficiency and ensure that your team operates at the highest level?
G: Language is incredibly important. One thing I've observed our CEO do often is talk about a deal like the only natural thing for us to do with it is win it; he firmly believes that we have the best people, the best products, the best infrastructure, and the best service culture; therefore, anything other than winning deals is unacceptable. Most impressively, he sets these very high standards without coming across as overbearing or patronizing. His style is always upbeat, but he implicitly communicates that we are in business to deliver excellence. As I have moved into leadership roles I have worked to tailor my communication so that it gets the objective message across clearly while also conveying certain attitudes that we want our organization to embody.
Q: Obviously the pandemic has impacted most businesses. What's been your experience? How are you navigating the quagmire and how do you envision the future?
Looking back, I divide our experience in dealing with the pandemic in 2020 and early 2021 into three phases. In the first phase, we set out to learn as much as possible about the virus before there were any cases in Mexico. In the second phase we implemented what we had learned so that we could safeguard people's health while maintaining our business functioning well. During the third phase, in which we currently find ourselves, we have started to explore new opportunities to become more efficient by leveraging technology and to grow our business by attacking new markets that we think will be important in the post-pandemic world.