mechanics to Chicago Life is like a car engine: if the parts are not properly assembled, it is difficult to get anywhere. Vicente Torres understands this well, an immigrant who for 25 years has been a reference for any Mexican who has problems with his car in Chicago.
The pieces in Vicente’s life seemed to come together for a long time, when as a child, in the 1960s, he played in a mechanical workshop in his neighborhood, in Mexico City. Among engine parts, oil, and tools, he already felt since he was a child that there was his place in the world.
Even today Vicente is one of the few Latino mechanics with university technical training, who even with his more than 30 years of experience, participates in at least two or three seminars and courses with industry experts annually. Technology keeps changing and he knows he has to be on the cutting edge. Because it is not just about understanding how a car’s engine or electrical system works, but also about learning about each update of equipment and tools that a workshop needs, in order to offer a better service to its customers.
Thanks to the invaluable support of his wife Yolanda (originally from Mezquitic, Jalisco, whom he met in Chicago), seven years after working for others, Vicente Torres fulfilled his dream of opening his own business. Since January 1996, Tecnicentro Automotriz Inc. has offered the Mexican community honest and quality work, committing in writing to each client to give what they promise. In this way, it has managed to compete with most of the large car dealerships.
Your family is an essential part of the business. Yolanda is the one who attends to the clients and handles the administrative management. His daughter Inan is in charge of everything related to new technologies, social media management, and marketing. His son Edgar, who has already finished college, continues to train to become an expert like his father. He will be the one to continue the business.
Ease of decision-making, cost savings, human resource specialization, and more effective communication. This is what Vicente learned that an efficient family business must have to compete with larger companies.
Devotee of the “Saint of Migrants” mechanics to Chicago
A fervent devotion to the “Saint of Migrants” binds the hearts of Vicente Torres and his wife, Yolanda, in a tale steeped in both legend and historical sacrifice. The narrative unfolds in the vast desert expanse between Mexico and the United States, where a lost migrant, wearied and disoriented, encounters an ethereal figure—a tall, fair-skinned young man with light eyes. This benevolent stranger provides water, guides the lost soul back on the right path, and even extends a few dollars, refusing any immediate repayment. Instead, he imparts a cryptic instruction: seek him out in Santa Ana de Guadalupe, nestled in the heart of Jalisco.
Years pass, and the once-lost migrant embarks on a journey to fulfill his debt of gratitude. However, upon reaching Santa Ana de Guadalupe, he discovers a poignant twist to the tale—the mysterious benefactor was none other than Toribio Romo González, a priest tragically slain in 1928 during the tumultuous Cristero War. The chapel in the town stands as a solemn tribute to this revered figure, embodying the spirit of sacrifice during a period when the Mexican government forbade religious worship.
Toribio’s unwavering commitment to faith and service led to his canonization in 2000 by Pope John Paul II, elevating him to the status of Santo Toribio Romo, the “Saint of the Migrants.” This sacred acknowledgment resonates deeply with Vicente Torres and Yolanda, who annually partake in the pilgrimage along 26th Street in the La Villita neighborhood, paying homage to their revered saint.
In the tapestry of their lives, Vicente and Yolanda stand as devoted threads, weaving a narrative that intertwines faith, gratitude, and a shared commitment to honor Santo Toribio Romo—a guiding light for migrants and a beacon of compassion transcending the boundaries of time and space.
Union make force
That need to combine solidarity aid and constantly continue learning led Vicente Torres to found, 10 years ago, “Together We Grow” (TWG, an acronym for the English expression that means Together We Grow), which is the first business organization in Illinois. that exclusively brings together Latino auto shop owners.
His idea was as simple as it was effective: create a network in which all workshop owners benefit from sharing knowledge and also learn to grow their business, beyond technical issues related to mechanics.
TWG is the only association of Latino mechanics that has signed agreements with academic institutions, such as the University of Illinois at Chicago, which also helps them understand business administration.
Every year the market launches increasingly sophisticated auto models. The organization understands that egos should be put aside and seeks to mix the experience of most veterans with the knowledge of young technicians updated in new technologies. “That’s the only way that customers don’t end up at a dealership and keep going to their trusted mechanic,” Vicente says.
TWG partners, on Vicente’s initiative, have had a code of ethics for years. Because, as he himself says, honesty is the most valuable piece of the business.
- When he was playing in his grandfather’s workshop in Mexico City, Vicente Torres discovered that his passion is automotive mechanics.
- Upon emigrating to Chicago, and after several years of work and effort, in 1996 he opened Tecnicentro Automotriz Inc.
- A decade ago he founded the first business organization in Illinois of Latino auto shop owners.
- TWG is also the only Latino mechanics association that has training agreements with institutions such as the University of Chicago.
Jalisciense at heart
At the core of his identity, Vicente Torres embodies the spirit of Jalisco, a sentiment deeply ingrained in his being. The nexus between the bustling metropolis of Mexico City and the vibrant Jalisco community in Chicago is seamlessly woven through the life of Yolanda, his wife. Yolanda’s familial ties have been the conduit that binds Torres to the heart of the Jalisciense legacy in the Windy City.
Torres, a distinguished businessman, has not merely been a passive participant in this cultural interplay; he has been an active advocate and leader. His dedication is underscored by his role as the vice president of the Federation of Jaliscienses Clubs of the Midwest. Moreover, he assumed the presidency of the Club of Natives of Mezquitic, a municipality with profound significance as it is his wife’s hometown.
The driving force behind Torres’s community involvement was his unwavering commitment to ensuring the fruition of projects under the “3×1 program.” This innovative initiative derived its name from a collaborative effort wherein migrant organizations contributed one peso, matched by an additional peso from both municipal and federal governments through Sedesol. Torres, a meticulous mechanic, lent his expertise to ensuring that these projects were not just promises on paper but tangible contributions to the community’s welfare.
Such tireless dedication did not go unnoticed. Former Governor Aristóteles Sandoval, recognizing Torres’s invaluable contributions, personally visited his workshop in Chicago during a May 2016 tour of the city. The meeting was a testament to the impact Torres had made, transcending geographical boundaries to leave an indelible mark on the Jalisco community.
In the rich tapestry of cultural exchange and community service, Vicente Torres emerges as a symbol of unity and commitment, seamlessly blending his Mexico City roots with the vibrant spirit of Jalisco in the heart of Chicago.
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