To say Abel Garcia knows about plastics is an understatement.
Garcia, who is a partner at 3gmExtrusion, a plastic pelletizing company, has dealt with plastic most of his life.
“I’ve been in plastics about 20 years,” Garcia said. “I used to work for another company where I did their R and D (research and development), sales. During sales this was one of my areas, because at the time, the Valley was hopping due to the all the maquilas that were running.”
On one of his trips to the Valley he met David Bazan who was also in the plastics business and together they saw an opportunity to create a business that would not only be completely green, but would create jobs in the future and help stimulate the local economy.
“That’s when I met David and I also saw an opportunity because there wasn’t a company here that would reprocess the material or pelletize from the scrap that people would throw away,” Garcia said. “It’s an opportunity down here to set up some machines to do the process.”
Garcia talked to his brother to see if he wanted to invest in the idea he had, but his brother turned him down because he didn’t want to get into the scrap business.
“I talked to my brother who I was working for at the time, but he said nah nah, I’m not into the scrap business,” Garcia said.
Garcia knew it was the scrap business, but nonetheless it was a business.
“The beauty of it was that there was an opportunity here in this area,” Garcia said. “I thought, man we can take that material, reprocess it and sell it back to them or resell it for other applications.”
Garcia also said he knows that companies who buy the pellets from him might not be able to put them into the same product, but they might be able to use it for other things.
Garcia juggled his idea for an opportunity for a few years and finally decided to get into business with Bazan.
“I said, hey, ‘we need to do it,’” Garcia said to himself. “David told me ‘you’ve been talking for seven years, why don’t you do it.’”
Garcia bought his first machine, and with Bazan and two other partners, they created 3gmExtrusion.The company has been operating since 2007 and has had it’s share of ups and downs.
“The first year was real good,” Garcia said. “We had a really good year because we did some work for Emerson. They had about 700,000 pounds of material that we pelletized.”
But in some cases, like with Emerson, companies see the product and cut the middle man altogether.
“It was so much (recycling) that they (Emerson) bought their own machine,” Garcia said. “I had no problem because there’s enough business for everybody and if you help people along the way, well that’s the object of being in this world.”
When companies do this to 3gmExtrusion, Garcia is fine because he knows he’s the first to do so and that companies are just copying him.
“Everyone always remembers who was the first person to cross the Atlantic Ocean (by plane), Charles Lindbergh,” Garcia said. “You don’t remember the second and the third guy, no, so that’s why I set up here. I wanted to the first guy that everyone knows I’m doing it.”
3gmExtrusion’s future looks to be bright. They were recently awarded a $15,000 grant from the McAllen Chamber of Commerce for a new switch box so they can run all their machines at once.
“I’m anticipating the future so I can run the machines at the same time,” Garcia said. “If I have the power to run more machines, that means I have to hire more people.”Garcia hopes to keep expanding so he and Bazan can help the community by creating more jobs in the area and help stimulating the economy.