After Jorge Díaz Padilla, PhD ‘74, finished his doctorate in civil engineering, he immediately returned to Mexico to start a consulting firm. “I got my tools from MIT,” he says, “but the most important thing I got was the curiosity to develop a company.”
Since then, his consulting company, Systec, has participated in numerous engineering projects, among them auditing the quality of housing financed by the National Housing Agency of Mexico and restoring the Metropolitan Cathedral of Mexico City.
As president of Systec, Díaz Padilla has become involved with Mexico’s association of consulting firms, Cámara Nacional de Empresas de Consultoría, and the international engineering consultants’ association, Fédération Internationale Des Ingénieurs-Conseils (FIDIC). In 2005 he was elected to a two-year term as president of FIDIC.
The organization, which represents thousands of firms in 74 countries, has a clear mission. “We are involved in quality, sustainability, integrity, contracts, and capacity development, and we develop global best practices that could be used anywhere in the world,” he says. “Firms from different countries can compete on a level field.”
The subject of entrepreneurship is one of Díaz Padilla’s passions. “Consulting is one of the most entrepreneurial activities people can engage in,” he says. “It’s low entry–you need your skills, you need your knowledge, and you need a computer. That’s what FIDIC has been promoting, and that’s what MIT has been teaching for the last 20 years.”
Graduation was only the beginning of Díaz Padilla’s long association with MIT. He has been president of the MIT Club of Mexico and the Mexican chapter of the MIT Enterprise Forum. Through these organizations, he has helped fund scholarships for students from Mexico and promoted local business opportunities. He has served on the board of the MIT Alumni Association and is currently an educational counselor for the Institute. MIT awarded him the Harold E. Lobdell ‘17 Award in 1987.
He and his wife live in Mexico City with their three children and one grandchild.