TIJUANA, BAJA CALIFORNIA, Mexico — For most of his 38 years as a business owner, competition has driven the success of Rodrigo Valle Hernandez.
Whether it was extending business hours to weekends and through lunch at his newly opened shop; whether it was hiring females to play prominent roles; whether it was utilizing the latest and most technologically advanced equipment; or whether it was securing the exclusive rights to sell Michelin products in his region, Mr. Valle excelled in outcompeting the competition.
He built one fledgling shop in Tijuana, which opened in August 1982 just as the peso was severely devalued, into a Mexican automotive empire. Grupo Tersa, as his conglomerate is called, operates more than 150 stores, including 45 company-owned and three distribution centers in eight Mexican states.
In addition, he operates 13 auto dealerships, selling three different models (Renault, Peugeot and Jianghuai or JAC, a Chinese manufacturer) as well as a real estate company.
"I was born with gasoline in my veins," Mr. Valle said.
Last year, Grupo Tersa eclipsed $100 million in sales, with the tire business accounting for $60 million in sales alone.
With cancer ravaging his body, doctors gave him 90 days to live. That was 11 years ago. And counting. So when Mr. Valle, executive president and founder of Grupo Tersa, decided to organize his own charitable foundation, it would have been natural for him to build an organization that would out- raise and out-fund more established foundations.
Why not be the best charitable foundation in the Mexican state of Baja California?
Instead, Mr. Valle took a different approach. He organized his charity, the Valle Bibb Foundation, to support many of the other charitable organizations in and around the region.
To date, Mr. Valle's foundation has raised more than $3.5 million in U.S. dollars to support more than 15 charities. And remarkably, in the seven years since Valley Bibb was formed, nearly 11,000 have received help, in a country that offers little in public assistance.
That alone makes him a worthy recipient of the 2020 Tire Business Tire Dealer Humanitarian Award, which recognizes an independent tire dealer or retreader in North America who, during the past year, has made significant contributions to the betterment of his or her community through charitable and/or public service work.