Hector Pinto – From ‘I can do it’ to solutions
“They took me in his car to another house, and there was a lady there, and they told me that ‘you’re going to just pretend to be her son. And when they ask her these questions, this is your name, this is your mom. And the next morning, sure thing, we walked to the border, and we walked right in.”
“I never intended to be big; I just intended to be the best.”
- Hector grew up in the hard country of Honduras until 14
- Hector immigrated to America by crossing the border
- Hector worked with his mother until he could enroll in school
- Hector dropped out of high school and started working at 17
- Hector continued to work hard after his first job
- Hector started his own business and has been successful
- Hector’s daughter is in line to take over his business when he retires.
Russell and Scott have a conversation with Hector. An immigrant that struggled as a child but became a success in the San Gabriel Valley.
Hector immigrated to the San Gabriel Valley in the 80s and hasn’t strayed too far away since then. Hector was only 14 when he first came to America. His mother worked as a housekeeper, and Hector had nowhere else to go, so he would follow her from house to house and help.
Honduras is a tough country, and most of Hector’s family has immigrated to the U.S. with the expectation of one sister that owns a business there.
On Hector’s journey to the United States, he came across the border from Mexico to get here. It took him several attempts, and didn’t even really know what was happening. He had thought that he was in the U.S., but then at night, he had tried to cross with some others across the river, but they couldn’t because of the current.
He even remembered the helicopter hovering with a spotlight searching for people crossing.
Hector wasn’t able to attend school until his mom had her own place. She was able to get her own apartment in El Monte.
What was it like growing up?
It was different because Hector’s father stayed behind in Honduras. He also didn’t even start to learn English until he was a sophomore in high school.
What happened after high school?
Hector actually dropped out his Sr year. He was behind because of how he started and felt like catching up would be impossible because of the language barrier.
Hector decided it wasn’t worth the hassle. He got his first job at a fast-food restaurant. He met his future wife around this time as well, when he was 17.
Shortly after that, he became a machine operator. He also decided that what he did, he was going to be the best at it. He was doing so well there that within 3 years, he had moved up the ladder over people who had been there for 15 years.
After this first job ended because of a sale of a company, Hector was recommended to another person by a friend. That first one didn’t actually happen to work out, but the second one Hector’s friend did recommend did because of his ability to throw himself into work.
What does your company do?
They work on shelving or racking systems at large stores like lows. Home Depot places like that. They work in maximizing space. They also do things like lighting and sprinkler systems to make sure those places are in code. Hector has a general license, so he can actually check for anything the stores need. They don’t actually do the work. They get the people that the customers need.
Did your dad ever make it here? Does he know what you’ve done?
Hector actually went out to Honduras to get his father and pleaded with him to stay for 30 days. He won his dad over in those 30 days and asked to stay a little longer. Even though he did stay for longer than the 30 days, he still went back to Honduras.
Hector worked very hard at his career, something he was passionate about, but he made it work because, like he tells others, he’s responsible for his actions, and he is the captain of his own ship.
- Skate Junction in long valley
- Oceans Chinese Restaurant on valley boulevard
- The late-night taco stands that are around the SGV
Hector Pinto came from humble beginnings, enduring harsh living conditions as one of eight children born into poverty in San Pedro Sula, Honduras. At the age of 14, he saw the opportunity to move to the United States and took advantage. Learning English and finding whatever work he could, Hector put his heart and soul into everything he did – and so his success story began.
At the age of 20, Hector was introduced to the material handling industry, in which he would eventually become a leader. While he has always been a gifted salesman, it’s his ability to build relationships with his customers that have really helped him attain success over the years. Hector’s big heart, electric personality, enthusiasm for life, and sense of humor have been instrumental in strengthening these relationships. When he’s not making everyone around him laugh, he’s encouraging people to excel in whatever it is they do. He pushes people to be their absolute best and truly wants to see everyone succeed.
After years of working for material handling companies and gaining extensive knowledge and experience, Hector took a leap of faith in 1991. He and his wife, Brenda decided to start their own material handling company right out of their living room. There with a small folding table underneath the staircase, a phone, pen, and pad, Quality Material Handling was born. Starting as a one-man team, Hector did everything on his own – including closing sales, making deliveries, visiting customers, and performing installations. He would stop at gas stations to change out of workwear and into suits when transitioning from installations to sales calls. In his first year of business, Hector grossed $127,000. It was his positive energy and optimism, along with Brenda’s support, that became the driving force behind their success.
Hector’s biggest victory comes from fighting for his business through tough times. Like most businesses, QMH faced extreme challenges during the recession in 2009. There was also an issue of internal theft that took a toll on the business. While it’s easy to become overwhelmed by these problems, Hector and Brenda pushed through with diligence and integrity, keeping their unwavering faith and optimism responsible for their success.