We at NEO Tech/EPIC are excited to host you in our “Agave Plant.” We are extremely proud to have a presence in Juárez. Our facility is located in a quiet industrial area just 1.5 miles from the US border and 25 minutes east of downtown Juárez. We acquired this business from Philips in 2002, and we are proud that many of those initial employees are still with us. When we first started manufacturing in Juárez, the area lacked an EMS supply base. As we grew, we convinced many suppliers to establish themselves on the Juárez side of the border to provide quicker service for our customers. In 2011, we outgrew our space and moved into the facility you will be visiting. Today, NEO Tech and our competitors are part of a thriving EMS ecosystem in Northern Mexico. While our factory is growing, more than half of our employees have been with us for at least 5 years (see chart at right).
Thank you for the opportunity to show you around our facility.
Agenda & The Border Crossing:
We will meet you at your hotel and drive over in one car (when possible). We recommend that you leave your luggage at the hotel, unless you have Global Entry & your passport. Our plant is a business casual workplace and closed-toe shoes are required. We do not recommend wearing high heeled shoes or a neck tie, and jackets are not required. Also note that your meals have been planned in advance at the facility.
The trip from the airport to the plant can take 40 to 90 minutes, with 20 to 40 minutes spent in the immigration office to complete the required FMM Work Permit paperwork. You will be asked to present your passport, even if you have Global Entry.
Upon your return from Agave, your first stop will be to turn in your immigration paperwork at the same office you visited in the morning. Then, if everyone in your party has Global Entry, we can drive you across the border using expedited lanes. If not, there are two options available:
- We can drive you across the border which may take from 2 to 4 hours. This option is recommended if you have special needs for mobility as Option 2 below is not ADA-compliant.
- We can drop you off at the outdoor Zaragoza footbridge, where you can walk approximately 2000 feet to the checkpoint. This will take 10 to 20 minutes. You will have to carry all of your luggage with you. We will send an employee across the border with expedited entry to meet you on the other side. (RECOMMENDED OPTION)
- The border patrol requests people not use their cell phones to make calls or texts while crossing. Photography is discouraged, so please leave your electronics in your bag during the crossing.
- At the plant, your cell phone may not work on US networks without turning on roaming, but you will have access to a secured WiFi connection.
FMM Work Permit Information
- Item 1 (Nombre) – Your First and Middle Names
- Item 8 (No. de Tarjeta) – N/A
- Item 11 (Nombre de la Aerolínea) – N/A
- Item 12 (Vuelo o matrícula) – N/A
- Item 13 (Estado y Ciudad de destino) – Cd. Juárez, Chih.
- Item 14 (Domicilio en México) – Blvd. Independencia – EPIC
- Repeat Items 1 to 10 on the second half of the form before returning to the counter
History of the Region:
Welcome to West Texas, the Rio Grande, and the Chihuahua Desert. You are in Mountain Time Zone (GMT -7, GMT -6 in the summer/DST).
It is hard to talk about Ciudad Juárez without talking about El Paso and vice versa. They are two cities, joined at the hip, founded as one city: Paso del Norte. Spanish explorers had been frequenting the area since the 1500s, beginning with Don Juan de Oñate, who is widely believed to have celebrated the first Thanksgiving Mass there — decades before the Pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock. The conquistadors established the town in 1659 as a strategic point for crossing the Rocky Mountains, 45 miles away from Las Cruces, NM, and a few miles east of the Continental Divide. Natives of Suma and Jumano heritage, who farmed maize in the region, loosely populated the area at the time. The Spanish settlement was marked by the Misión de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe, which still stands in Juárez.
The Mexican War between the United States and Mexico ended in 1848 with the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, which divided Mexican territory from the United States by the Rio Grande. The town of El Paso on the US side of the river was a small military outpost (now Fort Bliss) and the Mexican town was eventually named after Benito Juárez who fought and held Mexico during the French Intervention in Mexico in the 1860s. El Paso was officially incorporated in 1873 and became a wild west boomtown in the 1880s as a major rail hub. The railroad drew workers to the city, such as the Chinese and the African American Buffalo Soldiers, the Texas Rangers, missionaries, priests, and gunfighters, such as John Wesley Hardin and Billy the Kid. Henry C. Trost designed many of the architectural landmarks.
In 1910, prior to the Mexican Revolution, Juárez was the largest border city in Mexico. Many fled the city during the revolution. After the revolution, the area was redeveloped around gambling and light manufacturing. The city focused on manufacturing, and was well situated to benefit from later policies such as PRONAF and NAFTA. During the revolution, El Paso received many middle-class Mexican refugees, shifting the demographics towards Hispanic. The population of El Paso became majority Hispanic in the 1940s.
Post World War II, mining, copper smelting, and the oil industry boomed in El Paso, while manufacturing fueled growth in Juárez. El Paso welcomed low-wage Mexican labor.
In the late 1990s, effective border patrol by the US caused tension in Juárez among rival cartels. Conflicts between the Juárez and the Sinoloa cartels reached a climax in 2010. It is estimated that 400,000 people left Juárez during the peak of the conflict. In 2011, disorder dropped dramatically thanks to a number of initiatives including policies to keep kids in school and off the streets, the departure of the federal military, infrastructure investments in public transport and street widening, and the surrender of the Juárez cartel.
El Paso-Juárez Today:
The El Paso-Juárez region is the largest bilingual, bi-national work force in the Western Hemisphere with a combined population of over 2.7 million, GDP of $29B, and $100B in annual trade. El Paso, known as Sun City, is the smaller of the two cities.
El Paso is a key city serving the southern New Mexico and west Texas regions of the United States. The city itself is divided by the Franklin Mountains. On the west side is the University of Texas El Paso (UTEP), while Fort Bliss dominates the northeast area. The city is more than 80% Hispanic, and has been named the safest city in the US for the past few years. Western Refining (285 on the Fortune 500 list) and Helen of Troy Limited are headquartered in El Paso, as well as call centers, the world’s largest inland desalination facility, cotton production, and petroleum industries. The Wells Fargo building, at 21 stories, is the tallest in the skyline.
Juárez has welcomed its position as a boom city and has attracted many immigrants – more than 30% of its residents were born outside of the state of Chihuahua. Since 2011, the city has added 200,000 new residents. The population is highly educated and has 5 major universities in Juárez emphasizing technical and engineering careers, and literacy rates above 97%. There are more than 300 assembly plants (maquilas) in and around the city, most notably Delphi, Electrolux, Bosch, Boeing, Johnson Controls, Flextronics, and Foxconn. Many of these companies continue to expand their footprints as both industry and employees participate in the rebirth of Juárez. In fact, you will likely see additions being made at the Bosch facility on the way to our campus. In contrast, the town maintains remnants of its history, from the old Spanish mission to colonial facades to the modern sculptural masterpieces found in Plaza De La Mexicanidad.
About ¾ mile from the airport is a running trail. Just head south on Airway from the airport and the trail starts at Edgemere Blvd, heading east for a 4.5 mile roundtrip. We recommend catching the sunrise on your morning jog. And if you left your gear at home, Up & Running is the area’s premier running store.
The newest and nicest Crossfit facility in El Paso is Push Fitness, 6440 Gateway East, 915-203-8122. They are open 5am-9pm and have showers.
Yoga is relatively new to El Paso, and Case De Yoga East happens to be both the nearest studio (15 minutes away) and also the nicest. Casa De Yoga is located at 11660 Montwood (at Saul Klienfeld, across from Walgreens). Schedules can be found online (be sure to select the East location) or by calling (915) 921-1980
Do you need to stay sharp on your batting swing? Practice at The Base, 6801 Commerce St, Bldg 7D, El Paso, TX 79915, (915) 781-2299. The best boxing gym in the area is the UFC Gym El Paso East, 3136 Trawood Dr, Suite E7-9, El Paso, TX 79936, (915) 855-8269
Franklin Mountains State Park offers 24,000 acres and 125 miles of trails for all levels of hiking, mountain biking, and running, located in the middle of El Paso. The mountains are marked at night by a giant lighted star and there is a scenic aerial tram off McKinley Ave to a 5,600 foot summit. The highest peak is North Franklin Mountain at 7,192 feet. The McKelligon Canyon entrance is nearest to the airport and offers great hikes such as the Ron Coleman Trail. Trailmaps can be found at www.geobetty.com
The Butterfield Golf Course, designed by Tom Fazio and located near the airport, was ranked #3 Best Municipal Golf Course in the US. There is a daily fee.
Hueco Tanks park, located 30 minutes west of El Paso, is known for its world class bouldering, cave dwellings, and various archeological sites thousands of years old.
The Gun Central Indoor Shooting Range is located at 6010 Gateway Blvd off the I-10 via exit 24B, (915) 778-4867.
Crazy Cat Cycles rents out varieties of mountain and road bicycles, as well as car racks. Rates are as low as $30 per day, and the store is located off Mesa near downtown El Paso.
Xtremo Park is the largest extreme sports park in the region, featuring infrastructure for BMX and skateboarding.
Motorcycle rentals (BMW and Harley) can be found at Barnett, 800-453-0846
The Samalayuca Sand Dunes, located to the east of our facility, have been used in numerous films and are a popular recreational area for ATV and sandboarding.
Arts & Entertainment:
The city has a vibrant theater scene and attracts Broadway shows and international orchestras.
The El Paso Chihuahuas baseball team plays at El Paso’s Triple-A ballpark.
Sunland Park Racetrack & Casino is located 15 minutes from El Paso and features live horse racing December through April.
If you need to bring home gifts for the family and coworkers, we recommend a stop at the Saddleblanket, a 2 acre store selling woven goods, craftsman furniture, leather goods, pottery, cowboy hats, and anything else that would be representative of the Southwest culture – 6926 Gateway East off I-10 at Exit 25. Also, the highest quality cowboy boots in town can be found at Lucchese, and more unique boots can be found at Rocketbuster.
The Mission Trail offers tours of 5 historic sites near the Zaragoza Bridge. The Mission also hosts various festivals that celebrate the area’s rich 400 year history.
The region has many ties to space exploration including a spaceport, and if you were a fan of Star Trek then perhaps a visit to the Gene Roddenberry Planetarium could be squeezed into your agenda. The planetarium is located near the airport.
Ride in a 1941 Boeing-Stearman biplane with Far West Aviation for approximately $200, 915-309-4894.
Over Memorial Day, the local rock radio station hosts a hot air balloon festival.
The El Paso Rodeo occurs during the summer.
In August, the Plaza Classic Film Festival showcases classic films and documentaries.
In November, the Amigo Airsho takes over the skies of El Paso.
On the last Thursday of every month, El Paso hosts an Art Walk. The Arts District is located downtown at El Paso St. and San Antonio Ave.
There are several major sporting events held in the region. In June, the Pan- American Cup for women’s volleyball is frequently hosted in Juárez. The legendary Chupacabras mountain bike endurance race (100 km in length) is held annually each October. The Sun Bowl football game occurs around New Year’s Eve. UCLA played Virginia Tech in 2013.
Renting a Car:
If you rent a car and wish to drive across the border on your own, we will meet you at the immigration office on the Mexico side of the Zaragoza Bridge.
If you venture out on your own in Mexico, we advise that you do not drink the tap water and avoid drinks with ice cubes as our bodies are not accustomed to the parasites that may be in the drinking water. Because Juárez is a nightlife hub, we recommend that you avoid driving after sundown. Additionally, Mexico’s federal police routinely target international drivers for going over the speed limit (which may not be posted). And remember that they are measured in kilometers per hour, so a posted sign of 70 is actually 43 MPH.
El Paso is car-friendly and has an abundance of heritage attractions, Native American archeological sites, art galleries, and biodiversity parks. There tends to be traffic near downtown, but the rest of the city is less dense.
Scenic Drive runs through the south end of the Franklin Mountains and is highly recommended for some of the best views of the area.
If you want to visit some of the sites of the region, we recommend Mesilla (45 min drive, messillanm.gov, historic town with vibrant cultural scene), White Sands National Park (1.5 hrs drive) and Carlsbad Caverns (2.5 hr drive). Cloudcroft Village in New Mexico is the nearest winter sports resort (less than 2 hr drive), and offers great hikes and camping at 9000 feet above sea level.
New Mexico is known for folk art, and you can follow stops along The Arts Trail.
And last but not least, we recommend these local radio stations:
- Country Music – 96.3 FM
- Classic Rock – 105.1 FM
- NPR – 88.5 FM
- Sports Talk – 600 AM