Plugging into a ‘wired border'

November 27, 2001|By AARON CLAVERIE, Staff Writer

CALEXICO — Jon Finseth wants to plug Imperial Valley businesses into a "wired border" network.

Finseth is president and CEO of Tradepath, a Florida-based company that enables large and small businesses to buy and sell products over the Internet.

On Monday morning, Finseth presented information on his company's fee-based services to Imperial Valley business executives at the Elks Lodge here. He was invited to Calexico by the U.S.-Mexico Chamber of Commerce as part of its "Wiring the Border" workshop.

While Finseth's presentation was only one part of a day of activities for workshop participants, the business model of his Web-based procurement network serves as the engine of the "wired border" concept.


By the first quarter of 2002, U.S.-Mexico chamber President Al Zapanta would like to see a good percentage of the 400,000 binational U.S.-Mexico chamber members participating in the "wired border" network.

The idea is a border company looking to buy or sell a product would log onto a Tradepath run Web site to see if the product or service is available from another border-based business.

Finseth said local companies could help their fortunes — and take advantage of the North American Free Trade Agreement — by buying from a tight-knit collection of border companies.

To help facilitate matters locally, county Board of Supervisors Chairman Tony Tirado said Zapanta will be back to the Imperial Valley in mid-February to drop off computers and hardware to local companies that want to participate in the network.

"Let me tell you, it's right here in the Valley. This is where it is happening," Tirado said.

He said the concept of a "wired border" could serve as one of the resources to help bring the Valley a much-needed economic stimulus.

Tirado said he was impressed with the one-hour presentation by Zapanta on Monday.

"He's very knowledgeable of what the global economy is all about," he said.

Hildy Carrillo-Rivera, executive director of the Calexico Chamber of Commerce, also was impressed by Zapanta.

She said he was enthusiastic about the prospects in Calexico although he did stress that local leaders would have to take advantage of the opportunity.

"He said a number of times, ‘We're not going to do the work for you.' Basically the (U.S.-Mexico chamber) is going to set up the network and it's up to us to do the song and dance," Carrillo-Rivera said.

Alex Perrone of the Imperial Valley Regional Occupational Program said Calexico needs to get on board.

"It's global business now," he said.

>> Staff Writer Aaron Claverie can be reached at 337-3419 or

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