Getting to Know Metrohm Mexico
I’ve been at Metrohm Mexico for two days now. But even though time has just been flying by, it’s hard to believe it’s only been two days, because so much has happened. Elvira, who’s my Metrohm guide to Mexico, warned me when she picked me up at the airport a little more than a week ago: «It’s going to be a little tour de force.» Well, she wasn’t kidding!
A Typical Mexican Breakfast
Monday was my first day at Metrohm Mexico, and the first day of the Metrohm World Tour! I was greeted with a typical breakfast from Mexico City: atole, a sweet, thick drink made from corn or rice, and guajolotas—bread rolls filled with a tamal, a specialty made from corn dough. A heavy breakfast, but as it turned out later, a good source of energy for what awaited me later … This is Diego Amor, CEO of Metrohm Mexico, filming and commenting on me eating my first guajolota:
After finishing breakfast, Diego gave me a tour of the premises (after having greeted me with some instructions on what to do in the case of an earthquake, which have occurred very frequently the past few days …). Metrohm Mexico is located in Coyoacán in the South of Mexico City, a quiet part of town that is home to many arts and culture sights, including the house of Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera, which is today the Frida Kahlo Museum. The building was taken into use in April last year and was designed specifically for the needs of the company: with a warehouse in the basement, reception on the ground floor, the service area and a calibration lab on the first floor, an applications lab and training room on the second floor, and office space and a cafeteria on the third floor, our Mexican colleagues have everything they need right at hand to go about sales, trainings, service and repairs, and more.
A University—or a City?
In the two days I’ve spent with Metrohm Mexico so far, I’ve already visited several customers. On Monday, after our Mexican breakfast, Elvira and I joined sales rep Claudia, who’s responsible for customers in the south of Mexico City, to the UNAM, the National Autonomous University of Mexico. Here, Metrohm instruments are being used in several labs, for both teaching and research in various fields. For example, we visited a group working in environmental analysis and another researching processes used in the petrochemical industry.
The UNAM is one of the most prestigious universities in Latin America and its dimensions pretty much blew my little European mind: with nearly 400’000 students, it’s as big as an entire city, and the campus is actually known as the Ciudad Universitaria—the University City. You can get lost on this campus (and I would have, if it hadn’t been for Claudia’s good knowledge of the campus). After visiting three research groups and returning to the parking lot, we’d walked more than 10 km, and we only saw a small part of the campus.
On Tuesday, Elvira and I went on a bit of a roadtrip: after a ca. 4 hour drive from Mexico City, we met with David, sales rep for the Bajío region in central Mexico, to visit a large Colgate-Palmolive plant together and talk to some of the people working with Metrohm instruments there. What I found striking on all of our visits was the special relationship that Metrohm Mexico’s field staff and their customers share: they often greet eachother with a hearty hug and call each other by nicknames. All agree: working with the people at Metrohm Mexico feels like working with a colleague rather than a business associate.
In the afternoon, we drove another good hour to see one of the area’s main attractions: the «Peña de Bernal», one of the tallest monoliths in the world. This peak, consisting of a single, huge rock, is both a natural and a cultural monument, and after two long days, the perfect place to enjoy the peace and quiet—and yet another Mexican specialty: pulque—although I have to say I didn’t particularly enjoy it. This traditional drink dating back to pre-Hispanic times is made by fermenting agave juice and tastes like a mix of liquefied sourdough and smelly feet. And what better thing could there be to raise a glass to my 28th birthday?!