Young Professionals of Cleburne members got an inside look of La Moderna on Wednesday during its monthly luncheon.
An extension of the Cleburne Chamber of Commerce, YPC’s mission is to connect, develop and engage young professionals in Cleburne to have a positive impact on the future of the community.
During the monthly meeting, guest speakers strive to engage young professionals in leadership development, networking, finding voice in the community and community service.
La Moderna opened in Cleburne last year, which is the company’s first U.S. plant. The company produces pasta, cookies and other food items though the Cleburne plant for now will focus solely on pasta. Founded in 1920, La Moderna is Mexico’s largest pasta manufacturer.
Company officials in 2014 purchased 16.5 acres in Cleburne’s Industrial Park and shortly thereafter began construction on their new 150,000-square-foot facility.
Interamerican Food Co. CEO Esteban Abascal gave YPC members a history lesson about the factory.
“We are probably one of the most modern pasta factories,” Abascal said. “We’re the top brand for Hispanic consumers for pasta. You will see that the way Americans and Hispanics consume pasta is very different.
“Hispanics consume pasta in soup and as side dishes, while Americans consume it more like the Italian way as main dishes.”
He has worked for the company for 10 years and said he was in charge of the U.S. market before becoming the CEO.
“I was in charge of this project five years ago to find the right spot where we were going to build the factory,” he said. “We knew it was going to be in Texas. The reason why in Texas is because it’s our main market in the U.S. It’s the state with the most sales.”
There are some factories in California, but he said they were more familiar with Texas and its landscape. The flour they use to make their pasta comes from Mexico, he said, so they knew they wanted to be able to transport the ingredient with ease.
The four communities they looked at to build the factory were Dallas, Houston, San Antonio and Laredo, he said.
“The Dallas-Fort Worth area was the best place for logistics because here there is a hub of transportation,” he said.
They brought the factory to Cleburne after having discussions with Jerry Cash, who’s the vice president of the Johnson County Economic Development Foundation Executive. They also liked how the location of the plant is right across the street from the Wal-Mart Distribution Center.
“We wanted to create jobs for people in the area, too,” he said.
For information about the factory, visit lamoderna.com.en.