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High hopes

image The Vela family enjoying the holidays.

HOUSTON - After earning a degree in engineering in his home country of Mexico, but being unable to obtain a job in that field, Oscar Vela, owner of Hi Precision Drywall, decided to move to the U.S. for a better life. “I had my degree in engineering and I couldn’t find a job for three years.”




    He came to the U.S. in 2003 and started working for his uncles who were involved in the commercial construction industry.  Their business slowed down, so he started working on small projects by himself and got into commercial framing. “I didn’t know anything about it, but I knew the basics. I started from zero here because I wasn’t working in the field I got my degree in, but I needed to do something.”
    All that hard work paid off when MedTech in Dallas gave Oscar his first commercial job in 2007 and he says it has been his most memorable project to date. “The company actually had an ad on Craigslist.” At that time, Oscar only had one other person helping him. “I can remember every single detail about this job. Where it is, where I put every single piece of sheetrock.”
    When he worked with MedTech, he was building small offices that were 3,000 to 6,000sf. He started working with Triad and they jumped to building out 100,000sf. spaces. Although his company has grown since that first MedTech job, Vela is hands-on with his work. “I still go out and work with the guys.”
    He is married and has three kids – 12, 9, and 8. “My middle boy, Saul, he’s just like me in every single way; the way he moves, the way he talks. I’m assuming he’s going to go into architecture or engineering.”
    Vela says the most challenging part of starting Hi Precision Drywall was learning to speak English. “I could understand everything, but it was hard for other people to understand me because my accent was so thick. I started watching cartoons on Nick Jr. and the Disney channel because the English is very clear and fluent. Kids learn that way, so why couldn’t I?”
    Even when he isn’t technically working, he’s still doing construction because him and his wife like to remodel their home. “I finished my house last year. We were there for three months, and then it flooded during Harvey.”
    He loves to fish and would like to try hunting, and enjoys going to Formula 1 races. 
    Hi Precision Drywall in Spring is a commercial drywall and acoustical ceilings contractor. - te

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Author Info
Tanya Erickson houstoneditor@constructionnews.net