Meet A Global Innovator: Enoc Ramírez From Oaxaca Mexico

Written By Ta Corrales & Enoc Ramírez

Published February 25, 2021

enoc, wearing a t-shirt and ballcap, sits in his workshop (a wide variety of tools and helmets hang on a wall in the background)

At Smith Assembly, we believe that embracing and empowering a breadth of perspectives results in better culture and better business. Global Innovators are solution-driven, brave, collaborative, and inspiring leaders from around the world who are pushing forward innovation in their own communities. In this blog post, I’d like to introduce you to Enoc Ramírez, a Global Innovator from Oaxaca Mexico with whom we collaborated to co-design our workshops.

A Skilled Maker & Designer of Dozens of Machines

Enoc Ramírez is a Oaxacan inventor and welder, Director of the Calmecac Innovation Center, and co-founder of the Jose Vasconcelos School. He is from Santiago Suchilquitongo, a community located in the Central Valleys of Oaxaca where he currently lives with his wife Ana and his two children Isaí and Jeny. As a self-taught welder, Enoc is constantly applying his extraordinary design skills to create machines that address some of the local challenges in his community.

“One of my passions is designing and building machines. Since I was a kid, I’ve had a special interest to know and understand what surrounds me. As a child, I repaired toys that other children threw away and I always considered myself an inventor. I have used my skills as a welder to design, modify, build, and test many different machines. I’ve made plows, comales, braceros, cinder block machines, concrete mixers, corn shellers, coffee pulpers, forage grinders, agave grinders, fruit dehydrators, lawn mowers, kitchen cabinets, rocket stoves, forges, horse trailers, butcher equipment, loading rails, different metal structures, fish farming tanks, windmills, cattle feeders, bread mixers, gate automation, chip presses, and many other machines.” — Enoc

Grassroots Innovation as an Alternative to Migration

Enoc’s primary motivation to work on community development and grassroots innovation projects is to help others find alternative sources of income to improve their livelihoods. He is especially passionate about supporting teens and young adults through the Calmecac Innovation Center, as it is frequently in their teenage years that many Oaxacans emigrate north. He also currently leads technology development for OAXIN Innovation Center with three active projects: mechanization of textile artisanal work for a group of women in a Triqui community; manufacturing of a fish descaler for a community business in the Ikoot community of San Mateo del Mar; and development of a totopo press in the same Ikoot community.

“Due to the lack of opportunities in many communities of Oaxaca, migration to northern countries (the United States and Canada) has increased exponentially in recent years. I too had to become a migrant in order to seek a better life for my family. Being an illegal migrant is very ephemeral. On the one hand you have enough food and a house, but on the other hand you suffer from loneliness as well as mistreatment by employers and authorities. In my experience, the best weapon we have to attack migration from most countries of Latin America is knowledge. Personally, through innovation and appropriate technologies, I found an opportunity to stay in my country and meet the needs of my family. With the Innovation Center, I want to help others stay in their communities and not need to migrate for survival.” — Enoc

An Affinity for Photography & Nature

Beyond his talents for design and engineering, Enoc is a mushroom enthusiast, fish farmer, raspberry farmer, avid hiker, and photographer. He loves camping with his family and eating roasts. He also has a special eye for capturing images that tell stories about his community’s history and environment. One of his favorite spots in his community is the Suchilquitongo Archeological Site, located in a beautiful hill with natural deposits of pink quarry.

“My favorite hobby is animal photography. While I was in the United States, to relieve stress, I took photography classes. I can handle 35mm and digital cameras. In my spare time, I usually take my camera and go out into the field in search of a good photo. I really like to cook, especially pancakes. And I also enjoy fish farming, my brothers and I take care of mojarras and Japanese fish.” — Enoc

We admire Enoc for his creative genius, his resilience after overcoming huge challenges as a migrant, and his eagerness to share with others his talents and knowledge. From us at Smith Assembly, all we can say is thank you Enoc! Learning from and with you has been a pleasure, and we’re looking forward to seeing your impact grow even larger in your community!

Want to learn more about Enoc? Check out the Q&A with Enoc Ramírez, 6 Things that Make Santiago Suchilquitongo Unique, and The Seasonal Fungi of Suchil!