By Christina Autry
Born and raised in East Aldine, district board member Carlos Silva still commutes every day to the same business that his father established in 1997. His father, Domitilo “Tilo” Silva left his machinist job and took the risk of starting his own manufacturing business, called Tilco Machine Works. Alongside his parents and three siblings, Silva has expanded the company from a small “mom and pop” shop to a 3-facility company that takes pride in being able to give back and hire from the East Aldine community.
“My family has always been a close-knit group. We used to take trips to Monterrey to visit family, and trips to AstroWorld,” says Silva. “This has allowed us to have good communication while working together, and most importantly, respect for each other.”
Growing up in East Aldine schools and graduating from Texas colleges, Silva and his siblings all found their way back to the family business. “Our parents always encouraged us to chase our dreams and go to college to study whatever we were interested in,” says Silva. “It was because our parents never demanded that we return to work for Tilco that we all eventually came back.”
With degrees in business, CNC programming, accounting, and engineering, translating into positions at Tilco, the Silva siblings have been able to combine their education with their parents’ years of experience in the machining industry. His father Tilo remains the President of the company, and his mother Clara is the Treasurer and Secretary. “Tilco has given us everything we have. My parents have sacrificed and put forth a lot of effort into maintaining the business,” says Silva. Tilco earned their quality management certification from SAI Global, which further encourages companies needing machined parts to place their trust in Tilco.
Tilco manufactures parts primarily for the oil and gas industry, but they have also made it a point to diversify among various other industries. The company uses CNC machines to turn raw steel into finished products such as down-hole components, drilling jars, motor tools, or valve components. CNC machines are invaluable tools that use computer programming to create parts specifically requested by customers.
“In the future, we would like to get involved with aerospace, medical, or even renewable energy,” he explains. “As general manager, I look at where our opportunities lie. Our business has been around for over 20 years, and we have to know where we’ll be in the next 20.”
Having been a resident and business owner in East Aldine area naturally brought Silva into contact with the East Aldine District board two years ago. After attending board meetings, and helping to develop ideas for the improvement of the district, he applied for a board position and was accepted. Silva describes his experience as board Treasurer as a “tremendous opportunity to serve in a community that is experiencing a lot of growth and change. This area has a great deal of potential,” he says enthusiastically.
The continued development of the exciting new Town Center is at the forefront of what Silva is currently working on with the district board. “The Town Center is a revolutionary project for this community,” Silva says. This 300,000 square foot plot of land will include a Lone Star College campus, the largest Baker Ripley Community Center in Houston, an amphitheater, a park, hiking and biking trails, a Joe V’s grocery store, retail, the East Aldine District office, and the Harris County 9-1-1 call center, designed to withstand Category 4 hurricane conditions.
In an effort to help both students and entrepreneurs in the East Aldine district, Baker Ripley opened their fabrication lab in 2018, thanks to the Chevron Fab Lab grant program. With fabrication tools, prototyping machines, and services such as business plan writing assistance, K-12 students, university students, and anyone in the community now has access to STEM materials and resources to help further their ideas and small businesses.
“This is going to be the crown jewel of the district,” says Silva. He notes that the opening of the Lone Star campus provides an opportunity for building partnerships with his business, and other businesses in East Aldine. “We are the community at the doorstep of Houston, just south of IAH. We can change the narrative of the area, and it’s starting to happen. We no longer have to wait; things are happening now.”
Tilco Machine Works
2402 Sandydale Lane
Houston, TX 77039