News Column

Head of Austin's Hispanic Chamber Stepping Down

July 2, 2013

The head of the Greater Austin Hispanic Chamber of Commerce will step down this month, saying he wants to return to the private sector.

Andy Martinez, who has served as president and CEO of the chamber for more than six years, declined to say what his next venture would be, but said he will take some time off to spend with family and "charge up the batteries."

George Gutierrez, a retired advertising executive for the American-Statesman and former publisher of Ahora Si!, will serve as the chamber's interim CEO until a permanent replacement is found.

"The fact that we've elevated the chamber as an organization that is truly impactful relative to economic development, leadership and business development ... along with workforce development -- all those things kind of wrap together (and) give me cause to say wow, this has been a fun ride," Martinez said. "I really have enjoyed it."

Martinez pointed to the successful launch of a business incubator during his tenure as one of his proudest achievements.

Martinez's last event with the chamber will be a July 12 tech symposium in which representatives from Google, IBM, Microsoft and others will speak.

Gutierrez said the chamber, which has about 700 member businesses, is in the process of trying to launch a research center that would provide business data for Hispanic-owned businesses throughout the area.

And that number of businesses is growing. According to chamber research, there are currently 33,000 Hispanic-owned businesses in Central Texas. That is projected to increase to 47,000 by 2020, Gutierrez said.

Source: (c)2013 Austin American-Statesman, Texas Distributed by MCT Information Services

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