Greater Austin Hispanic Chamber names interim CEO as Martinez resigns

The Greater Austin Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (GAHCC) board of directors has named George Gutierrez as its interim president/CEO.

Gutierrez, retired vice president of advertising sales and publisher of Greater Austin ahora si! for the Austin American-Statesman, will step into the role July 13 after current president/CEO Andy Martinez resigns.

"I want to make sure the transition goes here smoothly and that we do not lose any momentum because Andy's done an incredible job in growing this chamber and branding this chamber," Gutierrez said.

During the next few months, Gutierrez will help lead the search for a permanent replacement. He said the GAHCC will look for a leader who can help grow its membership base and develop successful programs for members.

The GAHCC, established in 1973, aims to continue the advancement and progression of a strong and stable economic culture for Hispanic businesses. In the coming months, the Chamber plans to recruit the next Hispanic Austin Leadership class, prepare for the Capital of Texas Awards in September, support the Capital de Oportunidades Conference in October and identify more ways to engage its members.

GAHCC Chairman-elect Thomas Miranda said the chamber hopes to have a new CEO by the beginning of September, and more details about the search will be released later this summer.

"It's been great working with Andy," Miranda said. "He's fantastic on building relationships and building capacity in the community, and it's going to be really hard to find someone to fill his shoes. What we would look for in a new CEO is continued capability in that general area as well as working with someone to keep a [finger on the] pulse of the community and the entrepreneurial and emerging tech scene in and around Austin."

Martinez is resigning from the chamber after more than six years of service.

"It's been very enlightening to me. I've learned a lot and been able to meet a lot of new people, and we've taken the chamber to new levels," Martinez said, adding that he is proud of the chamber's growth. "We truly have become a recognized chamber in the region in our five-county area, people know about the Hispanic chamber. In the past we really didn't have a lot of visibility."

He said he plans to spend the summer with his family and grandchildren before potentially engaging in new business in the private sector this fall. He said he does not plan to remain on the Central Corridor Advisory Group that is planning the Project Connect urban rail alignment but has notified the mayor's office and will choose a board member to take his place. He will continue to be involved with GAHCC as a member.

On his last day as CEO, July 12, the GAHCC will hold its first Technology Symposium, which Martinez said will demonstrate to small businesses how technology can help them accelerate their growth and increase efficiency.

The event will begin at 8 a.m. at the J. J. Pickle Research Campus in Northwest Austin. More information is available in the GAHCC's events calendar.

By Kelli Weldon
Kelli joined Community Impact Newspaper as a reporter and has been covering Southwest Austin news since July 2012. She was promoted to editor of the Southwest Austin edition in April 2015. In addition to covering local businesses, neighborhood development, events, transportation and education, she is also the beat reporter covering the Travis County Commissioners Court.


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