Danny Zimmermann, executive principal and chief financial officer at Cleary Zimmermann Engineers, was tapped as the 2023 North San Antonio Chamber of Commerce board chair. Born in San Antonio, Zimmermann entered engineering largely because his father, Larry Zimmermann, worked in construction.
Danny Zimmermann earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from The University of Texas at San Antonio. He founded Cleary Zimmermann Engineers with Wade Cleary.
This article was edited for length, style and clarity.
What does Cleary Zimmermann do?
We do building systems engineering here, which is mostly mechanical, electrical and plumbing work. Anything in a building that has power or fluid running in it, we engineer it.
It’s mostly colleges, universities, schools, hospital systems, any kind of institutional building. About 70% of our work is publicly funded. The rest of our work is privately funded, mostly in manufacturing or corporate spaces.
Is there a city issue of concern for the chamber?
From a potential City Council ordinance perspective, the one we’re tracking is benchmarking—regularly measuring, tracking and reporting a building’s energy use. We’re concerned about proprietary information and the burden of having to comply with paperwork on something that really doesn’t affect the day-to-day operations of our businesses. There are privacy issues, too.
Name some upcoming chamber initiatives.
We’re in a transition of leadership, and we’re coming up on our 50th anniversary in 2024.
We have exciting initiatives that will allow us to better align with what our name and brand are, and what we’re doing to get us ready for the next 50 years. I intend to look at our chamber governance, do some strategic planning, survey our members and the public, and do a public perception study so we can throw our arms around what the chamber is.
In the coming weeks we’re also going to launch a search for a permanent [chamber] president/chief executive officer. I think identifying one by the end of summer is a reasonable time frame.
What about recent speculation of North San Antonio Chamber merging with the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce?
The North San Antonio Chamber will remain independent. You may be aware or have read recent news articles regarding discussions on a potential merger of chambers, specifically the North San Antonio Chamber and the San Antonio Chamber. While the degree to which these talks progressed has been overstated, it is important that our members hear from me.
The articles published were mostly editorial in nature and do not accurately reflect the true mission of chambers of commerce in general, nor were we given the opportunity to provide insight and perspective to the articles.
How do you view the business scene?
I have cautious optimism about our business landscape. I think we are experiencing pressures of inflation that are having a pronounced effect on the global economy.
On the flip side of that coin, San Antonio is buoyed by the continued migration by people into Texas. My business, being an entity that supports development, the rising tide lifts us up, too. More people moving here means we need more hospitals and schools, and more development across the board.