Huntsville-Walker County Chamber of Commerce Introduces new CEO and President
The Huntsville-Walker County Chamber of Commerce had a Meet & Greet to introduce Ray Hernandez as their new CEO and President. The Chamber of Commerce had been without a President since April after resignation of Jim O’Callahan for health reasons.
Hernandez, a Texas native, helped increase membership of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce by 300% while in San Marcos. He has over 20 years of experience, last serving as President of the Lewisville Area Chamber of Commerce. Hernandez assumed the role of CEO and President of the Huntsville-Walker County Chamber of Commerce on June 25 after a nationwide search.
Huntsville City Councilmember Paul Davidhizar, who formerly served as the Chairman of the Chamber of Commerce, offered insight as to the types of skillsets and experience the Chamber was seeking in a new President. Davidhizar said, “You just have to be a good PR person, and you have to be able to engage the community and be a spokesperson for the community.”
Davidhizar pointed out that a Chamber President needed to be able to build relationships with the business owners here, and needs to be a good people person and administrator. “You got to be thinking forward too,” Davidhizar said, “One of the things I think the Chamber wants to do is to be more of an Ambassador for Huntsville.”
Hernandez graduated from Southwest Texas State University and received Economic Development training from Texas A&M University. He was also a leadership training graduate at the University of Texas at Austin. He served as a board member of the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives, the Texas Chamber of Commerce Executives and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Institute of Organizational Management.
Hernandez is a proud veteran of the United States Army and served at Fort Carson from 87-89 until he was injured in a peacetime accident. Hernandez’s father served in World War II and his son served in Iraq. When asked about his family’s tradition of military service Hernandez said, “I think it was from my dad’s service, but I think if you look at Latinos percentagewise, they are very patriotic. A lot of first-generation and second-generation Latinos are very thankful for the country they are in.” The Texas roots and patriotism for Hernandez runs deep. “We got here in my mon’s side in the late 1800s and on my dad’s side in 1910,” Hernandez said, “and so it was just you’re supposed to serve your country.”
When asked what motivated Hernandez to choose Huntsville he said, “Of course, you have to investigate any organization you are going to be a part of. I got through that process and what I found here is a very solidly grounded organization that’s been here since 1934 that is going to be transitioning.”
Hernandez talked excitedly about the future of Huntsville. “This community as we all know is going to be transitioning immensely in the next 5, 10, 20 years with 45 expanding and with the University growing. It’s going to change a lot so, we need to make sure that the business community is sitting at that table to help guide, not mandate, but guide the future of the community. That is the role we are going to play.”