LSA 42 explores San Antonio’s economic development landscape

Highlighting the local and foreign investments that make San Antonio strong, LSA 42 members were able to visit with presenters outlining why San Antonio is primed for continued economic success.

Starting off with a focus on San Antonio’s small business community, members were treated to breakfast and words of wisdom from La Panaderia owner Jose Casares.  While enjoying breakfast, members also heard from former San Antonio mayor and 2015 San Antonio Chamber Chairman of the Board Henry Cisneros.  Cisneros provided a history of San Antonio’s economic development and how small businesses have played a pivotal role in that story.  Supporting this premise, Janie Barrera, the Executive Director of LiftFund, outlined the vast array of services they provide for small businesses and how class members can get involved in helping spread the message.

No community can be complete without creating a “livable city” which was the next focus of the day, taking place at the famed Mi Terra Café located in El Mercado. Class members listened to business leaders discuss how San Antonio continues to work toward creating a strong cultural community through the arts, food, and sustainability.  Presenters included Suzanne Scott, Executive Director of the San Antonio River Authority; David Adelman, Principal with Area Real Estate, LLC; and Michael Cortez from La Familia Cortez.  But hearing about a livable city was not enough for this class—they were able to see it through a virtual experience provided by James Chandler and the team from IMG Studios.

Transitioning from the talk of creating a livable city, the team then discussed San Antonio’s employer and talent recruitment strategies that allow us to remain globally competitive.  KSAT 12 News anchor Steve Spriester served as moderator as members heard from San Antonio Economic Development Foundation President & CEO Jenna Saucedo-Herrera.  Saucedo-Herrera highlighted prominent industries in the San Antonio area to date and areas of growth like cybersecurity and the biomedical area.  She also emphasized the need for continued focus on improving workforce development efforts in our community through programs like SA Works.  Chamoy Creative then helped lead the group in an exercise where they created an elevator pitch for San Antonio and how they can help sell San Antonio’s brand to potential outside investors and employers looking for a new home city.

Finally, the class participated in a unique panel experience focusing on San Antonio’s unique relationship with Mexico and the importance of supporting trade agreements like the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).  Moderated by Jesse Degollado, KSAT 12 News reporter, the panel included Ambassador Geronimo Gutierrez-Fernandez, Ambassador of Mexico; Reyna Torres Medevil, Consul General for Mexico; and Lionel Sosa, formerly of Bromley Communications and founder of Sosa & Sosa.  This esteemed panel discussed the current tensions between Mexico and the U.S., including recent challenges created by the passage of Senate Bill 4 during the 85th Texas Legislature.  Ambassador Gutierrez-Fernandez emphasized the need for San Antonio to take a prominent role in discussions of any future NAFTA 2.0. “San Antonio has a real opportunity to not only play an important role in these discussions, but to lead the effort to ensure any agreement benefits all parties,” said Gutierrez-Fernandez.

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