Ask the CEO: Hispanic American Construction Industry Association

Leadership Associations Now September/October 2015

Executive Director Jorge Perez has his eye on the future. His focus: gathering data to better understand HACIA members and broadening the group's advocacy work at the state and local level.

Jorge Perez, executive director, Hispanic American Construction Industry Association, answers questions from HACIA member Marco Romero.

Romero: As executive director of HACIA, what are the biggest challenges you face?

Perez: My biggest challenge is continuing the mission of the organization and making our members, stakeholders, and greater community aware of what we do and why we do it. Also, we have been undergoing some important changes. We have new offices, hired new staff, and reorganized the structure of HACIA and its subsidiary, the HACIA Scholarship and Education Foundation. We also have been upgrading and enhancing our infra structure, which includes a new IT server, software, and telecom. This will help us gather more information from our members so we can serve them better.

How do you see HACIA evolving in the near future?

I believe we can enhance our position as the premier trade association for Hispanic architectural, engineering, and construction firms. Also, we will be doing more on the advocacy front. We have successfully pushed legislation in the general assembly in Chicago that has created more opportunities for our members to bid on projects and to compete and win. We want to broaden that to include other counties and cities throughout the state of Illinois.

I have observed that you have good oratory skills. How did you get to be such a good public speaker?

Thanks! That wasn't always the case. As a kid I stuttered a lot. I didn't go to a speech therapist. My father suggested I listen to talk radio because, he said, while they speak fast, they are saying all the words clearly. So that's what I did. But I would practice and practice, and later I learned how to breathe and relax.