Bob Gutierrez SJ Hispanic Chamber of Commerce’s New President

The San Joaquin County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (SJCHCC) recently announced the appointment of Bob Gutierrez as the president of the non-profit organization.  Bob Gutierrez is direct, optimistic and clear: “The Chamber has been on a healthy track first with Mark Martinez leading the way and Brenna Butler Garcia during her time – both were strong CEO’s with talent.  They brought in new programs spurring growth in their positions; and, I intend to continue that growth, expanding programs, continuing others, and looking for new opportunities to serve the needs of the community.”
A Stockton business executive, Bob Gutierrez is a very busy man.  In addition to being president of the SJCHCC, he is vice-chairman of the California Hispanic Chambers of Commerce, and director of government affairs for PAQ Inc. (Food 4 Less/Rancho San Miguel) as well has having served as Central California region director for the statewide chamber. Gutierrez is also the Chairman of the San Joaquin County Partnership.
“My goal is to strengthen and expand our business community through community relations, that provide access for local chambers and their members, encourage business-friendly policy reform and help our local chambers jumpstart and continue economic development and/or recovery in their regions.”
SJCHCC has a long history of being one of the most accomplished Hispanic Chambers in the State.  Formed in 1972 as the Stockton Mexican American Chamber of Commerce, it went on to become founding charters of both the California Hispanic Chambers of Commerce and the US Hispanic Chamber of Commerce; and with good reason – the leadership within the organization had been substantially strong over the years and the Board set a vision for SJCHCC to offer programs and services for its members that were relevant, impactful and strengthen the Hispanic business leadership in the community.
“The San Joaquin County Hispanic Chamber has been significant in the vitalization and re-vitalization within San Joaquin creating dynamic progressive opportunities for economic growth.”  It has also provided an important political presence whose strength is based in keen insight, unbounded optimism and progressive leadership.
Over the past years, the organization has deftly increased political and economic influence – not only locally and state-wide, but nationally – and has had a significant positive impact on Latino and female-run businesses throughout the Central Valley.  Gutierrez is quick to note that the Chamber’s “historic success and engagement as an agency has been dramatic.  The SJCHCC has expanded program capacity, increased membership and created community partnerships that provide substantial benefits to our members and also boosted funding streams to historical record-breaking levels – acquiring more corporate sponsors in recent years.”
The gains created by the Chamber’s leadership has stemmed from insight found through the personal experiences of its CEO’s, Presidents and Board Members – having an understanding of small businesses themselves, recognizing the challenges many business owners face and addressing those challenges head-on.  It is in knowing how to deal with regulatory burdens, how to gain access to working capital and access to information on how to efficiently operate are critical needs most businesses face; and exactly why an effective business advocacy group like the SJCHCC is so critical for most small business owners.
SJCHCC Past-President, Sylvester Aguilar has noted that “one of the most important things for any non-profit or association is what makes you relevant.  We go out and represent our members; we want to be a part of the recovery of Stockton, San Joaquin and Central Valley; but we don’t want to duplicate the efforts of other groups.”  Gutierrez, as did his predecessors, understands this.  “It’s important that we take assessment of what our members need to be successful in the Central Valley and provide them with the services and resources that can help them achieve success quickly and efficiently,”
Through its programs such as the Leadership Luncheon and its advocacy efforts, getting members and community leaders engaged civically as well as politically is significant.  The Chamber has made great strides by developing new partnerships within the community while strengthening current alliances to create state-level opportunities for minority-owned and female-run small businesses.  Knowing and understanding that their members, who are in all areas of industry, are impacted by the procurement trade in Central California, the Chamber has made a concerted effort on the membership’s behalf by getting involved early in the planning process of construction and development process knowing its involvement as an advocate is essential for small businesses seeking contracts.
“The Board is amazing,” Gutierrez proudly says with a big smile.  “I am especially proud of how the Board has been able to grow together, and the commitment past members have to the Chamber is significant.  It shows, once you are a part of this organization, you want to be part of it for life.”
SJCHCC continues its commitment to adapting to the needs of its members as a progressive and nimble organization that has done a remarkable job at addressing the current needs of the business community and creating relevant and impactful content to their members.
“There’s so much which has and continues to play into the success of the Chamber.  Our programs, our community involvement and our corporate sponsors – without which we could not do everything we do.  The Chamber is a remarkable organization – one that I have already been proud to be part of whether on the Board of Directors or as a member.  I am proud to volunteer my time for what we do, what we accomplish, what we represent.  We are more than a resource; we advocate and fight to make things happen for the businesses of San Joaquin County.”

Mark Apostolon

Mark Apostolon has been a professional writer for 40 years, beginning his career as a newspaper reporter and columnist. r. Apostolon has received three Emmy’s as well as has the Cine Golden Eagle, multiple regional and national awards plus 22 Emmy nominations.

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