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As the new President and CEO of the Westside Development Corporation (WDC), I’d like to introduce myself and tell you how excited and humbled I am to lead this incredible organization.My experiences on the westside of San Antonio are some of my most treasured and they have shaped much of who I am today. My grandfather’s church on Menchaca and their home on Rivas is where I spent a lot of my days growing up. I remember walking the neighborhoods handing out invitations to church services as my grandfather would tell me about the importance of community and taking care of your neighbors. They didn’t have much but they gave all they could and our family church often became a place of refuge for westside families in need. I attribute these experiences (and my mother’s chancla) for keeping me on track and inspiring my career in community service.
Here’s some other random facts about me:
- Most people call me Ram (you are welcome to as well)
- I previously worked for the City of San Antonio for 15 years in urban redevelopment
- I’m a small business owner
- I sing karaoke at every opportunity (mostly country and Sinatra)
- I graduated from Edison High School and UTSA
- I have about 60+ cousins here in SA (“free babysitters”)
- I once got stuck in an old metal milk canister and had to be cut out (long story)
- I don’t speak Spanish very well, but I’ll get there
Perhaps most importantly, I’m passionate about creating opportunities for families and businesses to reach their financial goals. It starts with making the westside a better place to live, work, play, invest, and do business; but at the heart of it all is making sure that the families and businesses that make the westside what it is today are still here 10 years from now and are thriving because of it. It’s all easier said than done but I look forward to meeting this challenge head on with all of you.
Right now, our small businesses are struggling like never before. In response to COVID-19, we have intensified our efforts to support westside small businesses through this pandemic, recovery and beyond. If you are a small westside business and have not yet reached out to us, please call our free, bilingual small business helpline at (210) 598-8482. We have hand sanitizer, masks, and thermometers to give you, and guidance on how to reopen safely. We also want to make sure we can contact you easily when the next round of assistance becomes available, because the windows for funding are so short. Eventually we will get through this and come out stronger on the other side of it. I am sure of it.
In the meantime, I look forward to meeting each of you at some point soon and working together to build a stronger westside for everyone.
Yours in service,
Ramiro I. Gonzales