CORPUS CHRISTI — On October 24, a new face will lead the United Corpus Christi Chamber of Commerce.
Al Arreola Jr, the new president and CEO, was most recently the head of the South Texas Business Partnership in San Antonio since May 2014.
“It feels like being back home,” Arreola said. “A lot of familiar faces a lot of friendly faces. I am a proud graduate on Texas A&M Corpus Christi in 2003.”
He said things were much different back then when it came to jobs.
“It was hard for anybody to find work,” he said. “Let alone college grads.”
Arreola went back home to Del Rio and became the executive director of the Chamber of Commerce there before heading to Alamo City.
“I was president of the South San Antonio Chamber of Commerce and we merged with the West Side Chamber of Commerce,” he said.
Arreola helped merge the two to form the South Texas Business Partnership and put his efforts into redeveloping those areas---building relationships between businesses and the community.
He also made San Antonio business Journal’s 40 Under 40 list.
He said he planned to continue efforts to build business and community relations in the Coastal Bend.
“We are a business organization,” he said. “We organize our business members. But those people have keen insights, objective insights on how a community can be developed.”
He said he’s excited to take on the new role.
“The economics in South Texas are changing fast and Corpus Christi is a special place that is making that happen,” Arreola said. “So that this areas and communities like you’re talking about or even south side and the island, as they continue to develop so that we continue to retain our quality talented residents.”
It is a goal shared by the Downtown Management District.
“When you partner that with all of the momentum in San Antonio, everything going on in the valley and down in Brownsville, it really is a tremendous time for South Texas,” Alyssa B. Mason, the executive director on the DMD said. “So, I think it’ll be great to have a partner that understands that from a regional perspective so that we move all of South Texas forward…I want to extend a warm Corpus Christi welcome to that new leader.”
“We’re still dealing with a lot of post COVID realities,” Arreola said. “And tourism was one of the big industries that got hoped zapped and so we gotta do our part to make sure that downtown can be successful and we are gonna do our part to make sure it can.”
Arreola will replace former president and CEO John La Rue who is retiring.