U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce executive C. LeRoy Cavazos-Reyna is returning to San Antonio with a new business venture that first sprouted at the chamber.
Cavazos-Reyna, who spent five years at the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce before heading to Washington D.C., has launched a consulting firm that will focus on minority-owned small businesses in San Antonio.
Localism, Inc., will offer a full range of business-related services, including government affairs, strategic planning and diversity work, with a special focus on international business.
“I’m going to be very focused on binational affairs with Mexico,” Cavazos-Reyna said, “taking advantage of the new provisions provided through the modernization of the [United States–Mexico–Canada Agreement] and making sure that businesses are able to tap into those provisions.”
He said the new venture was inspired by his work serving Hispanic and minority-owned business owners in San Antonio from 2012 to 2017.
That work continued in Washington at the U.S. Hispanic Chamber, where he served as Vice President of Government and International Affairs under Ramiro Cavazos, (no relation) who served as president of the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber before leaving in 2018 to helm the U.S. Hispanic Chamber.
The U.S. Hispanic Chamber has retained Localism, Inc. to help plan legislative events through 2023, said Cavazos-Reyna.
“LeRoy is a trusted expert in meeting the policy challenges faced by small businesses, governments, corporations and nonprofits,” said Ramiro Cavazos.
Cavazos-Reyna, who grew up in Mission and attended the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, said he always planned to return to San Antonio.
“I always knew when I came to Washington, DC to work for the U.S. Hispanic Chamber that eventually I would always be back to San Antonio,” he said from Washington D.C., where he is wrapping things up before moving back.
Localism, Inc. will be headquartered out of Unico Communications, an event planning, communications and marketing firm on San Pedro Avenue. He said he believes the company will fit in well with the “entrepreneurial ecosystem” in San Antonio.
“There’s a very strong network of … people who do business with each other, people who do client referrals with one another,” Cavazos-Reyna said.
He told the San Antonio Report that he felt his work at the U.S. Hispanic Chamber was done, but instead of moving on to a corporate job, he chose entrepreneurship.
It was that or run for Congress, which he hasn’t closed the door to, he said.
Cavazos-Reyna said Localism will offer more targeted, community- and people-focused services, as opposed to the more “macro” level work he did for companies while at the chambers, such as offering technical assistance programs that can help many businesses at once.
Even choosing the name of his firm, he said, reflects that “at the end of the day, everything is local, everything goes back to that community.”
Castle Hills Mayor JR Trevino, who met Cavazos-Reyna in 2014, called him “unapologetically passionate.”
The two met during their time at the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber when Cavazos-Reyna was Vice President of Government Affairs. For years, Trevino bore witness to Cavazos-Reyna’s lobbying and advocacy for minority-owned, small businesses in San Antonio.
“He advocated at the city council, he advocated at the Capitol,” Trevino said.
In 2014 when the City of San Antonio imposed strict ride share rules, leaving Uber and Lyft employees in limbo for three months, Cavazos-Reyna and the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber advocated successfully for the companies to stay in San Antonio.
In 2013, Cavazos-Reyna and the chamber helped Chef Johnny Hernandez open his first restaurant in the San Antonio International Airport, La Gloria.
“We were involved in a lot of stuff at the city level, advocating for different things that affected minority businesses across the state,” Cavazos-Reyna said.
Cavazos-Reyna said San Antonio chambers do help local companies break into the international market, often taking trade missions abroad. But he said there is still a need for organizations that follow up and help companies over the long term. He hopes Localism will fill that role.
“If you’ve ever had a chance to talk with him, you see that he puts his heart into everything,” Trevino said. “Everything that he has done since I’ve known him has been about supporting small businesses.”