The Chamber wouldn't be able to accomplish all that we do each year without the generosity and dedication of our council and committee volunteers. These outstanding members of our community are a big part of the reason why Austin is a great place to do business.
“In a year that challenged us all, these business leaders offered extraordinary service. At the same time the Chamber faced its own uncertainties, so did the entire Austin business community. With remarkable skill and persistent effort, these volunteers helped the Chamber successfully pivot its operations and offerings, leading to a strong economic rebound. Their individual contributions to the Chamber and the broader business community have made a world of difference.”
-Chamber Board Chair Craig Enoch
Julie Fisher, Global Community Impact Leader, NI
Our Austin Gives Business Awards Committee increased our focus on including diverse representation from throughout the Central Texas region. Julie's relationship in both the for-profit businesses and non-profit community helped activate our vision to help non-profits tell the stories of their business partnerships. She helped bring a talented nomination committee together to make that vision reality. Her leadership helped us take another step forward in celebrating these partnerships in giving.
Monica Fernandes, SVP Banking Relationship Advisor, Northern Trust
Monica stepped up to build and lead the largest ever Greater Austin Business Awards nomination committee. She did an outstanding job of recruiting and activating a diverse group of community leaders, and she was instrumental in adjusting our award categories and helping us build strong judging matrix. Monica collected input on how we should proceed, considering the impact of COVID-19 on our business community. She and her team helped focus on best business practices that spotlight companies based on performance other than income. This type of leadership has delivered so many new nominees sharing amazing stories that show the core values of our business community.
Ali Khataw, President & CEO, Encotech Engineering Consultants, Inc.
Ali is the President & CEO of Encotech Engineering, also an Opportunity Austin investor and Chamber Talent Ambassador. He currently serves on the Chamber’s Board of Directors and the Chamber’s Regional Mobility Committee. Ali was active on the committee during Project Connect discussions over the past year and provided keen insights from his professional engineering expertise, as well as his personal thoughts on how mobility plays a role in overall regional planning. Personally, Ali is an accomplished photographer and received the Community Leadership Circle Award from his alma mater UT Austin.
Ed Latson, Executive Director, Austin Regional Manufacturers Association (ARMA)
Ed has been a tremendous asset to the Austin Chamber, especially in the wake of COVID-19 and the recruitment of key companies. Ed has worked alongside the Austin Chamber economic development team to grow the existing manufacturing industry cluster and to recruit new manufacturers to the Austin Region. He has participated in numerous meetings with prospects and most recently helped to galvanize support for the Tesla project. As the pandemic started to develop locally earlier this year, Ed supported the Austin Chamber’s efforts by assisting with the distribution of surveys, gathering of information, and dissemination of Austin Chamber communications. We are proud to be partnered with the Austin Regional Manufacturers Association and the appreciate the continued support Ed Latson has consistently provided.
Chi Lee, Principal, Corporate & Commercial, Perkins + Will Austin
Chi is the Principal for Corporate and Commercial Architecture at Perkins and Will, an Opportunity Austin investor. Chi has been an active member on the Chamber’s Air Services Task Force and this year, taking a leading role in providing ABIA with briefings from Perkins & Will and their partners on design techniques and technologies related to pandemic planning and safety. Personally, Chi is originally from Taiwan and grew up in Pittsburgh. He also volunteers with Meals on Wheels.
James Mulhall, Senior Manager, TEL U.S. Holdings, Inc.
James Mulhall is a decorated disabled veteran from Operation Desert Shield, Operation Desert Storm, and the Somalia Humanitarian Mission. James has spent more than 20 years working for Tokyo Electron America, a Chamber member company and Talent Ambassador. As a graduate of Northeast Early High School, formerly known as Reagan High School, Austin Community College and Texas State University, James “pays it forward” by leveraging his personal, military, academic and industry experience to provide mentorships and presentations to young Central Texas students, reaching out to all levels of the academic community. During this pandemic, he volunteered time for online career videos to help students who were “learning from home”. A longtime Chamber volunteer, his passions include his family – Vesna, Neven, and Anja – and academics, leadership, global travel, and vintage VW Bugs.
Geronimo Rodriguez, Chief Advocacy Officer, Ascension Seton
In addition to his role as Chief Advocacy Officer for Ascension Seton, coordinating policy/advocacy efforts and the response to COVID-19 and his role as a public servant and President of the Austin ISD Board of Trustees, exercising governance over our largest school district, Geronimo generously volunteers his time to serve as a leader on the Chamber’s Education Council and DTC70 Executive Committee to engage business leaders and address barriers to student academic/career success, improve access and affordability for postsecondary education, and ensure more Austin students graduate with the skills they need to succeed in our economy. He also served on the Chamber’s Opening Central Texas Taskforce to provide input and guidance on recommendations to the City and County on issues impacting schools, such as the digital divide and childcare challenges, that contributed to the safer reopening of Austin and Central TX. Geronimo is a true civic servant leader and champion for students. Our schools, our students, our community, our Chamber, and Austin are better off because of his countless hours of volunteer leadership.
Trey Salinas, Principal, 3 Point Partners
When the pandemic hit, Trey Salinas helped ensure Austin’s critical infrastructure businesses were deemed essential, including those that manufactured products that helped combat COVID-19. He worked to establish COVID-19 protocols in order to establish safe and secure environments for construction workers at job sites. These sectors provide a foundation for Austin’s strong economy, and Trey worked to keep these businesses running to put Austin in a position to come out of this pandemic stronger than ever.
Lilly Smith, Outside Sales Representative, Texas Systems Group
Lilly joined the Ambassador Committee at the beginning of this year and has shown her commitment to the mission of the program by her fervent participation and willingness to assist with any project. She is a stellar leader and participates heavily in her Toastmasters group as well. She is a dedicated committee member who is reliable and always approaches any obstacle with a smile.
Ellen Wood, CEO, vcfo
For the past three years, Ellen has been a key leader and collaborator for the Global Technology & Innovation team. She brings 20+ years of experience as founder, CEO and community leader to the table when providing strategic guidance for our Global Technology & Innovation programming. Ellen consistently attends our Capital, Innovation and International Advisory Committee meetings and actively supports our work with local investors and founders. In addition to her leadership at the Austin Chamber, she is involved with the Entrepreneurs Foundation, Women@Austin and the University Federal Credit Union. We are fortunate to have Ellen on our team, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.