Jesús Garza named 2019 Austinite of the Year

Garza to be honored at Austin Chamber 142nd Annual Meeting on Feb. 5, 2020

Posted on 12/04/2019

The Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce today announced Jesús Garza, senior consultant for Strategic Partnerships, Inc., has been named "Austinite of the Year" for 2019.

Garza has been a community and civic leader in Austin—and the state—for decades. He began his career in government with the City of Austin in 1978, and eventually served an eight-year stint as city manager. Garza has held other prominent leadership roles in the community, including executive director of the Texas Water Commission and deputy general manager for the Lower Colorado River Authority.

As Austin city manager from 1994 to 2002, Garza led the city during a period of economic and population expansion. His tenure included business development, downtown revitalization, and the opening of the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport.

Garza also served as CEO of Seton Healthcare Family, overseeing Seton's partnership with the University of Texas to create Dell Medical School and the Dell Seton Medical Center, a teaching hospital that opened in 2017.

“Jesús Garza is more than deserving of being called the Austinite of the Year," said Chamber Board Chair Brian Cassidy. "Throughout his career, he has been a dedicated public servant as Austin City Manager, a distinguished member of the business community as CEO of the Seton Healthcare Family, and generous when giving back to the city and community he loves. Jesús’ time as city manager came at a crucial time as Austin began to transform into the economic powerhouse it is now. His stewardship and management of this expansion contributed to the revitalization of downtown and the opening of Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. Congratulations to Jesús on this honor.”

Garza is a board member of the San Antonio Branch of the Dallas Federal Reserve. He was named Public Administrator of the Year by the American Society for Public Administration/Centex Chapter, Public Official of the Year by Governing magazine and received a Lifetime Achievement award from the Greater Austin Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

Garza received a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Texas and a Master of Public Affairs degree from the Lyndon Baines Johnson School of Public Affairs.

The prestigious Austinite of the Year Award represents the highest honor of the chamber. It will be presented at the Chamber's annual meeting scheduled for Feb. 5, 2020.

The Chamber created the special award in 1984 to recognize significant leaders in the local community who were instrumental in making Austin an even better place to live, work and do business. Recent honorees include Ray Wilkerson (2018), Bobby Jenkins (2017), Dell Medical School Drs. Ken Shine and Clay Johnston (2016), Mobile Loaves and Fishes CEO, Alan Graham, (2015), Mayor Lee Leffingwell (2014), and Clarke Heidrick (2013). Other winners include the 45th Texas Governor Ann Richards, Dr. Patricia Hayes, and Wilhelmina Delco.

In addition to honoring Garza, the Chamber’s Annual Meeting provides the community with the opportunity to celebrate successes of the past year, look ahead to the future, as well as recognize new leadership. The Chamber also plans to recognize its Volunteers of the Year in several key areas. More information about the meeting can be found here.