New Economic Development Director Ready for Action
After nearly a year of searching, the City finally decided on Roland Peña to be the next Economic Development director of San Angelo.
“This has been an effort a long time in the making but we are definitely glad we made it to this day,” said Scott Tankersly, President of the Development Corporation as he addressed the media. “We all have a vested interest in this; we all want San Angelo to grow and prosper.”
Chamber of Commerce President Phil Neighbors added that the Chamber contracts with the City of San Angelo Development Corporation (COSADC) and appreciates the opportunity to be partners.
“Personally, I can say that by reputation we are fortunate--I could not find anyone to give me bad information about you, Roland,” Neighbors said among peals of laughter. Neighbors then stepped back to let City Manager Daniel Valenzuela introduce the man of the hour.
Valenzuela explained that Peña had to jump through many hoops, but eventually came out as the best man for the job in the City’s eyes. The City received 36 applications, and interviewed five in the first round, then narrowed the list to three before making the final selection.
“One of the first things I do is make sure that I am surround by the best people for the job,” Valenzuela stated. “That makes it better for our citizens and city.”
Peña was flattered by the statements made regarding him. He described economic development as partnerships rather than just businesses.
“If San Angelo thrives, companies thrive, if companies thrive, San Angelo thrives,” he explained. Peña is also aware of the many challenges he will face involving drought and infrastructure.
He mentioned that water is a problem for the entire state and he plans on continuing to work with other organizations to solve water issues. Peña also described San Angelo’s problem with infrastructure and lack of major highways, praising the city for its economic success despite such issues.
As a former resident of San Angelo, and one who’s visited San Angelo to shop and play for his whole life, Peña is thrilled to be home.
“I have to pinch myself because I am so overwhelmed, I never thought we ( he and his family) would be coming back,” he said.
Peña added that San Angelo has always been the most innovative in the region, as well as the hub in the area. He looks forward to being a part of the innovation and growth of San Angelo.
“I’m excited about getting in here and finding out where we are at,” Peña stated. “How many projects are pending and what can we do to get them completed.”
Many of Peña’s new coworkers are rather excited to see what he’s bringing to the table.
“We can always see changes, and we’re going to learn what his priorities are,” explained John Dugan, Vice President of the Chamber of Commerce. “I don’t think our general mission will change.”
Dugan’s statement is one that Phil Neighbors agreed with, stating that the Chamber looks forward to a long partnership together with Peña.