Richard Perez, the President and CEO of the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce, is the 18th President to lead the 2,100 member organization in its 121-year history.
Richard grew up in San Antonio and attended South San Antonio ISD schools. While growing up, Richard received his first taste of business experience working at his family’s landscaping company, Fairway Landscape and Nursery, during junior high and high school. Following graduation from South San High School in 1985 he received his Bachelor’s degree with a major in Urban and Regional Planning from Texas State University in San Marcos. He then went on to attain a Master’s degree in Public Administration from the University of Kansas.
Richard often says that he felt that studying public administration and urban planning is the best way to give back to the community that gave so much to him. Richard keeps his promises. His career has become one of community service for two decades.
Following graduate school, Richard served as Assistant to the City Manager for the City of Laredo. It was during this time that he witnessed the challenges facing cities along the South Texas border due to the exploding population and changing demographics. In 1998, Richard was appointed by the Clinton Administration as the Special Assistant to the Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, where he served until January, 2001. Richard then returned to San Antonio and rejoined the family business from 2001 - 2003, when he was elected to the San Antonio City Council to represent District 4.
While on City Council, Richard quickly became a go-to leader for important tasks. He chaired the San Antonio Military Transformation Task Force and the Transportation Policy Board of the San Antonio-Bexar County Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO). In addition, he served on the City’s International Economic Development strategic efforts team by acting as a City Ambassador via travels to India, Mexico, and Japan, and led two trade missions to India, resulting in a sister city agreement with Chennai, India in 2008.
Richard became recognized for his ability to cross political lines to ensure the best results for the City of San Antonio. He also followed a strict open-door policy and was always willing to listen and respond to the needs of all citizens of the community.
Under Richard’s leadership at the San Antonio Chamber, the city has benefitted from many initiatives supported by the business community, including:
- The extension of the San Antonio River Walk to include more than 13 miles of linear parks.
- The location to San Antonio of the Air Force’s cybersecurity headquarters, the 24th Air Force.
- The kickoff of a new NCAA Division I football team, the Roadrunners of the University of Texas at San Antonio in 2011.
- The creation of a cybersecurity plan for the City of San Antonio which has helped the city become known as one of the best prepared cities in America.
- The passage of the Vista Ridge Pipeline project, ensuring a stable water supply for the future.
- Funding for Alamo Plaza Revitalization and
- for retaining and sustaining our military bases.
Richard also continues to serve on many boards including the San Antonio Sports Foundation, Austin-San Antonio Corridor Council, Pre-K 4 SA, San Antonio Mobility Coalition, CentroMed, ChildSafe, The San Antonio Economic Development Foundation, Free Trade Alliance, San Antonio Medical Foundation and United Way of San Antonio. Additionally, he serves as the Treasurer for BioMed SA and was Chairman of the Metro 8 in 2012-2013, a coalition of the largest Chamber of Commerce in Texas.
With all of these accomplishments, Richard will tell you his most prized possession is his family. Richard is married to Judy Lynn (Patterson) and they are the parents of three children: Clarissa, Elissa and Ricardo Antonio.