What does it mean to be the Chair of the fourth most economically powerful Hispanic chamber in the nation?
On June of last year, the Statewide Hispanic Chamber Of Commerce of NJ (SHCCNJ) announced its new Board leadership team. Carlos A. Medina, Esq. was elected as the new Chair of the Board and President, a heavy lift with a double responsibility not many can stand.
Founded in 1989 by a group of four volunteers led by Dr. Daniel H. Jara, the chamber has a long history of representing Latino business owners in New Jersey, growing its membership to over 2500 Hispanic business owners and representing almost 70,000 Latino businesses that call New Jersey their home.
Carlos A. Medina has big shoes to fill
Upon Dr. Jara’s retirement after 22 years dedicated to advocating for its members, Latino businesses, and the Hispanic community at large, Medina accepted the immense commitment of filling Jara’s shoes. “I was a Board member for nearly seven years, and when Daniel became ill, we decided to overlap both positions and make it a volunteer post with no compensation. My business is doing well enough that I was able to commit time and dedication to the chamber,” Medina told VOXXI.
Medina, the president and owner of Robinson Aerial Surveys, a civil engineering, aerial mapping and survey services firm located in Hackettstown, N.J., took over the company in 2008 and was able to grow its client portfolio with major public and private players; such as Con Edison, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the New Jersey Department of Transportation, the New Jersey Turnpike and private clients including Parsons Brinkerhoff, AECOM and Jacobs Engineering, among others.
“Having been a Board member, my goal is to provide more services as a return of the investment our members make in annual fees. We have been criticized that we don’t do enough, so we are looking to expand not only our numbers but also our geographical reach to Central and South Jersey,” Medina explained.
Medina, who presents himself as quiet and temperate, is an energetic and tireless advocate for the chamber, having set ambitious goals for his post. “All businesses are conducted through friendships and alliances, so our goal is to put as many people together in a room as frequently as possible,” the new Chair said.
They are expanding to Central and South Jersey with the support of the SHCC Central Jersey Advisory Committee, which includes business owners and professionals from these areas. “Luis de la Hoz, founder of Feria de Negocios Hispanos del Centro De New Jersey networking group has been of great value to the chamber bringing increasing activity among Spanish-speaking business owners and also reaching out and promoting our events through social media,” Medina added.
During his short time in office, the chamber has signed two meaningful Memorandums of Understanding (MOU). Medina together with current President Dan Mateo and President Elect Lou Acevedo from the Hispanic Bar Association of New Jersey elaborated and signed an MOU to work together and increase value to their respective members.
The importance of Hispanic business
During the ceremony, Chairman Medina stated the importance of counseling to Hispanic businesses, “With Hispanic Business owners reaching 70,000 strong this year, there is a great amount of counsel needed to help these business owners grow and thrive”.
As part of last year’s New Jersey Hispanic Leadership Summit—an annual event held at Rowan University in Glassboro, NJ—the chamber also signed an MOU between both organizations, with the support of Angel Fuentes, representing the NJ 5th legislative district and NJ Senator Robert Menendez. “Our participation in these events will help us to provide better geographic coverage for our members in the Southern portion of New Jersey,” Medina said.
In December 2012, the chamber, representing small sole proprietorship firms as well as Fortune 500 corporations in the Tri-State area, organized the 22nd Annual Convention and Expo at the Rutgers University Student Center in the post-Hurricane Sandy landscape.
“New Jersey has the fourth largest concentration of Hispanic businesses in the nation—or 5.7 percent—with an earning power of $10.1 billion in combined revenues. At the time when recovering and rebuilding New Jersey is instrumental, the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce has to reach out and aggressively pursue procurement, capital access and financial how-to for all our members and Hispanic businesses,” Medina said.
The new Chairman also praised the Christie Administration for having been supportive of the chamber and its expanding efforts. The State is working closely with UCEDC, a non-profit economic development corporation, the Latin American Economic Development Association and Rising Tide Capital of Jersey City to provide training and access to capital for small businesses, minority and women business owners.
“Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno is the Business Liaison of Gov. Christie’s Administration. As soon as she learned of my appointment as new Chair, she immediately reached out to me and offered her assistance to New Jersey Hispanic businesses,” Medina stated. “It proves that the Administration understands the importance and supports the efforts of Hispanic businesses in the state,” he concluded.