The founder and former president of the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals (NAHREP) has been named the new district director of the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) district office in San Diego. Ruben Garcia, 58, will assume his duties next week as the top SBA official overseeing SBA financial and educational development programs for San Diego and Imperial Counties. Garcia replaces former SBA district director George Chandler who retired last September after heading the local office the past 25 years.
“Ruben Garcia has a rich background in business and education and will easily make a smooth transition into SBA and San Diego’s small business community,” noted SBA Administrator Hector Barreto. “He’ll work tirelessly and with dedication on behalf of new and established entrepreneurs to help them achieve success. That’s just the kind of person he is.”
The son of a Texas field laborer, Garcia moved with his family to Southern California when he was five and graduated years later as student body president of Belmont High School in South Central Los Angeles. After a year in college, he enlisted in the U.S. Army, graduated from the West Point Preparatory School, and served in infantry and special weapons assignments. Over the past 30 years, Garcia has held management positions with a number of firms, including ARCO, Texaco, Clark Equipment, Yale and Caterpillar Corporations. In 1999, Garcia incorporated NAHREP and served as its founding president/CEO and executive director. Under his guidance and leadership, the organization grew from three to more than 13,000 members in only three years. NAHREP is a non-profit trade association committed to increasing Hispanic home ownership by empowering real estate professionals that serve Hispanic consumers.
Garcia inherits an SBA district office that was ranked No. 1 among 70 offices nationwide in attaining a number of fixed goals during Fiscal Year 2005. SBA guaranteed close to 1,400 small business loans with a value of more than $400 million the past year in San Diego and Imperial Counties and provided over 27,000 clients with counseling and training through such resource partners as SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives), Small Business Development Centers and the Women’s Business Center of California.
In addition to studies at West Point, Garcia has a marketing degree from Pacific Western University; an MBA certificate from Tulane University; and an MBA and Ph.D. from Madison University. He also studied at the UCLA Extension School of Business Management. Garcia and his wife Alma reside in Chula Vista.