Briana Padilla- Marketing Intern
Briana Padilla will work with the Chamber through the fall of 2019 creating marketing & advertising pieces along with Lucero Nava. They will also create an updated style guide for the Chamber. Briana is currently a student at Sam Houston State University majoring in marketing, and plans to graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in December 2020. Previously she was a Media Information Specialist intern at the Friona City Hall Office. On campus, she is a member of the SHSU Elliott T. Bowers Honors College and Student Alumni Association.
Lucero Nava- Public Relations Intern
Lucero Nava will work with the Chamber throughout the fall of 2019 in creating marketing and advertising pieces. She will also help create an updated style guide for the Chamber to utilize in coming years. Lucero is a Sam Houston State University student majoring in Public Relations and Advertising with minors in Marketing and Spanish. She plans to graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in May 2020. Previously she has worked as an editorial assistant for Functional Design: A Multimedia Handbook for Public Relations and Advertising, an Ebook about design concepts and more. Currently, she is also a Marketing & Communications Specialist for the SHSU Elliott T. Bowers Honors College. On campus, she is highly involved and proudly serves as president to the Honors Student Ambassador program and the Mexican Student Association.
Gwen Lucas- Receptionist/Secretary
Gwen Lucas joined our staff in June 2015 as our Receptionist/Secretary. She has lived in Huntsville since April 2008 with her husband Walter, and they have two adult sons. Gwen’s responsibilities include primary receiver and public relations employee to all members, tourists and visitors calling, entering or writing the Chamber offices, as well as serving as assistant to the management staff in helping create order, professionalism and efficiency throughout the office and its programs.
Shannon Higbie- Office Manager
Shannon is the office manager, serving as the administrative assistant to the president. She handles the financial details for the Chamber and oversees the in-house financial statements, building and equipment maintenance, and provides record keeping for the monthly board meetings and the organization. She helps with the implementation of the Annual Board Planning Retreat, annual financial audits, and is a part of the Thursday Leads Exchange. She manages the annual Gala dinner and awards and oversees the newsletter, The VOICE. Shannon is a graduate of Huntsville High School and holds a BA in English from Sam Houston State University. Shannon joined the Chamber staff in January 2003 and has completed the Fundamentals of Chamber Management through the Center for Chamber of Commerce Excellence.
Laura Green - Events & Communications Manager
Laura began her employment with the Chamber in July 2003 and was named Events & Communications Manager in 2007. She is responsible for the communications programs which includes assisting with the monthly newsletter, The VOICE, and in the updating of the Chamber website and FaceBook pages. She coordinates monthly member projects such as the Small Business Breakfasts and Business After Hours. Laura manages the Annual Fair on the Square, the Annual Shot in the Dark Night Golf Tournament & Helicopter Golf Ball Drop, the Chamber Gala Silent and Live Auctions, and Diva Night. She also cooridnates ribbon cutting ceremonies for members. In addition Laura is the coordinator for the Huntsville Leadership Institute and is a graduate of Class 25. Laura has completed the Fundamentals of Chamber Management through the Center for Chamber of Commerce Excellence. She has an Associates Degree in General Business from Temple Junior College. She is a member of Northside Baptist Church and a lifetime member of the Walker County Fair.
Ray Hernandez, IOM-President & CEO
Ray began his employment with the Huntsville-Walker County Chamber of Commerce serving as President & CEO on June 25, 2019.
Ray has an extensive background in the chamber community. Ray served as the President of the Lewisville Area Chamber of Commerce in Lewisville, Texas where he led the 9th largest Chamber in the Dallas-FT Worth region. Prior to that position, Ray led the Kyle Area Chamber of Commerce and the San Marcos Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in Texas. In San Marcos, he led efforts to increase membership by over 300% in two years. While at the Kyle Area Chamber, Ray helped lead efforts to pass a $209 million road expansion partnership. Ray also led the development efforts of the largest hospital between San Antonio and Austin (Seton Medical Center Hays) and the largest Community College (Austin Community College) between San Antonio and Austin, which opened in 2014. In Lewisville, he helped lead efforts to pass the largest bond election in the history of the city. He led a team of volunteers and staff to earn a Four Star Accreditation from the US Chamber of Commerce.
In 2010, he earned his Institute of Organizational Management (IOM) certification through the United Sates Chamber of Commerce at Loyola Marymount University at Los Angeles, California.
A US ARMY Veteran who served his country proudly, Ray graduated with Honors from Southwest Texas State University. He also received his Economic Development training from Texas A&M-College Station Extension office and is a Leadership training graduate with Honors (Innovation 88) at University of Texas-Austin LBJ of Public Affairs.
Ray served as a Board Regent of the West Institute of Organizational Management program for the US Chamber of Commerce, an Executive Board Member (Vice President of Communications) for the Texas Chamber of Commerce Executives, Board Member of Habitat for Humanity of Denton County, Board Member of the Lewisville ISD Education Foundation, a member of Lewisville Noon Rotary, Co-Chair of the City of Lewisville 2025 Comprehensive Plan Committee, Chair of the City of Lewisville Blue Ribbon Advisory Board, served on a Diversity and Inclusion Task force and as a Board Member for the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives organization. He is married to his beautiful wife, Belinda and has four children; Michael, Jennifer, Maya and Joaquin.