The WDC staff members bring the organization experience from both the public and the private sectors. As dedicated employees to the Westside community and organization, the team strives for a thoughtful, practical, creative, and professional means of working towards community-minded economic development.
Leonard Brennan Rodriguez, President
Named as one of the country’s “Most Influential Hispanics” by both Hispanic Business and Poder Magazine, Rodriguez is best known for his work as a regional advisor to the President of the United States.
Rodriguez is also known in publishing circles for his 1999 publication, “Celebrating Outstanding Hispanics – 500 Years of Latino Pride,” a colossal calendar-book profiling the accomplishments of more than 300 Latinos in the U.S. His publication won the Gold Award for Most Educational and Bronze Award for Most Original Calendar from the Calendar Marketing Association in 1999. Rodriguez credits his publishing venture for helping launch him into national politics.
While working for the President of the United States, Rodriguez served as the president's liaison to members of the Cabinet, Congress, governors, state and local officials in the Southwest, Midwest and U.S. Territories, where he handled policy and outreach.
Following this work, Rodriguez served as the Director of Government Affairs for S&B Infrastructure, a Fortune 500 engineering and design firm with more than 3,000 employees and revenues of $300 million. In partnership with S&B’s CEO and Vice-President of Operations, Rodriguez founded Alliance Consulting Group, a Washington D.C.-based federal government contracting and consulting practice where Rodriguez served as the company’s vice-president.
In 2005, Rodriguez embarked on a venture capital stint in New York while he also served as political director for Governor George E. Pataki. Rodriguez helped seed a $2 million investment for a national Hispanic advocacy company and a $7 million real estate investment for water rights in South Texas.
In 2007, Rodriguez established Corporate Political Strategies, LLC, with operations in San Antonio, Houston and Washington,D.C. Overseeing company operations and business development, Rodriguez was responsible for managing a team of senior consultants providing government relations, corporate marketing and real estate development services for domestic and international clients.
In his professional career, Rodriguez has successfully raised millions for endeavors including new ventures, infrastructure projects, 501(c)(3) and 501(c)(6) non-profit entities and public policy campaigns.
Rodriguez received his bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Southern Methodist University. He is a tenth generation Tejano with roots in San Antonio’s Westside. He is married to his high school sweetheart and has two children.
Laura Cabanilla-Cruz, COO
As a recognized leader in the community, Laura Cabanilla-Cruz brings community development and public policy experience to the WDC. Prior to being named COO, Cabanilla-Cruz was the WDC’s External Relations and Development Officer. She will continue her primary duties of fundraising, strategic marketing, and external affairs while assuming the position of Interim President.
Cabanilla-Cruz has played a vital role in growing the WDC’s capacity through her consulting company Cruz Enterprises. Prior to starting her own business, she was a member of the national Women’s Sports Foundation team as the GoGirlGo! San Antonio Director. From 2001 to 2006 for the City of San Antonio, Cabanilla-Cruz was Chief of Staff to Councilwoman Antoniette “Toni” Moorhouse of District 3 and Councilman Roger O. Flores of District 1.
Cabanilla-Cruz has served on numerous committees and boards, including the City of San Antonio 2007 Community Initiatives Community Bond Committee and the 2007 Bexar County Community Venues Committee. She was also a participating member of Leadership San Antonio XXXII, and in 2005 Cabanilla-Cruz received the South San Antonio Chamber of Commerce Salute to the Women of the Southern Sector Award.
She earned a Master’s in Public Administration from the University of Texas at San Antonio, and before graduating from St. Mary’s University with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, Cabanilla-Cruz completed the Washington Semester – Foreign Policy Program at American University in Washington, D.C.
As an active sports enthusiast and advocate of youth athletics, Cabanilla-Cruz assisted San Antonio Sports in promoting their Dreams for Youth Volleyball program as a coach, mentor, and parent coordinator from 1999 to 2003. Since 2006, she has been a participating member of San Antonio Sports’ Youth Committee and has helped Day One Physical Therapy in leading the “Vacation Plyo School Summer Camp” for high school athletes.
Roy R. Pachecano, AIA , developer, advisor, author, lecturer, and recognized leader in sustainable development, began his career in the building arts under the tutelage of his father in their family’s concrete construction business in San Antonio. Mr. Pachecano earned his Bachelor degree in Environmental Design program from Texas A&M University. For professional studies, Mr. Pachecano attended Columbia University and as a National Hispanic Scholar. He holds two advanced degrees from Columbia: Master of Science Real Estate Development, combining business, law and urban planning curricula, and Master of Science in Architecture.
Mr. Pachecano remains active in higher education and marks the start of his teaching career in 1996, serving for 7 years as a seminar assistant to Harvard University faculty A. Eugene Kohn, FAIA, at the Graduate School of Design. In 2002, he was appointed faculty at Pratt Institute. In 2009 he was appointed adjunct assistant professor at Columbia. He recently served as guest lecturer at Princeton University at the invitation of esteemed faculty J. Robert Hillier, FAIA, and is concurrently engaged in energy/land use research.
In 2010, Mr. Pachecano was retained to conceive and launch a new Sustainable Business Program at University of Texas, San Antonio (UTSA) Institute for Economic Development funded by the US Department of Commerce, Economic Development Administration (EDA). In addition to authoring new curriculum, he founded the program based on the triple-bottom-line (TBL) approach to sustainability. In 24 months, the program attracted over 340 clients with a local economic development impact of over $36 million.
Through his private company, Portico Residential LLC, Mr. Pachecano financed, designed and restored the Nix House in San Antonio’s King William historic district. In 2008, the project was the first, 1899 historic landmark dwelling in the United States to earn USGBC’s LEED-Platinum designation. The State of Texas, and The National Trust recognized the project for Historic Preservation for its authentic restoration infused with advanced technology.
At the Westside Development Corporation, Mr. Pachecano will share his experience in real estate development joined with his skill in economic development and serve as the WDC’s Grow West Program Officer. Mr. Pachecano’s experience sets him apart from those providing building and advisory services by bringing a market-oriented perspective, underscoring a drive to fuse real-world application with discipline and innovation.
Mr. Pachecano He enjoys biking, kayaking, cooking, wines, and is a watercolorist.
Phone: (210) 207-0039
Erica M. Benavides, Development Officer
General Contact Information:
Mexican American Unity Council Building
2300 W. Commerce St., Ste. 207
San Antonio, Texas 78207
Phone: (210) 207-3912
Fax: (210) 207-8244