Southside First is a non-profit organization that promotes economic development and community leadership across south San Antonio and Bexar County. As the recognized advocate of business in the region, Southside First gathers and maintains valuable data on the business climate and provides the resources and support encourage new business development, foster growth and develop resilience. The Southside First Economic Development Council serves as a voice for economic prosperity by focusing on three areas to advance this community: investment, engagement, and accountability.

The Southside First Economic Development Council serves as the voice for economic prosperity, community bridging, and responsible development for South San Antonio/Bexar County.

Southside First goals focus on the cultural, historic, and economic strengths of the southside’s neighborhoods to:

  1. Encourage and promote investment including residential and commercial
  2. Energize and empower businesses and residents
  3. Support revitalization efforts for Southside business corridors and neighborhoods.

The Southside First Economic Development Council was established in 2017. Southside First evolved as an initiative of the South San Antonio Chamber of Commerce Foundation and is designed to promote economic development and community leadership on San Antonio’s South Side.

Today, Southside First focuses on creating an economic development strategy to improve the economic, educational, and social opportunities for businesses and residents in South San Antonio/Bexar County. This region is defined as the area south of U.S. Highway 90 and U.S. Highway 87.

In 2019, with support from the City of San Antonio, Southside First launched a pilot neighborhood program focusing on two southside neighborhoods: Mission San Jose and the Quintana community.

The Southside First Economic Development Council successfully completed in-person surveys of the Quintana Community and of the Mission San Jose neighborhood residents and small business owners through a partnership with St. Mary’s Harvey Najim Center for Business Innovation and Social Responsibility. The surveys are the foundation for the Southside First Neighborhood Program and for the signature series ¡Echale Gas! Small Business Training Workshops which aims to provide southside residents with options for creating their own small business or expanding their current business. With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Southside First strategically shifted its focus to be responsive to the challenges of over 7,000 small businesses who operate in the southside of San Antonio and Bexar County.

Joe Pena

Joe Peña

Chair

Market President, Frost Bank

Juan Solis

Juan Solis III

Vice Chair

VP, BB&T now Truist; Director, Port San Antonio

Rob Rodriguez

Rob Rodriguez

Treasurer

Broker & Managing Partner, Verde Commercial Real Estate

Andy Castillo

Andy Castillo

Designer 3, Ford Powell & Carson Inc.; President, Quintana Community Neighborhood Association

Connie Gonzalez

Director of Strategy and Community Relations, Brooks City Base

Jane Gonzalez SSF Director

Jane Gonzalez

President, Medwheels Inc.

Gretchen Howell

Gretchen Howell

Vice President, SouthStar Communities

Alex Lopez SSF Director

Alex Lopez

Director, City of San Antonio Economic Development Department

Dr. Raymond Pfang SSF Director

Dr. Raymond Pfang

Dean, Professional & Technical Education Division; Palo Alto College

Jesse Reyes

Jesse Reyes

Marketing Director, CNG Engineering, PLLC

Cindy Taylor

Cindy Taylor

Executive Director, Hot Wells Conservancy

Mark Tolley

Mark Tolley

Principal, Mission DG

Judith Canales

Judith Canales

Executive Director