Staff

Guillermo Velazquez, Executive Director

Guillermo Velazquez is the Executive Director of the Pittsburgh Hispanic Development Corporation (PHDC). As Executive Director, Mr. Velazquez is responsible for the operations of PHDC and for implementing its mission in economic and community development. A Business Incubator, Housing, Employment, Investment, Training, and Career Development are activities of the Hispanic Corporation.

Mr. Velazquez began his career at Desarrollo Empresarial Mexicano (DESEM), an entrepreneurship program in Mexico City (also known as Junior Achievement Mexico) where he was a member for ten years. The program teaches entrepreneurs how to start, manage, and operate a new business. Mr. Velazquez has a wealth of experience assisting U.S. based companies in expanding internationally and foreign companies seeking to develop their local and international markets. His specialty is market entry strategies and market penetration. Mr. Velazquez's involvement in the Latino community of Pittsburgh is since 1998. He has served as a board member on various organizations such as the Pittsburgh Metropolitan Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, LACU - Latin American Union Culture, the oldest Latino membership organization in Pittsburgh with 30 years of existence, and COESA, the Brazilian Association of Pittsburgh.

Mr. Velazquez’s has worked at Nissan Motor’s Headquarters Office in Mexico City, the World Trade Center Pittsburgh, and Conco Services Corp as Manager for Latin America. Guillermo Velázquez has an MBA in Global Management and Business Administration from Point Park University, a bachelor's degree in Business Relations, Marketing, and International Business. Furthermore, he also holds a diploma in computer systems and a diploma in English as a second language. He is fluent in Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, and English.

María Núñez, Community Manager

María Núñez is the Community Manager for the Pittsburgh Hispanic Development Corporation. She joined PHDC in spring 2109 as a volunteer and eventually became an employee. She overlooks the housing, employment and community events programs. Her goal is to understand in a personalized way the needs of people who seek help from PHDC, collaborate with them to find solutions and ensure that they are carried out in a friendly way.

She enjoys being involved and working with the community. She believes that PHDC makes significant changes in the lives of Hispanic and has the ability to impact their personal and work environments. Her goal is for everyone who approaches PHDC to feel supported and strengthened by the organization, leading to their eventual growth and prosperity.

After graduating with her bachelor’s degree in Industrial Design from Universidad Autónoma de San Luis Potosí she started working at XANVIL A.C. as a commercial and industrial designer. While there she interacted and worked aside indigenous artisans using different techniques and materials of the regional location throughout Mexico. She was responsible for managing and working with rural and indigenous communities promoting sustainable product development through independent community based initiatives in the agriculture, tourism and artisan sectors. María also implemented technical training on marketing and business training.

She herself has an entrepreneur spirit, she has been involved in the arts since the early age of 15 years old when she, along with her partners, founded Luna de Triana Flamenco studio in San Luis Potosí , Mexico. This Flamenco studio’s mission was to teach and form dancers and perform on stage for local, national and international theatres, and festivals.

Laura Aldrete,

Business Analyst Consultant

Laura works for the business and entrepreneurship growth of the Latino community at PHDC. She collaborates in internal project management and administrative activities, as well as outreach and development.

Laura has a B.A. in International Relations from the University of the Americas and a certificate in Program Evaluation and Educational Policy from the Center for Economic Research and Teaching (CIDE). In May 2019, Laura graduated from a M.S. in Public Policy and Management at Heinz College, Carnegie Mellon University (CMU). During her Master’s at Heinz College, she worked as a teaching assistant for the course of “sustainable and resilient communities.” She was a member of the CMU Puerto Rico Relief Group and Vice President of the CMU Latin Graduate Student Association. For her capstone project, Laura worked in a team project to identify the selection criteria and best locations for housing development in Pittsburgh aimed at ending inter-generational poverty.

Before her Master’s, she worked as an analyst at CIDE, where she conducted an evaluation of government institutions and collaborated in the implementation of a national educational program, among other projects. Some of the activities she performed during internships include analyzing the North American Free Trade Agreement, at the Senate of the Republic of Mexico; supporting international educational collaboration negotiations, at the Educational Secretariat of San Luis Potosí; and reporting the regional political context as well as promoting diplomatic relations, in the Mexican Embassy and Consulate General in China and the Philippines. Additionally, Laura conducts social and environmental impact studies in Group R.

Laura’s goal is to use her skills in management science and data analysis to produce creative and sustainable opportunities for communities to thrive. She strives to promote platforms and generate human-centric solutions that create more equitable policies that can help the inclusive development of communities.

Volunteers

Sandy Ruiz,

Donations Volunteer


Sandy Ruiz is a volunteer and donor coordinator, is a collaborator and member of the PHDC support team, with the goal of supporting clients, served by creating a growing network for volunteer and donor support to the organization. She believes that listening to the community is important, to help them with their needs and improve their knowledge, skills and confidence.

Sandy was born in Plainfield, New Jersey. At two years of age, his family decided to return to his native Guatemala. It was there that Sandy grew and developed her studies until the first semesters of Marketing at the University of Mariano Galvez. Upon returning to the United States, Sandy developed her entrepreneurial spirit. In 2016, along with her husband, Sandy created her company J’s & G’s Construction Ilc, dedicated to roof construction and installation of roof water drainage channels.

Sandy performs various activities within her company. Among these are external communication, coordination of suppliers and customers, business administration, customer service, work supervision and accounting. He has developed organizational skills, leadership, creativity, ease of expression / bilingual and culture where his entire team is excited to be part of J's & G's.


Erick Vergara,

Volunteer

Erick’s community service engagement started at a very young age when he joined the Young Friends of Christ group (J.A.C., in spanish). At J.A.C. he was Group Coordinator and committed to travel around his home country of Ecuador. At the age of 24 he moved to the United States where he started practicing MMA, and chess.

Erick has more than 10 years experience in customer services and sales. He studied ESL (English as a Second Language) at the Miami Dade College University in Miami FL in 2015. Currently, Erick studies business at the Community College of Allegheny County. Moving forward, Erick wishes to specialize in e-commerce to provide new opportunities to businesses in the online market.

For Erick, the Pittsburgh Hispanic Development Incubator is an excellent place to explore different ideas and to help new entrepreneurs achieve their goals. As a volunteer, Erick performs market and industry research for businesses, and supports community and development activities.

Aside from his community development engagement and being a student, Erick is very interested in yoga. He started his practice when he arrived to Pittsburgh. For him, yoga is a discipline that lets him choose a direction, with the only constant of change.