Hector Velazquez of Sebastopol's Nexo Advertising wins 2019 Latino Business Leadership Awards

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Hector J. Velazquez

President and CEO

Nexo Advertising LLC

871 Gravenstein Ave., Sebastopol 95472

Find out more about the other 2019 Latino Business Leadership Awards winners.

Hector J. Velazquez of Sebastopol's Nexo Advertising encourages today's youth to think twice, slow down and choose wisely.

Tell us about yourself and your firm: Nexo means connection. I had one goal when I moved to Sonoma County as I saw an opportunity to connect service providers to a market I believed was underserved. It needed to be done in a safe place where consumers felt comfortable and receptive.

I started with digital signage inside Lola’s Market. David Ortega opened the first door for me in 2004. In 2007 Nexo Radio was born as an In-Store radio service provider (aka Muzak background music for business).

I managed to work a full-time job at Wells Fargo Bank and grow Nexo Advertising for 9 years. Nexo Advertising LLC was registered in 2013. After a successful career at Wells Fargo I opted to dedicate my focus to my company in 2014.

We were minority certified the same year. In 2015 we shifted into cross media becoming a full advertising agency. We now concentrate on creative, visual production, audio production, digital signage placement with our partner retail businesses, In-Store Radio and most recently a measurable and trackable rewards program for all retailers.

Is there a major accomplishment in the past year or so that you would like to share?

Biggest accomplishment in the last year was to double our customer base allowing us to become competitive with major key players in the area. An important part of this accomplishment has been signing with Sonoma Clean Power under Kate Kelly and April Varellas leadership who have opened other opportunities for us.

What is the achievement you are most proud of?

Making the decision to venture off and dedicate my complete time to Nexo. It wasn’t a hard decision but a scary one, all the what ifs in the world haunted me. After having time to place structure, build a process and surround myself with the team I still have now, is a very gratifying. I have had zero turnover with my team.

What is your biggest challenge today?

I seriously don’t see any obstacles. We all have the same chances as everyone else. Some of us have to work a touch harder and overcome bigger challenges but so did many other big names regardless of their gender, ethnicity, race, color. If you really want it, you will get it.

What are you most proud of regarding the achievements of the area Latino business community and what are the greatest challenges faced by that community?

I would not choose any other community than Sonoma County. It’s a very diverse population with its own achievements and challenges like many others. But in challenging times we all came together. Twenty years ago, many companies were exploring the possibility to engage with the Latino community. Now it’s a decision of how or who can make that connection for them. We can help!

Words that best describe you: Intense, dedicated, achiever, includer, woo, persistent, futuristic, dreamer,

As a successful professional, what were the biggest obstacles you faced and how did you overcome them?

Every decision made brings some sort of obstacle. When I decided to leave a steady job with all its benefits the world was not so welcoming, they knew me as a banker not an ad agency. Building my brand and credibility took some time. Dedication, consistency and word of mouth slowly opened doors. We were fortunate to sign several national brands thanks to Juan Gamino from Rancho Mendoza that helped our overall cash flow at that time.

Hector J. Velazquez

President and CEO

Nexo Advertising LLC

871 Gravenstein Ave., Sebastopol 95472

Find out more about the other 2019 Latino Business Leadership Awards winners.

How do you think your profession will change in the next five years?

I truly believe we are ahead. We have been focusing on cross media, digital media specifically, which makes us a company with a solid competitive advantage not only on the digital side, but we are bi-lingual. Unfortunately, many brick and mortar places are closing and moving into a digital store front. We are ready.

Who was your most important mentor?

Michael Sholz, winemaker at St. Supery Winery in Ruhtherford. He believed he was teaching me about wine making but was actually giving life lessons. I have never seen anyone so passionate about their work.

When I had a question, Michael would drop everything, he was doing to explain the process very methodically, I learned to respect the process. When I had a question on a work order, Michael taught me communication. During harvest Michael would reiterate the importance of having a healthy malolactic fermentation. This part was key and checking on it daily was imperative. I learned that there are moments in a process that need special attention to ensure successful results.

Tell us about your community involvement: During this time I served as a volunteer on Board of Napa Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Board of Sonoma County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, KBBF Board of Directors, board of California Human Development where I severed as chair for R-House, the only foster home for kids in Santa Rosa for mental illness, drug addiction, Latino Advisory Council for the Luther Burbank Center.

What advice would you give to a young person today?

Choose wisely. In today’s society the world is moving incredibly fast. We all want our needs met at lightning speed. We make decisions due to pressure of time. Therefore, I would encourage today’s youth to think twice, slow down and choose wisely.

Most admired businessperson outside your organization: George Ortiz, incredible personality, welcomed everywhere, loved by many, one who made a difference for many farmworkers enjoying benefits today due to his leadership and movement decades ago. A true spirit of humbleness and giving back to our community.

Current reading: Need to find some time.

Most want to meet: Elon Musk

Stress relievers: Spending time with my kids. I become a kid again and act like one too. My wife loves this.

Favorite hobbies: Keeping up with technology.

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