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