Gabriel Vaca

ATLANTA ⁠— Roswell resident Gabriel Vaca has been named the new interim president of the Georgia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

Vaca will take on his new position on July 1. His predecessor, Santiago Marquez, left to become the new executive director of the Latin American Association.

“We are very happy for Santiago and know that he will continue to be an outstanding

leader for our Hispanic community,” said Ivan Shammas, chairman of the GHCC Board

and general manager for Telemundo Atlanta. “We’re fortunate to have Gabriel Vaca already

onboard in a leadership role at the chamber and know that under his direction,

along with the strong team in place, the GHCC will continue to be a valuable resource

for Georgia businesses. Gabe has been supporting and involved with the GHCC for

over 15 years. It’s because of his guidance in the past that we have been able to hit

many important milestones with our chamber.”

Vaca joined the GHCC nearly 15 years ago, while he was an executive at UPS, and has previously served as GHCC’s board chairman. Before UPS, Vaca was a small business owner.

Shammas said Vaca has been an integral part of growing and transforming the chamber and has been working closely with the outgoing president the past two years.

The decision to name Vaca as the new interim president was a unanimous one, Shammas said.

To help local businesses weather the COVID-19 pandemic, the chamber has recently turned to virtual programming to support its 1,300 members.

It was also recently selected as one of seven Hispanic chambers in the U.S. to help businesses via the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce’s Avanzar business accelerator program. Under this program, a dozen Hispanic businesses will receive advanced business education as well as a grant.

One of Vaca’s first priorities as the interim president will be to focus on resilience and recovery from the pandemic. He will continue to help local businesses with providing information, resources and grants as well as formally launching the Avanzar program.

Shammas said Vaca has and will continue to lead the relationship between the chamber and its biggest supporters and will oversee strategy, development, sponsorships and marketing.  

Vaca has previously served as a member of the Senior Executive Corporate Advisor Board of the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. He is the co-founder and graduate of the GHCC Cultivating Hispanic Leadership Institute as well as the founding member of Crecer, the UPS Latino Business Resource Group.

Vaca has also received statewide recognition by the Secretary of State as an “Outstanding Georgia Citizen” for his work in helping Hispanic businesses in Georgia.

He was born in Mexico City, raised in Washington, D.C. and has a degree in business administration from the Universidad Autonoma Metropolitana.

“I want to reassure the GHCC’s members and sponsors that we will have a smooth transition,” Vaca said. “The chamber is as strong as it has ever been, and we are creating many opportunities for businesses.”

Julia Grochowski is a Reporter with Appen Media Group and covers Roswell.

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