USMC veteran and retired businessman Hector Garza, reflecting on a marketing and sales career that started on the West Side of San Antonio
Hector Garza has met presidents and traveled the globe – all thanks to tamales.
Born and raised in San Antonio, Garza took what he learned as a child working in his mother’s tamale business and applied it to building a successful career in marketing and sales at Anheuser-Busch.
That career took him all over the world – but his heart stayed puro San Antonio.
“I was born here, and my family’s here,” he says. “I just never thought I would end up somewhere else. I just love my city.”
A veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps and member of VFW Post 76, Garza now uses his entrepreneurial spirit to help fellow vets wrangle support for VFW events.
He holds other Texas traditions close to his heart as well, visiting Whataburger about three times a week, where he and his wife each get a Whataburger Jr. “I love it,” he says.
Growing up in S.A.:
“We lived and worked on the West Side. There were five of us. My father worked as a meat cutter for a small store. My mother and her aunt made tamales at home. My brother and I would go around the neighborhood and take orders on Fridays, and we would deliver them Saturday mornings,” Garza says.
“My dad’s friend owned a little property at Zarzamora and Texas streets. He rented the space to my father for $25 a month. My brother and I painted it and got it ready for the first summer. Believe it or not, in three months my father was able to quit his job. And my brother and I were able to go back to school in September so that was fortunate.”
You turned your business instincts into quite a career.
“I became director of Hispanic sales and marketing for a seven-state region for Anheuser Busch. I flew all over the place and met a lot of people. I met with the president of Mexico and George H.W. Bush one time. I remember sitting there at the table, looking around and saying, “What happened here? How did I get here?’” Garza adds: “I didn’t go to college. It was all street knowledge.”
Any advice to share?
“Always be looking for opportunities. Tell people what your plans are and what you’d like to do. You never know who will say, ‘Hey, I can help you.’ You gotta tell your story. And you have to be willing to work hard. Success is not going to come working just eight hours a day, five days a week.”