The Laredo Chamber of Commerce announced recently the creation of several work committees and the names of individuals appointed to head them.  The appointments were formally made by Chairman of the Board Cliffe Killam at the organization’s monthly November meeting. In making the announcement, Killam stated, “The Laredo Chamber of Commerce has been the community’s advocate for Laredo businesses and a voice for South Texas in the halls of Government for over 100 years.  Our members, local businesses, and the people of South Texas look to us to serve as their voice and their advocate at every level of government.  We are grateful for the support we get from our elected leaders, and we aim to support them by showing up to represent our community on the issues that matter, whether collaborating with our City or sitting down with legislators in Austin or Washington D.C.  Our committees and the people that head them, play a vital role in this effort.”

The newly appointed chairs and the committees they head are:

  • Rosa Cruz to Chair the newly formed Female Leaders Committee.  This year’s appointment by Killam of ten professional female leaders has created a lot of buzz and energy, leading to the creation of this new committee.  The committee is looking into a mentorship program, speaker series, and honoring female leaders that have made a big impact in the community and across the State & Nation.  Cruz is Training & Development Program Specialist with BBVA Bank and has been an active member of Youth Leadership Laredo for several years.
  • Olivia Varela to Chair a Government Affairs Committee.  Varela and her committee are looking closely at issues that matter most to Laredo like the closure of the bridges to nonessential traffic and international trade policies.  Varela is the former Laredo EDC President & CEO and has a distinguished career in the maquiladora service industry conducting international business.
  • Mike Marasco to Chair a Restaurant, Hospitality and Entertainment Committee. This committee has been created to fill the void of not having a local restaurant association and therefore have the Chamber serve as a forum where for these businesses to have a voice.  Marasco is Chairman-Elect for the Chamber and is part of the ownership and management for McDonald’s restaurants.
  • Gabriel Castillo and Andrew Carranco to Co-Chair a committee to study and review downtown issues and what is needed to encourage investment and redevelopment.  Castillo is a Senior VP at IBC and is currently serving as Treasurer for the Laredo Chamber. Carranco is a young entrepreneur who’s been involved with the Chamber in past activities, such as legislative visits to Washington, DC.
  • Killam also appointed himself, Mike Marasco and Gabriel Castillo, Senior VP at IBC, to conduct a review of the organization’s bylaws and mission statement.


The Laredo Chamber, through its committees, annually delivers a variety of services to its members and advocates for business development in general.  Examples of this include the series of seminars for small and business start-ups designed and delivered by the Business Development Committee throughout the year; training and scholarships provided to hundreds of local students by Youth Leadership Laredo; recognition of businesses that excel within their industries by the Small Business Committee; and advocating in support of business in general by collaborating with the heads of other local and Nuevo Laredo industry organizations.

Members of the Chamber are encouraged to participate in any of the Chamber working committees. If you are not a member but are interested in getting involved contact Miguel Conchas at 956-722-9895 or email

About the Chamber:  Founded in 1915, the Laredo Chamber of Commerce is Laredo’s and Webb County’s longest running business organization.  Headquartered at 2310 San Bernardo Ave. since 1974, the Laredo Chamber has been an advocate for the local business community for over a century.  The Laredo Chamber of Commerce is a member of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. With 642 members representative of every industry in the community, the Laredo Chamber is accredited by this organization with 5 stars.  Only 200 chambers out of 7000 across the country are accredited by this organization.