Building bridges. That summarizes David Lemak’s involvement with the Tri-Cities Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (www.tchcc.net).
“We need to bridge the gaps between the Hispanic and the Anglo communities, as both businesses and consumers,” explained Lemak, professor of management in the College of Business at WSU Tri-Cities.
“We also need to support economic development through education. Those are the basic goals of the Hispanic chamber.” Lemak helped establish the community organization in 2002.
“I got to know some members of the Hispanic community through my students and through local businesspeople,” he said. “They invited my participation on the board for this new organization. They thought my expertise in business strategy and organizational theory would help.”
He served on the Hispanic chamber board from 2002 until 2006, and then in 2007 became the organization’s treasurer as well as board member.
“Without David Lemak, we could not have achieved what we have,” said Raul Diaz, a Tri-Cities insurance sales manager and one of the chamber’s founding members.
“He taught us how to market to the Anglo community and how to be better businesspeople. He had a very important role in creating this group, providing great ideas and yet always giving credit to others,” Diaz said.
Lemak noted with pride that the chamber has been very successful in achieving its two basic goals.
“We continue to sponsor bridge-building programs,” he said, “like the Latino Business and Consumer Expo.
“To pursue our educational goal, we sponsor free citizenship classes. More than 300 local people have graduated from those classes.
“We also offer two public workshops: Business 101, to help people start a business, and Business 201, to provide additional training for new business owners in accounting and regulations.”