Staff Reporter

Hector V. Barreto, the new chairman of the Los Angeles-based Latin Business Association, has some big shoes to fill.

His father, Hector Barreto Sr., an immigrant from Guadalajara, Mexico, was the founder and president of the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the first national organization devoted to serving Latino businesses. He also was an adviser to Ronald Reagan and George Bush.

The younger Barreto, 36, is accomplished in his own right. Before the age of 30, he had founded his first business, Barreto Insurance and Financial Services, which helps Latino business owners with financial planning for themselves and their employees.

He recently formed a second business, TELACU-Barreto Financial Services Inc., a securities broker serving the same community. He sits on the board of TELACU as well.

Barreto, a 10-year member of the Latin Business Association, this year took over as chairman of the 1,200-member organization with the goal of doubling its membership this year, then doubling it again next year.

Question: What's your background? You didn't grow up here.

Answer: I actually grew up in Kansas City, Mo. I went to college there Rockhurst College in Kansas City. After college, I went to work for Miller Brewing Co. in Dallas. I was an area manager for the brewery, and my responsibility was to be the liaison between the brewery and their distributors in the state of Texas.

Q: What made you start your own business?

A: When I got the job at Miller Brewing Company, they immediately sent me to Texas because of the large Latino population. They wanted some managers that really were bilingual and bicultural. So I moved to Texas and I handled that market for them. Eventually I handled all of their South Texas territory, which is an 80 percent to 90 percent Latino population.

I moved to California, and was looking for a change. It was a great experience working for the corporation, but I always kind of wanted to have my own business. My friend offered me an opportunity to get involved in his business. The problem was that they weren't really in the Latino community. They were basically doing estate planning for senior citizens in Orange County. And I learned the business at that time from him. But, I mean, it wasn't really what I ultimately wanted to do. So I left him and I started my own business in Los Angeles.


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