San Antonio Chamber Names SwRI Executive Its Interim Chairman

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Adam L. Hamilton, P.E., President & CEO, Southwest Research Institute, speaks during a press conference and groundbreaking for the Supercritical Transformational Electric Power (STEP) pilot plant held Monday Oct. 15, 2018 at SwRI.

Edward A. Ornelas for the Rivard Report

Adam Hamilton, president and CEO of Southwest Research Institute, has been named San Antonio Chamber of Commerce chairman of the board.

The San Antonio Chamber of Commerce announced Friday it has named a new board chairman to replace the CPS Energy official who recently stepped down.

The board of directors of the San Antonio Chamber unanimously approved Adam Hamilton, president and CEO of Southwest Research Institute (SwRI), for the position previously held by CPS Energy CEO Paula Gold-Williams. Hamilton will serve on an interim basis for the remainder of the year.

Hamilton heads up one of the nation’s largest independent providers of advanced scientific and applied technology solutions, conducting $500 million worth of research annually. Before joining SwRI, Hamilton led Signature Science, now a wholly-owned subsidiary of the institute. He has been a member of the chamber’s leadership since 2015 and served on several committees.

“For the last six months, I have been actively participating as the chamber’s chair-elect, observing the accomplishments of the chamber team, and noting their success under the leadership of Paula Gold-Williams,” he stated. “Now, I am excited to take on this leadership role in this dynamic organization.”

Gold-Williams, as leader of the municipally owned electric and gas utility, released a statement July 16 stating she would no longer serve as chair of San Antonio Chamber after a group of business owners and associations filed a lawsuit against the City of San Antonio over its paid sick leave ordinance.

“I have prudently decided that under these circumstances, it is not helpful for me to be in the middle of a serious and formalized legal conflict between CPS Energy’s parent organization and its customers,” she stated.

On July 15, a group of local staffing agencies and associations representing restaurants and builders filed suit against the City of San Antonio to block an Aug. 1 deadline for employer compliance with the City’s paid sick leave ordinance. A district judge ruled Wednesday to approve an agreement between the plaintiffs and the City that delays implementation of the ordinance until Dec. 1.

But the issue may see more time in court. Attorney Ricardo Cedillo, who represents the business coalition that sued the City, said that if the City and its Paid Sick Leave commission do not resolve “defects” in the law, he will return to court and stop the ordinance with an injunction.

Founded in 1894, the chamber is one of San Antonio’s largest and most prominent business organizations. Prior to the paid sick leave ordinance going into effect on Jan. 1, several local chambers came together to formally request the mayor repeal the ordinance.

Though the San Antonio Chamber did not join that effort, its president and CEO, Richard Perez, insisted at the time that the organization was “completely and utterly in lockstep with them in not wanting paid sick leave.”

On Friday, Perez thanked Hamilton for his willingness to serve the chamber and its members. “Adam is a great leader, and we look forward to working with him to finish the year strong,” he stated.

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