Chris Escamilla- Entrepreneur & Adventurer
Meet Chris Escamilla, Member of the San Antonio River Foundation’s (SARF) Board of Directors. To say he has “people skills” is an understatement. With a background in multi-media communications, Escamilla is deeply involved in the San Antonio community with interests in Hispanic heritage, classical music, business enterprise, south Texas cattle ranching and extreme sports. Though recent to the Foundation’s leadership, his boundless energy in promoting its projects and initiatives makes him a valuable asset to the SARF mission of “Beautification. Education. Preservation.” The following interview was done when he was selected as the Featured Board Member for June 2016.
Q: How long have you been with the Foundation?
A: I was introduced to the Foundation in late 2012. Since then, I have donated funding and asked to volunteer on special interest committees.
Q: If any, what position do you currently hold?
A: As of one year, I am honored to have been selected to sit on the Board of Directors.
Q: Have you had roles in other non-profit organizations?
A: I have been active with the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce, the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and frequently participate as a volunteer during special events for Beethoven Mannerchor.
Q: What is your educational and professional background?
A: I am a graduate of Texas A&M University, attaining a Bachelor’s degree in Speech Communications and a minor in Parks & Recreation/Tourism Sciences. I have worked in media and marketing, managed fitness programs and operations in the health club industry, and as of late, been involved with supply chain and human capital management within the information technology industry.
Q: What do you believe is SARF’s greatest accomplishment?
A: Since my introduction to the Foundation and with regards to completed work, I immediately noticed the installations along the Museum Reach, as well as the complementary focus to support interest in the Mission Reach projects.
Q: What are some of your hobbies and how do you spend your free time?
A: Typically, if I am not decompressing with multi-media entertainment at home, I prefer to be out in the community networking for new business contacts, attending a live music venue or viewing the latest art exhibition. As of late, I have had more hands-on involvement with a south Texas cattle ranching family enterprise. Interestingly, this has allowed me to tap into my inquisitive side by taking amateur nature photography and discovering geological or anthropological artifacts. If I have no other obligations, I prefer to be outdoors canoeing, hiking, cycling, or practicing my golf swing. I also enjoy more extreme sports like rock climbing, skiing and snowboarding.
Q: Where are you from? What are some of your favorite things about SA? Or the River?
A: As a San Antonio native, I have focused on promoting the city’s commercial and natural venues for local and visitor participation. I appreciate the Hispanic cultural heritage and local art scene, as well as the traditional and budding cuisine that is readily served up for our consumption. The common thread that has tied all these aspects together over the last 300 years is our perpetually flowing river, which over my years as a resident, has influenced participation in recreational activity, historical appreciation, and environmental concern for future generations.
Q: Why are you passionate about the SARF mission/What drew you to SARF?
A: In 2003, I relocated from San Antonio to Las Vegas to engage in an entrepreneurial venture. As an escape, I discovered several outlets which included exploring the Red Rock Canyon nature preserve and Mt. Charleston valley, visiting national parks in Nevada and Utah, and frequented cities like LA and San Diego, whose infrastructure offered easy access to scenic west coast boardwalks and beaches. Upon moving back to central Texas in 2012, my first impressions of downtown San Antonio were the enhancements that organizations like SARF had made in and around the Riverwalk. Due to these efforts, I was able to recognize the improvements were comparable to other established national metropolitan developments, and realized this city has finally advanced to another level.
Q: What do you hope to see in the future of SARF and/or San Antonio?
A: I would like to see more downstream development of parks and recreational avenues where the San Antonio River flows, throughout immediate adjacent counties like Wilson, Karnes, Goliad, etc. By building new partnerships in these vicinities, the Foundation could create additional outlets to increase membership and participation during existing, and possibly new annual events (which may be proposed in the summer or fall) and/or additional avenues for frequent social networking mixers to build awareness and philanthropy from these local residential and business communities.
Q: Do you have any stories about yourself you’d like to share?
A: When I worked for KABB-FOX29 in the Promotions Department, the Nine O’Clock News broadcast was in its infancy. Our production team was delegated to develop a new campaign to promote the fledgling newscast. After some brainstorming, we decided to come up with viewer testimonials to highlight each member of the nightly news team. For one 30 second spot, we set the scene using a local resident who watched the Alex Garcia weather segment to plan outdoor excursions, such as canoeing. All the action shots featured with the canoe were staged on the section of the San Antonio River next to the Blue Star Art Complex, thus adding realism to the finished product. For a look, click HERE (this video can only be accessed through Facebook)