The Southside First Economic Development Council announces the appointment of Judith A. Canales as the organization’s Executive Director.
“We are pleased that Ms. Canales has joined Southside First to lead the organization and create an economic development strategy to improve the economic, educational and social opportunities for businesses and residents in South San Antonio and Bexar County,” said Michael Rey, Southside First Board Chair and Senior Principal and Vice- President for Operations at Overland Partners.
“We recognize the Southside is experiencing economic development and growth as a result of investment from Toyota, Brooks, Port San Antonio and through educational institutions such as Texas A&M-San Antonio, Palo Alto College and the University of the Incarnate Word located at Brooks,” said Canales. “We must also support the estimated 7000 local small businesses that operate in the Southside First region which runs south of U.S. Highway 90.”
Canales has served in two presidential administrations. She was appointed by President Barack Obama as the Texas State Executive Director for the USDA Farm Service Agency based in College Station, Texas. She was the first woman and Latina to be appointed to this role in the history of the Agency. Previously, she was appointed Administrator at USDA Rural Development Rural Business-Cooperative Service. Canales was appointed by President Bill Clinton as Deputy State Director for Texas Rural Development, Acting Associate Administrator for Rural Business and Cooperative Service in Washington, D.C. and Legislative Representative for the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Canales served as the Executive Director of the Maverick County Development Corporation in Eagle Pass, Texas, and as an adjunct faculty member for Southwest Texas Junior College.
Canales is presently a doctoral student in Leadership Studies at Our Lady of the Lake University. She received a Master of Public Administration degree from Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government; a Master of Arts degree in Urban Studies from Trinity University in San Antonio; a Bachelor of Journalism degree from the University of Texas at Austin and an Associate of Arts degree from Southwest Texas Junior College. Canales is a native of Uvalde, Texas.