Planning for the 121st Washington’s Birthday Celebration is officially underway and under the guidance of the 2017 – 2018 Washington’s Birthday Celebration Association (WBCA) President Jeffrey Gerard Puig. The WBCA Executive Committee and Board of Directors also welcomed new additions to their respective rosters.
“The Celebration started as a two-day event in 1898. Our Celebration now offers more than 28 events in 33 days. I feel honored to be leading one of the largest organizations and biggest Celebration in South Texas,”
Puig said. “I am truly grateful for the countless hours put in by the many dedicated and committed volunteers who make the celebration so successful, enjoyable, and memorable.
Celebrating 20 years of service, Jeff has been a volunteer with the WBCA since 1997 serving on and chairing several committees and events within the organization. He was elected to the Board of Directors in 2000 and the Executive Committee in 2013.
A native Laredoan with deep roots, Jeff graduated from United High School and Texas A&M University earning a Bachelor of Science Degree in Civil Engineering. Under the direction and guidance of great local mentors, Puig honed his professional skills becoming a successful licensed Professional Engineer and Registered Professional Land Surveyor. He opened Puig Engineering, LLC in 2004, and later merged his business with Don Durden and Civil Engineering Consultants of San Antonio, becoming owner and Division Manager of the Laredo Office.
In addition, Puig is a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers, the Texas Society of Professional Engineers, the Texas Society of Professional Land Surveyors, the Laredo Noon Lions Club, the Knights of Columbus Council 10939, and the Msgr. George M. Gloeckner Assembly 2565. Jeff is active in the ACTS and Teen ACTS Communities serving on teams at San Martin de Porres, Blessed Sacrament Church, and St. John Neumann Church. He has also served on retreat teams for the Journey to Damascus in Corpus Christi, Texas. He is also a past member of the Industry Advisory Board for Engineering at Texas A&M International University, the City of Laredo Historic District/Landmark Board and Charter Revision Committee.
Married 22 years, Jeff and his wife Judith Martinez Puig are blessed with four wonderful children: Jeffrey, Raquel, Joseph, and Judith. In his free time, Jeff enjoys hunting, swimming, cycling, and spending time with his family and friends. He credits his parents, John and Ana Puig, for instilling in him and his siblings the values of having a strong faith in God, family unity, love of country, excellence in education, and dedicated service to others.
Hernandez joins the Executive Committee as Treasurer
Selected as the WBCA Treasurer for the 121st Celebration is Natalie Hernandez. Her involvement with the WBCA began in 2000 as a volunteer for the IBC Youth Parade Under the Stars and Anheuser-Busch Washington’s Birthday Parade. Hernandez is a graduate of Martin High School and graduated from the Bank Operations School at Southern Methodist University in 2004.
She was appointed to the WBCA Board of Directors as a Presidential Appointee in 2007 and elected to the Board of Directors in 2008. She has served as Chair/Co-Chair for the IBC Youth Parade Under the Stars, Anheuser-Busch Washington’s Birthday Parade, and the WBCA Stars & Stripes Air Show Spectacular. In addition, Hernandez received the WBCA President’s Merit Award in 2009 and the Matias De Llano Award in 2016.
Hernandez currently serves as Assistant Vice President at Falcon International Bank. Natalie has been at Falcon International Bank for the past 10 years and has 18 years of experience in the industry.
In addition to the Washington’s Birthday Celebration Association, Hernandez is actively involved in the community in numerous civic organizations such as the Laredo Chamber of Commerce and United Way of Laredo, in which she currently serves as a member of the Board of Directors and President-Elect, respectively.
She is married to Arturo Hernandez and they have two children, Kalen Ryan and Keven Jade.
“Since 2000, my involvement with WBCA has been such a rewarding experience, and it has been a pleasure serving my community,” Hernandez said, “I’m excited to serve on the Executive Committee, and I look forward to continuing my service to Laredo and WBCA for the next six years!”<.blockquote>
The newly elected Board of Directors and appointees for the 2017-2018 year were also announced at the recent meeting. The WBCA board is made up of leaders and professionals from the community. Elected board members serve three-year terms and volunteer countless hours of their own time to make all of the annual events a success.
The Executive Committee members for the 121st Celebration are:
- Jeffrey G. Puig, WBCA President
(Civil Engineering Consultants)
- James “Jay” Puig , WBCA President-Elect
(Compass Real Estate Investments)
- Randy Blair, WBCA 1st Vice-President
(Blair & Blair, P.C.)
- Bobby Peregoy, WBCA 2nd Vice-President
(Webb County Appraisal District)
- Natalie Hernandez, WBCA Treasurer
(Falcon International Bank)
- Eddie Villarreal, WBCA Ex – Officio (Immediate Past President)
(Tex-Mex Credit Union)
The 2017 – 2018 Board of Directors include:
- Bryon “Andy” Alford – Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration
- AnnaIsabel Alvarez – WBC Museum
- Amelia E. Bravo – BBVA Compass
- Anita Cavazos Reuthinger – Back in Action Therapy
- Jaime Fuentes – Arguindegui Oil Company
- Olga Gentry – St. Augustine High School
- Matthew Gibson – Liquid Studio Group
- Jesse Gonzalez – TAMIU
- Dr. J. Manuel Gonzalez, Jr. – Laredo Dental Care
- Martha O. Gonzalez – TAMIU
- Rochelle V. Gonzalez – Doctors Hospital
- Chris Haynes – WH Mortgage Solutions & Haynes Properties
- Anabella R. Herbig – State Farm Insurance
- Avery G. Jackson -Texas Community Bank
- Greg Kahn – Kahn Insurance Agency
- Jerry Lara – Enterprise Holdings
- Claudio Lerma – Clarian Investments Inc.
- Monica Lopez – Texas Community Bank
- Reagan Macdonald – Texas Community Bank
- Edward F. Maddox – Benavides Maddox, P.C.
- Michael A. Marasco – McDonald’s of Laredo
- Rafael A. Martinez – Laredo Federal Credit Union
- Sara A. Melendez De Los Santos – U.S. Customs and Border Protection
- Fernando R. Montemayor Jr. – IBC Investment Services
- Norma Moore – Laredo Community College
- David Ramos – IBC Bank
- Fred Santos, IV – Santos Consulting International
- Cordelia L. Valdez – Webb County
- Christina Valls – United ISD
- Javier C. Villarreal – City of Laredo
- Nydia Weathers – Gentle Family Dentistry
- Lupita Zepeda – Community Leader
- Lisa Zuniga – Zuniga Enterprises
The 2017 – 2018 Presidential Appointees serving one-year terms are:
- David Garza – Print Xpress
- Clarissa Rangel – City of Laredo
- Dr. Albert Salinas – Community Leader
- Gloria Teresa Salinas – Laredo Community College
- Priscilla Salinas – Laredo Medical Center
The 121st Washington’s Birthday Celebration dates are January 18 – February 19, 2018. The Washington’s Birthday Celebration, founded in 1898, is the largest Celebration of its kind in the United States. Throughout the years, the Celebration has grown to be over a month long and consists of parades, dazzling pageants, fireworks, a carnival, an air show, a sizzling Jalapeño Festival and much more. Combined, WBCA events attract nearly 500,000 residents and visitors, and yearly contributes an estimated $14 million to the local economy. The Washington’s Birthday Celebration was recently ranked as one of the Top 100 Events in North America.