Thursday, September 23, 2021

Daniel Cortez Appointed Director of Economic Development and Tourism

Daniel Cortez, Deputy Director of Economic Development and Tourism, has been promoted to Director, effective July 1. After the departure of Assistant City Manager Ben Thatcher, Cortez’s history of strong work performance, world-class professionalism and commitment to assist Southlake businesses and residents make him fit for the task to lead the Southlake economic development team.

“Daniel Cortez has many notable accomplishments under his belt,” said Assistant City Manager Alison Ortowski. “His energy, creativity, intelligence and strong people skills make him ideal for this role.”

Since 2017, Cortez has worked to implement key recommendations of the 2035 Economic Development Master Plan. He has also created and implemented a commercial site assessment project, resulting in valuable insights into Southlake’s commercial centers. He managed the City’s first Business Climate Survey to understand the local business community’s strengths and challenges, track trends and ensure the City has useful data for business support programs.

“I am humbled at the confidence the City’s leadership has in me. I look forward to continuing to serve our business community with the same tradition of excellence Southlake is known for, with new inspiration and determination to meet the challenges of the future,” Cortez said. “There is truly no place like Southlake. It is my privilege to be part of a great community and I’m excited to strengthen the City’s relationships with local businesses.”

Ortowski also highlights his business retention work, noting that “he has established strong relationships through one-on-one visits and programs he’s created to improve business engagement with the City.”

Southlake youth have also benefited from Cortez’s hard work. Through the Southlake Kids Interested in Leadership (SKIL) program, Cortez has worked with Mayor Hill and Carroll ISD to offer selected students access to local business leaders through educational seminars and internship experiences. Cortez guides the students through the program, which has been in place for three years.

Perhaps Cortez has demonstrated his strongest performance with his work through the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Untangling the complex and sometimes confusing information related to the various executive orders was a terrific service he was able to provide to our business customers,” noted Ortowski.  “He promoted businesses in unique and creative ways. He demonstrated a keen knowledge of the needs of our businesses and worked proactively to provide needed support.”

In his new role, Daniel will be responsible for economic development work, and will oversee the day-to-day activities of the City’s tourism and special events team.

Southlake Chamber of Commerce Honors Daniel Cortez with 2019 Chairman’s Director of the Year Award

Daniel Cortez, City of Southlake, Deputy Director of Economic Development.

The Southlake Chamber of Commerce honored local business representatives, volunteers, civic groups, and youth at its 2019 Awards Banquet held Friday evening, June 21. Among the winners was Southlake’s Deputy Director of Economic Development and Tourism, Daniel Cortez, who received the Chairman’s Award.

Chamber President Mark Guilbert highlighted Daniel’s ongoing work with the Chamber and his efforts to promote Southlake businesses to explain his selection for the award. He noted that Cortez actively participates in Chamber Board meetings, and attends programs and events offered by the Chamber.

Particularly notable is his work on the Southlake Kids Interested in Leadership (SKIL) program, involving the development of local business job shadowing opportunities and organizing a scholarship reception.

“Daniel is a great representative for the City,” Guilbert said. “Everyone loves him.” Guilbert also praised Cortez for his new business outreach.

“Daniel was the perfect choice for this award,” said Alison Ortowski, Southlake Assistant City Manager. “He is committed to Southlake’s business community and willing to work night and day to support their interests.”

Other Chamber awards included:

  • John Fletcher, 2019 Chamber Director of the Year
  • Traci Bernard, 2019 Southlake Citizen of the Year
  • Ted Bilsky, 2019 Southlake Small Business of the Year
  • Janice Horak, 2019 Chamber President’s Award
  • Bill Tait, 2019 Southlake Volunteer of the Year
  • Lori Cerami, Swim4Elise, 2019 Civic Group of the Year
  • Sandra Baber-Sandefur, 2019 Chamber President’s Award
  • Kendra Scott, Southlake, 2019 Corporate Business of the Year
  • Dr. Paige Sohn, 2019 Chamber Ambassador of the Year
  • Mitchell Gruenewald, 2019 Southlake Youth of the Year
  • Mike Lafavers, Feedstore BBQ & More, 2019 Chamber Member Legacy Award

Congratulations to Daniel Cortez and all of the award winners.