STAFF WRITER JARED FIELDS
I was lucky enough to interview Tony Guidroz in his office at Llano City Hall on April 2.
It’s one of the few times anyone will find him there.
“This office is for paperwork. You’re not going to find me here,” said Guidroz, who’s just over two weeks into his job as Llano’s director of Community Development. “You’ll find me in the community because that’s where I want to be.”
The director of Community Development is a new position within the city. Guidroz reports to City Manager Scott Edmonson and works as a liaison to the Llano Chamber of Commerce, the Llano Economic Development Corp., and other boards and commissions in the city.
“I’m going to be a busy guy, but it’s good, and I welcome it,” Guidroz said. “I’m going to be the biggest cheerleader this city has ever had.”
Guidroz comes from San Saba, where he still lives with his wife, Debra. He was the city’s director of Economic Development, Tourism, and Marketing for over nine years.
Two of his four adult children still live in San Saba as do six of 10 grandchildren, his wife’s two sisters, and his mother-in-law.
Guidroz said he grew the number of annual events in San Saba from six to 64 and helped facilitate an environment that brought in 48 new businesses, 290 new jobs, and raised the tax base 48 percent.
That job was eliminated in May 2017, so Guidroz has spent time in Nacogdoches as the interim executive director of the city’s Convention and Visitors Bureau.
His true background, however, is in Cajun music. Guidroz is a drummer by trade who’s played in bands and been a radio personality since he was 12 years old.
Before the San Saba job, Guidroz said he had no experience in economic development.
But his energy and enthusiasm shone through.
“They wanted to hire me because I think we shared the same passion, the same vision, of getting things done,” he said.
In Llano, Guidroz has spent his first two-plus weeks meeting city leaders and business owners in town.
“I love that I don’t have to come here and reinvent the wheel; maybe add a few spokes here and there, but there’s so much the city has already done,” Guidroz said. “I want to improve upon that.”
To improve, Guidroz for now sees an opportunity to add more activities in the city. Llano hosts a number of popular events throughout the year such as the Llano Earth Art Fest, which Guidroz attended for the first time in March, the Llano Crawfish Open, the Rockin’ River Fest, the Llano Fiddle Fest, Western Trappings on the Llano, and several Christmas events from November through New Year’s Day.
Guidroz wants people to come to those events and be able to tell friends and family about their experiences so those people will make their way to Llano.
“Those experiences are what people are getting out of other towns to come to Llano for,” he said.
Guidroz wants to add activities in town, around the courthouse, and along the river. He likes stories of things that “used to” happen and might be brought back. He might even have an idea or two for events in Llano.
“This is an amazing city. I am filled with creativity and passion for what I do, and I’ve met so many people who share that same passion and vision,” Guidroz said. “I can’t wait to learn all I can.”
To contact Guidroz, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.