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Javier Loya

He's upbeat over energy and wild about football

Copyright 2004 Houston Chronicle

Javier Loya's immigrant parents so instilled in him and his siblings the importance of an education that all went to college, and most attended Ivy League universities.

Today, the 35-year-old Columbia University graduate is a minority owner of the Houston Texans and the president of Houston-based Choice Energy, a decade-old brokerage house for natural gas and electricity and a marketer of wholesale power.

A few years ago, he launched Choice Energy Services Retail, which negotiates electricity prices for such companies as Spec's and Pilgrim Cleaners. He eventually plans to offer a similar service for residential customers.

He sat down with Chronicle reporter Jenalia Moreno in his office next to the Choice Energy trading floor to talk about some of his most passionate interests: energy, Hispanic affairs and football.


Q: How did you get into the trading business?


A: It wasn't anything I planned. It was the right place, right time. I got a degree in political science from Columbia University. I thought I was going to take a career path into law. I took an internship at a brokerage company and the Gulf War hit. I caught the bug after that.


Q: How has deregulation changed your business?


A: It's changed it tremendously. It was the reason for us to get into the business, when they deregulated natural gas in the early '90s. In the mid-'90s, when wholesale power was deregulated, we also entered that market.

And most recently in 2000, when President Bush, then governor of Texas, signed legislation to deregulate electricity in Texas, we saw that as another natural extension for us to grow our business.


Q: How soon will you start offering residential services, and how will it work?


A: We hope by the end of the year. Our strength is our relationships and our expertise in the marketplace. We're not going to sell you our product. We're going to work on your behalf to get you the most inexpensive and best service that you demand. We represent over 30 retail energy providers in Texas alone.


Q: Why do you think Houston doesn't have more Hispanics serving on its boards or in top positions at its publicly traded companies?


A: I think it's just a matter of time. I think decision-makers and large companies do business with people they know.

As the Hispanic population, or for that matter the recent immigrant population, gets more educated, has more opportunities, there will be more opportunities to sit on boards as well as to run companies.


Q: When will the Texans make it to the Super Bowl?


A: Soon. We have a much better team. We're excited. Fans are excited.