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Javier Loya: MONEY conference hits home

By Victoria Hirschberg
Monitor Staff Writer
November 5, 2003

EDINBURG – One day, 17 year old Lorena Acevedo wants to run her father’s insurance company.
She is even more inspired to do so after hearing a speech Tuesday by E. Javier Loya, a CEO and part-owner of the NFL Houston Texans, at the Marketing Opportunities & Networking for Entrepreneurial Youth (MONEY) conference.

“I was pretty impressed,” said Acevedo, a senior at McAllen Memorial High School. Loya’s speech concluded the second day of the MONEY conference at the Minority Business Opportunity Council at the University of Texas-Pan American annex. MBOC helps with the development of small minority businesses and is a federally funded by the Minority Business Development Agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Loya, an El Paso native and first-generation U.S. citizen, is the CEO of CHOICE! Energy Services in Houston and one of 10 owners of the NFL expansion team Houston Texans. His company is a broker for natural gas and electricity, as well as a retail electricity provider. He is 34 years old and lives in Houston.

“It takes hard work, nothing is easy in life,” Loya said in his presentation to about 150 local high school students. He stressed the importance of education, dreams, self-confidence, character, planning, commitment and hard work.

He is one of six children who mostly attended high profile universities and have successful enterprises. His parents, however, were not educated past eighth grade.

He asked the students three questions: Are you satisfied? How big are your dreams? and How bad do you want it?

When Loya was 18, the same age as many of the MONEY participants, he dreamed of playing football for the Dallas Cowboys. He played in high school and at Columbia University, but then his plans changed.
He graduated and became a partner in an energy company. Then he bought out his partners and became the sole proprietor. He is now married and has a baby girl.

“As you know, life doesn’t work that way,” he said. Although he never became a Cowboy, he said watching a Texas game from a luxury skybox isn’t bad.

Acevedo has watched the games since the team began in 2001.

“Except for the preseason,” she said. “they didn’t do well.”

Mia Johnson, 16, is torn between the Texans – formerly the Houston Oilers, but said Loya’s personal testimony was more interesting.

“It’s just like real, I don’t know how to explain it,” the McAllen Memorial junior said. “It’s like I never thought someone where he came from would be an owner of a football team and a company.”

It was nice to see a minority have success too, said Johnson, who is Hispanic and black. She plans to attend a Houston university, hopefully Rice, because she was born in Houston.

“Everyone can do it if they put their mind to it,” she said. “They have to have the will to do it.”

That was the message Loya hoped to get across. He remembered when he was in high school, listening to a guest speaker and just being happy he was missing a day of school.

“It’s great,” Loya said of the conference. “Exposure at an earlier age is crucial.”

Having Loya and the football connection was a plus for the MONEY conference, said Johnny Cisneros, MBOC director.

“They’re (the participants) are going to remember him,” Cisneros said of Loya. “He basically promoted his principles which are valuable and plausible. Some of these principles need to be repeated and taken to heart.”
There will be another MONEY conference next year. Planning will begin late next summer, Cisneros said.
“One way or another, it will happen.”