Hispanic American Civic Association CEO Carlos Graupera has dedicated most of his adult life to serving the Lancaster County community he has called home since 1965, promoting cultural, social, civic and economic development.

The 72-year-old Cuban native announced on Thursday that he would step down as CEO in 2023, but did not specify a specific date.

Jose R. Lopez, 56, a former bank executive and commercial real estate appraiser who has served as SACA’s president since 2020, will take over as the new CEO.

“SACA now has a very good job and a capable management team. It’s time for the younger generation to take over and make things better because times are changing,” Groupera said Thursday. “I’m stepping down as CEO, but I’m just going to do more of what I do best. Point. We must move on to responsibilities where we can be more useful.”

Although his role at SACA will not include the title of CEO, Groupera will remain actively involved in the organization he helped found in 1973. In particular, he said he will focus on building a regional network for Tec Centro, a bilingual workforce development organization. center

Graupera said he will work with city leaders in York, Lebanon and Reading to create a regional Tec Centro network.

Tec Centro provides education and skills training to individuals with a focus on workforce development. Its first campus, which offers medical, culinary and language programs, opened in 2014 at 102 Chester St. in the southeast of the city of Lancaster. Its newest campus, which focuses on mechanical industries, opened in 2021 at 57 Laurel St., in the southwest part of the city.

Tec Centro’s model is duplicated by other communities nearby, such as WEPA Empowerment Center in Lebanon and Berks Latino Workforce Development in Reading. Last month, M&T Bank donated one of its former York County branch buildings to SACA for a new workforce development center.

Grouper influenced the creation of SACA to meet the needs of the large influx of Hispanic families, who today make up about 23,000 of the city of Lancaster’s 58,039 population, or 40%, according to the 2020 census. The non-profit organization has evolved over the past 50 years, but it has remained a stable and reliable presence in the local community.

Groupera came to the United States with his family in 1961 when he was 11 years old. Four years later they moved to Lancaster.

His father, Charles, who had emigrated before the family, eventually became a professor of Spanish at Elizabethtown College. Meanwhile, his mother Aida worked as the first bilingual health worker of Catholic social services.

A native of Puerto Rico, Lopez grew up in southeast Lancaster, graduating from Lancaster Catholic High School in 1985.

This is not the first time Lopez has worked for SACA. He previously served as President and CEO of SACA Development Corp. from 1998 to 2002, managing the conversion of the former four-story General Cigar warehouse at 453 S. Lime St. in the city of Lancaster in 30 apartments and office space.

Lopez most recently served as senior vice president and chief appraiser for Pacific Mercantile Bank in Costa Mesa, California.


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