In building her own successful business, she has demonstrated that she can overcome obstacles. Serving alongside her fellow citizens, she has given of herself to help others succeed. As an involved civic leader, she has studied the issues and has made the hard choices to create a community where families can be safe and businesses can thrive.
She built bridges across cultural divides when, in 2007, she became the first woman and first Hispanic to be the highest vote-getter in an at-large election, a feat she has continued with each at-large City Council election since. Nelda’s love of family, commitment to community and willingness to lead, make her the best choice as mayor to move Corpus Christi forward.
Anyone who knows Nelda Martinez will tell you she cherishes her family. As the middle child of nine, Nelda knows first-hand the divergent needs of different people and different generations. Her mother, Dr. Maria Consuelo Martinez, is a retired educator having served as Executive Director of special programs at Texas A&M Kingsville where she successfully increased the number of college graduates through her student support programs. Her father, Roosevelt Martinez, is a veteran, worked for the post office and is still active in real estate. Needless to say Nelda’s parents set a shining example for her and her siblings.
Nelda started achieving early as a high-performing student, serving as junior class president at Carroll High School and performing as a Tigerette in the 1979 Orange Bowl Parade. After graduation, she went to Del Mar College and then to work as a temporary receptionist at a title company in Dallas. Picking up her father’s interest in real estate and business, she soon secured a full-time position with the company and worked her way up to escrow officer while putting herself through college at night.
She continued her education in real estate becoming a licensed agent, but her desire to complete her degree was a driving force. She gave up her financial security to finish her degree at the University of Texas at Austin. She rented out her new Volvo to a businessman to help with living expenses and worked as a waitress at Houston’s Restaurant to complete her B.A. in Government.
Outside of her family, the strongest influence in Nelda’s civic life was the late Mayor Mary Rhodes. Nelda grew up across the street from Rhodes and took care of her children. Rhodes was the ideal role model who progressed from President of the PTA, to President of the League of Women Voters, to Mayor of Corpus Christi. That relationship became a mentorship that inspired and guided Nelda’s life in business and public service.
Nelda started her first title business venture in January of 1993 when she founded and served as president of First American Closing Office, Inc. Not being part of the business establishment presented many challenges, but none that Nelda let get in her way.
Eight years later, after she had grown the business to be one of the highest volume closing offices in the Coastal Bend, she and her partner sold the business to Stewart Title. Today Nelda serves as President and owner of Adlen Enterprises, Inc., a successful asset management company. Nelda also sold her second title company, Nueces Title, in July 2012.
When Nelda was Board Chair for KEDT Public Television, she had a strong leadership role in organizing the necessary funds for the documentary of the courageous achievements of Dr. Hector P. Garcia in the PBS historical documentary “Justice for My People.” A successful business career is enough for most people, but not for Nelda. She has been just as dedicated and steadfast with her commitment to her community. She has a long history of making a positive difference in putting her business experience to use in helping community organizations.
Nelda currently serves as a Trustee for the Christus Spohn Health System Foundation and as a board member of Foster Angels of South Texas, an organization supporting foster children. Nelda also has been active in the Catholic diocese, having served on the Diocesan Finance Council and past organizer for the inaugural Bishop’s Guild.
Nelda’s volunteer work extends to the personal level as well, taking time to cheer up seriously ill children with the Clowns Who Care at Driscoll Children’s Hospital.
Economic Development/Fiscal Responsibility
Nelda believes it is critical to expand existing businesses and bring new jobs to our city. Nelda and her fellow Council members worked to assist companies to locate or expand here such as Topaz Energy, Air Products, Turner Industries and others. Nelda also did her part in regional economic development by taking an active role on the I-69 Alliance committee. She also continues her tireless support for the growth of Texas A&M University Corpus Christi and Del Mar College.
Nelda is serious about balancing industry and the environment. She demonstrated it when she voted against the controversial Las Brisas Energy Plant. The coke-burning electric plant would have medically harmed many citizens, increased pollution in the area by approximately 70%, and could have pushed our community into non-attainment status for air quality shutting down future industrial growth.
While the recession brought about hard choices to make up for City revenue shortfalls, the community still realized advances in economic development. Additionally, the Development Services Department was moved towards full cost recovery reducing its subsidy by the general fund. The department has developed a more customer service oriented attitude with businesses in growing our community. Most importantly, Nelda with her fellow City Council members hired new City Manager Ron Olson who is restructuring City operations to be more efficient and user friendly.
On fiscal responsibility, when the going got tough Nelda voted to take the necessary austerity measures to make up for falling sales tax revenues and balance the budget. Full-time employees were reduced by 184 positions, City staff cell phones were cut by 500, take-home vehicles were reduced by twenty-two, and 144 under-utilized vehicles were auctioned off. Park maintenance and golf course operations were contracted out, resulting in improved maintenance, lowered costs and ending losses. Nelda believes every penny of taxpayer dollars should be accounted for and spent wisely.