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Business

Santa Barbara Hispanic Chamber of Commerce to Mark 15 Years in Business

Author and software engineer Leon Presser will be the keynote speaker of Sept. 10's awards banquet, and the annual golf tournament tees off Sept. 11

The Santa Barbara Hispanic Chamber of Commerce will celebrate its 15th anniversary next month with an annual awards banquet at the Bacara Resort & Spa in Goleta and the sixth annual golf tournament at the Glen Annie Golf Club.

The golf tournament will tee off at 8 a.m. Sept. 11. This year’s keynote speaker for the 6 p.m. Sept. 10 awards banquet is Leon Presser, who earlier this year released his book How to Be a Successful Entrepreneur.

Presser said he wrote it to “provide prospective and current entrepreneurs with a pragmatic overview of what is involved in being an entrepreneur and to help them improve their chances of success.”

He founded Softool Corp., a firm based in Santa Barbara that made software tools in 1977. Softool owned subsidiaries in Great Britain, France, Germany and Italy. The firm was sold in 1995 after making a family of tools to manage change. Presser also co-founded Compass Corp., a software services company based in Vienna, Va. Compass was sold in 1990.

In March 1989, Software Magazine listed Presser as one of the 100 people who have had the greatest impact on the software industry. He was honored at the White House by then-President George H. W. Bush in 1992 as one of a group of outstanding Hispanic leaders in the United States.

Presser said five decades of experience qualify him to write his book, which contains experiences ranging from deciding whether to start a business and how to choose an attorney, to planning an exit strategy when the situation arises.

Writing a book wasn’t the first project Presser started as a youth growing up in pre-Fidel Castro Cuba, where he was born.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Illinois in 1961, moved to Los Angeles and went to work in the emerging computer industry as a designer. He received a master’s degree from USC in 1964, then joined the computer research group at UCLA, where he earned a doctorate in computer science in 1968 and joined the computer science faculty.

In 1969, he joined the faculty at UCSB, where he was responsible for development of its computer science program. In 1972, he co-edited and co-authored one of the first books on computer science. He remained at UCSB until 1976.

Today, Presser is an investor in a number of start-ups in various industries.

In other chamber news, Cecilia Tavera of Southern California Edison and Tony Vallejo of Palius + O’Kelley CPAs in Santa Barbara have been named to the group’s board of directors.

Noozhawk business writer Ray Estrada can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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