David Atencio, a former regional sales manager for 24 Hour Fitness, has been hired as the general manager for the embattled Bureau of Animal Regulation and Care.
A press conference will be held at 1:30 at City Hall, according to an e-mail from Mayor Bill White's Office.
Atencio's name has been batted around for weeks, but BARC spokeswoman Elena Marks did not respond to repeated requests by the Houston Press to confirm rumors that Atencio was the chosen candidate. (On December 2, Marks told the Press that a new director had not been hired. She declined to respond to two requests to officially state that the city had not narrowed down the list of applicants to one person. Atencio did not return a phone call by the Press made earlier this week).
We don't know much about the 46-year-old Atencio. Hopefully we'll be able to find out more this afternoon, and in the weeks ahead. However, as Marks and Interim Bureau Chief Gerry Fusco have essentially shut down communications with the Press, we're not exactly optimistic.
Update: We didn't learn much about Atencio at the press conference, other than the fact that he has "over 20 years [of] business management experience overseeing large, complex operations in which he has successfully led and developed employees and built customer relations," according to a press release.
Atencio had this to say:
Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.