David Contreras faced life as a young boy with fear, anger, and inferiority after his father was killed in an accident when David was five. Without any positive male role models in David’s life or models of accountability and responsibility, David eventually found himself in a desperate search for approval and identity. Always drawn to the underachievers, it was easy to take the path of least resistance and mediocrity. That path led him to a dead end street of drug abuse, alcohol, and a life of violence. On the same course in life with his young friends, David was certain to join their ranks in prison or an early death. But a defining and transforming moment took place in his life as a young adult that led him to faith in God and set him on a positive course for his personal transformation.
Over two decades have passed since David has been committed and driven to help educate, equip and empower the next generation of young people. David started his work as a community activist over 20 years ago working with a faith based inner-city outreach program in East Austin. Through that work, David served to impact at-risk teens and provided East Austin gangs with an alternative way of settling their differences. David worked closely with the Austin Police Department and in the Austin area high schools to advocate a positive message and combat issues such as gangs, alcohol and drugs use.
David is committed to be a part of the solution through community empowerment. He is currently the Co Founder and Executive Director of LaunchPad the Center for Hope and Building Dreams. Launch Pad focuses on reaching, equipping and empowering disadvantaged youth and serving the inner city community in Austin Texas. David and his wife Rebecca founded LaunchPad, a 501c3 organization in the Spring of 2008. In 2009 and 2011, LaunchPad was recognized by the Austin Independent School District as “Partner in Education & Volunteer of the Year Award” for excellence in service for the Dobie Community at large. Prior to starting Launch Pad, David served as the Texas Director for the Council on Faith in Action (CONFIA). CONFIA, was founded as a non-profit organization with a mission to strengthen the moral, civic and social foundations of our nation.
In January 2005, David moved back to the Austin Texas area after serving four years in Washington DC in the President’s Administration. While in DC he served as the Deputy Director of the President’s Center for Faith Based and Community Initiatives at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The central mission of the HUD Center is to provide training and information to Faith Based and Community Organizations (FBCO’s) on the President’s initiative and help to identify funding opportunities, resources, support, and partners. In partnership with the White House, the Center served to fulfill the President’s vision of mobilizing the armies of compassion to strengthen America’s communities. As Deputy Director, he was as the primary manager of the Office in managing the day-to-day functions of the Centers’ staff. David represented the Faith Based Initiative and addressed national audiences and key constituencies to provide key accomplishments of the President’s Initiative. He was also responsible for managing the Faith Based Component of the President’s Management Agenda, a results oriented government wide agenda.
Prior to his position at HUD, David served at the U.S. Small Business Administration in the position of External Affairs Coordinator for the Office of Communication and Public Liaison. In that role, he was the primary liaison to targeted trade organizations and associations to disseminate information regarding SBA loans and programs to keep them informed of the Administration’s initiatives relating to their constituency. In addition, he provided management support to the Director and Deputy Director. Prior to moving from Texas to Washington DC, David spent ten years in the high tech industry working for SEMATECH, a semi conductor company and Applied Materials in Austin, Texas where he served as an instructor.
David and his wife Rebecca have two children, a married daughter age 25 and a son 19 who is attending college in Austin. David has now committed his life full-time to serving Youth in the inner city through the work of LaunchPad. David firmly believes that some of the students he and his team work with are “diamonds in the rough” with the right tools, motivation, education and hard work; they can accomplish whatever they set their mind to do. David is also a motivational speaker and shares his personal journey and principles learned along the way to various groups across the Country.
David just launched his company Mamasitas Specialty Foods LLC, based in Austin Texas. Mamasitas has produced two distinct flavors of Spicy Mama Salsa. 30% of all proceeds from the sales will directly go to benefit LaunchPad. David started the company to provide a direct revenue stream to their work in the inner city through LaunchPad. For more information about Spicy Mama salsa and where to get it, visit our website at (www.mamasitassalsa.com).