The story of our publisher, Adrian Garza
By: Jessica Dusek
“Let me know what you do, and I will let you know what I do, and we can lock arms and work together,” says Inspire Magazine’s Adrian Garza of his love for celebrating local business and medical professionals. Garza’s give-give approach has guided the publication to share stories of these professionals with readers throughout the Coastal Bend.
Anchored in Corpus Christi, the magazine has grown in size from 48 pages to well over 100 pages in the past seven years. The networking component, hosting local “mixers,” adds tremendous value to the magazine’s bi-monthly publication. At each mixer, $10 is collected from every guest at the door; this has allowed Inspire to give back to a different local charitable organization every month.
Inspire has also been a strong supporter of the Corpus Christi Education Foundation, earning a lifetime membership in the CCISD Honor Society. Making a strong impact on a local level, Corpus Christi Mayor Nelda Martinez proclaimed that Wednesday, May 25, 2016, was “Inspire Coastal Bend Magazine Day” – a true honor in influencing such a loyal community.
“Being the publisher of the magazine, I am the one who gets to hear the compliments and accolades, but the magazine is truly a reflection of the hard work my team and the community that supports us put into it – compliments from the community on how well the magazine looks, how well it’s written and how much [readers] enjoy it,” Garza humbly explains of Inspire.
It is a unique publication, as the magazine aims to capture professionals in the community and inspire them to continue making a difference in both the business and the medical industries. Similar themes are threaded throughout many stories: trying moments, blessings in disguise, accomplishments and contributions to the community.
“My goal,” Garza says, “was to provide a platform where we could share the stories of the people in the business and medical communities in a positive way and to support local business – to help small businesses market their services whereas advertising with Inspire would fit any marketing budget.”
It was just over two years ago when Garza established Inspire Magazine, a rebranded effort, from his former magazine joint-partnership with NSIDE Publications. “I had to start over, to change the name and rebrand. That’s a really big move – it’s huge,” he explains. “It was truly a leap of faith and one of my biggest challenges. What I didn’t realize at the time was how much the community was in support of me personally, not just the publication.”
Entering a difficult market with few resources, Garza drew on his sales and business experience and the relationships he’d established within the local community. Focusing on advertising, he was able to provide feature stories on the “up and coming” local businesses for the readers. “I was fortunate after we launched our first issue,” he says. “People started calling. These were answered prayers.”
Taking on Corpus Christi
A native of Alice, Texas, Garza remains humble as he credits his upbringing. “I grew up in a family of five brothers and one sister,” he says. “My father sold life insurance for 40 years. Growing up, I learned what it took to take care of a family.”
Garza’s colorful career journey painted the way toward his role as publisher, as he would later work in food service and technology, as well as the auto and mortgage industries. “Coming from a small town, I considered Corpus the ‘big city,’” he smiles.
These roots provided Garza with many of life’s tools. The most important values he still carries include a strong love for family, believing in self and giving back to the community. Growing up in a strong Christian home, he says, “we went to church a lot and depended on our faith” – a faith that would carry him through trying moments in his career.
When Garza was 18, many of his friends went to college, but he went straight to work. “I remember making $3.35 an hour,” he recalls of one of his first jobs working the graveyard shift at Whataburger. He would then go on to work for Electronic Data Systems (EDS) and Frito Lay and later in car sales.
Perseverance and pivotal moments
“I’ve always said that hard work pays dividends,” Garza says. While Garza was at EDS, a day manager randomly showed up during one of his night shifts. A defining moment presented itself as the manager approached Garza with an opportunity, stating, “We have an opportunity in our data communications.” Astounded by the out-of-the-ordinary opportunity, Garza explains, “So I asked, ‘does that include days?’” He chuckles as he remembers the story: a simple request that would redirect his career path. He instantly moved his way into a sought-after 9-to-5 office job.
It was during his time in auto sales that he learned about gaining “thick skin.” When he was unable to advance into management, his manager had a candid conversation with him. “He told me I wore my heart on my sleeve,” he recalls. “[He said], ‘One of the reasons we never moved you up as a manager is you need to toughen up.’” Looking back on those moments, Garza explains, ironically, “I thought, he is 100 percent right! What he said – I couldn’t agree more. So I started changing my approach – not only in the industry, but in life in general.
“In 2006, my brother started NSIDE Publications in San Antonio; it was created through his vision. From the outside looking in, I saw the magazine take off overnight, so in 2008, when I was laid off from my job in the car industry, it made perfect sense to reach out to my brother. I knew the concept could work in the Coastal Bend, and I wanted the opportunity to bring it here.” This is when the lens began to shift and everything came into focus for Garza.
We launched NSIDE Coastal Bend Magazine in 2009. Going back to the basics, Garza started knocking on doors to let people know what he was doing. “One of the biggest challenges I faced in the Coastal Bend was trying to get the local business and medical community to share the vision I was trying to accomplish,” Garza explains. At the time, the businesses didn’t quite know how to embrace the concept. “Basically, there were a lot of doors that shut,” Garza says. “A lot of times, people want to wait and see before they jumped on board. During that time, my wife and I were facing some hard times.”
With the changes and uncertainty, he began going back to church. “I was sitting and listening to the service, and as the offering plate was being passed, the preacher was asking for us to go beyond the call of duty and put a little extra in that offering. I was in a position where I didn’t have extra to put in. I sat there and thought about it. I thought I may not be able to put in anything extra, but realized what I did have to offer was the magazine.”
The pastor’s message was so compelling that Garza asked the pastor to be on the cover. The magazine took off at that point, and Garza was pleased to see that the concept his brother shared with him was being well-received here in the Coastal Bend.
Inspire Magazine is born
The time came where Adrian and his brother had different ideas for the direction the publication. His commitment to the Coastal Bend community to share the local business and medical stories and to provide the magazine free did not align with that of his brother’s goals, so Adrian and his wife, Tracy, chose to make the magazine their own and rebrand as Inspire Coastal Bend Magazine.
Although he has strikingly noted that, “the power of prayer is amazing,” Garza’s hard work, diligence and dedication has helped guide him to his current role as Inspire Magazine’s publisher. Today, Garza’s publication reaches more than 25,000 readers throughout the Coastal Bend. He features local community leaders, CEOs, CFOs and world-renowned physicians and medical professionals. Shedding light on various industries, Inspire’s appeal reaches a wide spectrum of readers.
“We all have a responsibility to give back and raise awareness,” Garza says. Future plans for Inspire include continuing the tradition of hosting monthly networking mixers, giving back to the community and growing readership all over the Coastal Bend. “Handshakes and networking in person” will continue to be the magazine’s objective, offering business-to-business opportunities and community support.
Adrian and his wife Tracy celebrate 22 years of marriage this July. They have lived in Corpus Christi for 25 years and have two children. Their son, Alec, will enter his second year of college at Texas State University in the fall; he is a member of the Delta Tau Delta Fraternity. And their daughter, Ashley, will enter eighth grade in the fall; she participates in competitive cheer, track and volleyball.
For more information, visit Inspire Coastal Bend online at www.inspirecoastalbendmag.com.