After graduating from Texas A&M University, D&M Leasing CEO Micheal Albert “Mike” Hernandez III, now semi-retired, embarked on a career that has spanned more than three decades. A native of Brownsville, Texas, Mike Hernandez III has given back to his hometown over the years, and recently founded OP10.33 to advance his philanthropic efforts in the region.
Although Mr. Hernandez’ family moved to Dallas-Forth Worth while he was in high school, he always felt connected to Cameron County. After finding success in the auto leasing and real estate sectors, he returned to his hometown to find the community was struggling. Additionally, a study in 2013 named Brownsville the poorest city in the country. Determined to do something about it, Mr. Hernandez formed his organization in 2016, pledging to put $10 million toward programs in the area.
Among other efforts, OP10.33 came to the aid of Brownsville residents after a community member was diagnosed with Zika virus. At the time, county officials warned area residents about the dangers of mosquito bites and recommended using insect repellent whenever going outside.
However, many people in the area could not afford to buy insect repellent or did not have access to shopping areas where they could get it. Additionally, people who relied on food stamps were not allowed to use their benefits to purchase it. Recognizing the situation could quickly turn into a health crisis for the county, OP10.33 purchased and distributed insect repellent and informational material to individuals at local service centers and shelters.
A respected presence in the Dallas business community, Micheal “Mike” Hernandez III guides D & M Leasing as CEO. Now semi-retired, Mike Hernandez III supports a number of charitable initiatives in the Brownsville community, where he has family roots.
In 2016, Mr. Hernandez reemphasized his connection with a struggling part of Texas through the establishment of OP10.33, a nonprofit development group. A key impetus was that he could not see enough progress when it came to the overall economic environment of Brownsville and Cameron County.
He felt that there should be much higher growth, given the county’s location on the Gulf of Mexico and at a major border. This geographical proximity to conduits of international commerce should support a diversified and sustainable business community.
With his nonprofit group, Micheal Albert Hernandez III has an aim of transforming Cameron County into a region of opportunity by 2033. In addition to fostering business and local government collaboration, OP10.33 has the goal of improving social services for people who are underserved.
Cameron County Educational Initiative
Brownsville, Texas, native Micheal “Mike” Albert Hernandez III is an active philanthropist and the CEO of D&M Leasing in Dallas. Now semiretired, Mike Hernandez III dedicates much of his time to local charitable and civic causes, such as the Cameron County Educational Initiative (CCEI).
Dedicated to providing affordable education and career training to residents of Cameron County, CCEI operates on a debt-free model that allows students to take charge of their future without incurring a significant financial burden. CCEI offers a number of educational services, including GED prep, adult literacy courses, and ESL classes at no cost to students.
In addition, vocational classes in information technology, industrial trades, and allied health give students the necessary resources to earn professional certifications. CCEI students currently have the opportunity to become certified as medical assistants or electronic health records technicians, and in the future, the center plans to add career paths for machinists, welding specialists, and operators of computer-controlled machine tools.
St. Vincent de Paul Society
A native of Brownsville, Texas, Micheal “Mike” Albert Hernandez III works as the chief executive officer of D&M Leasing in Dallas. Away from work, Mike Hernandez III supports several charitable initiatives, including the St. Vincent de Paul Society (SVP), a faith-based organization that provides help and hope to those in need.
SVP operates on seven key values:
1. Christ as the center. The recognition and acceptance that Jesus Christ is present everywhere.
2. Respect. In acknowledging that all people are created equal, SVP maintains the dignity of those it supports.
3. Compassion. A nonjudgmental approach to its work ensures SVP volunteers demonstrate compassion at all times.
4. Responsiveness. SVP remains alerted to the ever-evolving needs of the communities it supports, enabling it to respond accordingly.
5. Generosity. Volunteers must give of their possessions, resources, and time in service of the less fortunate.
6. Confidentiality. SVP respects the privacy of those it serves while understanding that the well-being of vulnerable people is the main priority.
7. Accountability. SVP volunteers understand their own skills and knowledge, which helps ensure accountability for their actions.
St. Vincent de Paul Society
A veteran business leader who has served Dallas-based D & M Leasing since 1984, Michael “Mike” Albert Hernandez III now focuses primarily on philanthropic activities in the Brownsville area. Among the organizations Mike Hernandez III supports is the St. Vincent de Paul Society, a collective of Christian volunteers committed to doing what they can to help those in need.
The society’s visiting and befriending program is a key part of its efforts. Volunteers provide their time and personal care to the ill and elderly, building trusting relationships with those who would otherwise struggle to confront issues such as loneliness and depression. Visits are often as simple as providing somebody with a friendly person to chat with, though volunteer support often extends to helping others conduct a range of activities, such as decorating, shopping, and filling out important forms.
A select group of society volunteers also become prison visitors, which may involve visiting prisoners directly or providing child-care services to family members who wish to visit someone in prison.
Mike Hernandez III
Based in Dallas, Mike Hernandez III has guided D & M Leasing for more than two decades and built up one of America’s largest and most successful vehicle leasing companies. Mike Hernandez III currently focuses much of his efforts on the Brownsville economic and social development-focused nonprofit, OP10.33, which he established in early 2016.
Speaking about the political action committee with the Brownsville Herald in 2016, Micheal Albert Hernandez III spoke of having a broad emphasis on improving social services through offerings encompassing computer, Internet, and alternative health care access for low-income residents.
Another focus is on kickstarting activities that revitalize Brownsville’s historic downtown. One project that was under consideration involved restoring the Hotel El Jardin, although that lacks financial feasibility at the present. Not seeking to be a “kingmaker,” Mr. Hernandez described his PAC as providing support for local political candidates who share the same progressive aim as his organization. He has also established a major scholarship program in tandem with the Texas A&M Foundation aimed at students from underrepresented backgrounds.