Cafecito con Christopher Gonzalez
Chris has a combination of military, education, and business consulting experience. With the Marine Corps, Chris traveled to Iraq, Afghanistan and Panama where he was awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal and Navy Commendation Medal for leading Civil-Military Operations in an area requiring cultural sensitivity, keen political skills, and a focus on common objectives. As president of A-G Associates, he serves as key personnel on several projects for federal government clients including the Department of Health and Human Services, and Defense Logistics Agency. Chris is recognized for his ability to help executives maximize their potential under the most demanding circumstances.
Before working as a consultant, Chris was a teacher who worked on a variety of student achievement and drop-out prevention programs. He received his Bachelor’s Degree in Social Science from Frostburg State University, and his Master of Arts in Education from Towson University. In 2014, Chris graduated from AT&T’s Executive Development Program called Operation Hand Salute. He currently serves in the Marine Corps Reserves as an Instructor at the Civil Military Operations School in Quantico, VA. He is also an active member of the National Veteran Owned Business Association, the Project Management Institute, and Team Red, White & Blue.
What is the focus of A-G Associates?
A-G Associates is a service disabled veteran owned small business that looks to work with our clients to help them create a strategic vision, then manage all the moving parts that will ultimately help them achieve that vision. , but enjoy working with private sector companies as well. Our goal is to really create a partnership with our clients to help create an organization that has a clear strategic direction, empowered personnel who feel confident about performing their job, resources that are utilized efficiently, strong relationships where people feel good about embracing conflict in a healthy way, and the proper mechanisms for communicating and evaluating outcomes.
Why did you decide to start A-G Associates?
My business partner, Peg Anthony, is also my mother. She had worked for some large consulting firms and helped them to grow their business practices. She decided that she was tired of making money for other people and wanted to go into business for herself. I was an 8th Grade Social Studies teacher and did a good bit of work with behavior change in 8th Graders. I also had a good bit of training and leadership development experience with the Marine Corps. When she started talking about us partnering together to start our own company, I thought she was crazy, but 8 years later we’re doing pretty well. Her last name is Anthony, mine is Gonzalez so A-G Associates had a nice ring.
Who are your clients?
Our current clients include:
- Defense Logistics Agency (DLA)
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
- Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)
- Federal Deposit Insurance Company (FDIC)
- 3 private sector companies
What is the most important lesson you have learned from being a business owner or in your current position?
Unlike many other business owners, I did not begin my business after working for a large company, nor do have an educational background in Business. However, I’ve spoken to Business classes for both Undergraduate and Master’s programs at Towson University and University of Maryland. When speaking to Business classes, I usually emphasize the 3 Pillars of Business: Service Delivery, Infrastructure/Capacity Building and Business Development. Without a healthy mix of those 3 elements, its extremely difficult for a business to grow successfully.
What inspires you?
The Veteran Community has always been important to me. I’ve been to some of the worst places in the world in Iraq and Afghanistan and am fortunate to make it back with my life, limbs, and sanity. Because of that, I feel very lucky but also feel a sense of duty to help those who were not so fortunate. I also see a big problem with many military personnel coming out of the service ill-prepared for civilian employment. I enjoy helping those guys talk through the things that they might want to do and create a path for success since many times military service isn’t the only thing that qualifies them for jobs.
Bachata, Merengue or Salsa?
Café…con leche y azúcar or black?
What is another fun fact about you?
I am in The Marine Corps Reserves and have been in for 13 years. I was also honored as a Hometown Hero at a Ravens game.