Fil-Am to head New York agency for small business services

By Don Tagala, ABS-CBN North America News Bureau

Posted at Jan 24 2014 11:56 AM | Updated as of Jan 25 2014 01:49 AM

Newly appointed Small Business Services commissioner Maria Torres-Springer with New York Mayor Bill de Blasio

NEW YORK – New York Mayor Bill de Blasio appointed a Filipino-American to head the city agency overseeing services for small businesses.

As commissioner, Maria Torres-Springer will oversee the city agency devoted to supporting small business including fledgling companies.

Torres-Springer was a veteran of former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. She served as executive vice president and chief of staff at the New York Economic Development Corporation.

"So I need a commissioner for small business services who really understood, but also could be that change agent. And I came to the conclusion that Maria Torres-Springer was the right person with the right mindset, the skills, the energy, the focus, the desire to make the changes we know and always do it in direct consultation with the small business that were here to support," De Blasio said.

De Blasio said Torres-Springer's family immigrated from the Philippines shortly before she was born. The family, he said, often struggled to make ends meet.

"Her parents worked multiple jobs and then very, very sadly after her mother passed away, the burden of providing for her family got even greater. Maria grew up with those challenges around her and I could tell from talking to her that they gave her a clear understanding and a spirit to help others in need, who had faced the challenges her family faced," the Mayor said.

He added, "Maria was the first person in her family to go to college and it was clear early on in her life that she didn't do anything halfway. She didn't just go to college, she went to Yale undergrad and got her master's degree from Harvard and then she devoted herself to others."

For her part, Torres-Springer thanked the mayor for the appointment. She likewise expressed her readiness to serve as SBS Commissioner.

"As the Mayor mentioned, as a child of immigrants who strive every day to make ends meet, and to provide a better life for me and my siblings, I have an acute appreciation for the importance of putting the rights and the needs of struggling families at the center of our city's agenda and that is why it would be my profound honor to work with you Mr. Mayor," she said.