Former San Jacinto College student named Male Entrepreneur of the Year
12.22.2015 | By Rob Vanya
Former San Jacinto College student Robert Tijerina, owner of Priority 1 Aviation, was named Male Entrepreneur of the Year by the Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Photo credit: Rob Vanya, San Jacinto College marketing, public relations, and government affairs department.
Former San Jacinto College student Robert Tijerina, founder and owner of two successful companies, was recently named the 2015 Male Entrepreneur of the Year by the Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
Tijerina seemed destined to be an entrepreneur. As a child, he would collect cans for ready cash. “While other kids spent time playing games, I would offer to fix their bikes (for a charge, of course),” he commented. “When I was 14, I lied about my age to get a sacker’s job at a grocery store just because I just wanted to make some money.”
As he got older, he began to realize it takes more than a natural entrepreneurial spirit to succeed in the business world. So, after graduating from South Houston High School, he enrolled at San Jacinto College. Because his father Raul Tijerina worked at NASA, Robert was interested in aviation, and he consequently chose aviation technology as his field of study at the College.
During his final year at San Jacinto College in 1989, he began working as a flight planner for Universal Weather & Aviation. That experience led Tijerina to launch his own aircraft brokerage, Priority 1 Aviation, which is a corporate jet aircraft sales and brokerage company located near Hobby Airport. Priority 1 represents numerous Fortune 500 companies, as well as private clientele, in the buying and selling of business aircraft.
Tijerina’s company ranks as a leader in business jet aircraft sales, and he credits his experience at San Jacinto College as providing a solid foundation for its success. “The quality education I received at San Jacinto College is absolutely the main reason I was able to not only start Priority 1 Aviation, but to also develop it into what it is today,” he stated. “At San Jacinto College, I learned about all types of aircraft and virtually every part of the aviation business, and that knowledge has been invaluable.”
Ever the entrepreneur, Tijerina developed an interest in the tequila industry and recently launched Titanium Tequila, a company with an ambitious goal of “bringing luxury back to the tequila brand.” Tijerina and his team created Titanium using only the highest quality Tequilana Blue Agave, which is available exclusively in the protected highlands of Jalisco, Mexico. Tijerina’s Titanium Tequila won a gold medal at the San Francisco World Spirits competition in 2014, and is now served in many restaurants and stores throughout Texas. The success of the Titanium business also factored into Tijerina receiving the Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce’s entrepreneur award.
Sitting in his office, holding his entrepreneur award, talking about his journey from being a 12-year-old boy picking up cans, to becoming the owner of two successful businesses, Tijerina says his experience at San Jacinto College was truly a defining moment for him. “I struggled as a student during my childhood and in high school,” he admitted. “And I struggled with some college classes also. But, I am thankful for the valuable training I received through the San Jacinto College aviation program. Without that, I would not be where I am today.”
For information about San Jacinto College’s aviation program, please visit sanjac.edu/career/aviation.
About San Jacinto College
Surrounded by monuments of history, industries and maritime enterprises of today, and the space age of tomorrow, San Jacinto College has been serving the citizens of East Harris County, Texas, for more than 50 years. As an Achieving the Dream Leader College, San Jacinto College is committed to the goals and aspirations of a diverse population of approximately 30,000 credit students. The College offers 186 degrees and certificates, with 46 technical programs and a university transfer division. Students benefit from a support system that maps out a pathway for success, and job training programs that are renowned for meeting the needs of growing industries in the region. San Jacinto College graduates contribute nearly $690 million each year to the Texas workforce.