Randy Velarde is founder and President of The Plaza Group, a Houston based minority-owned provider of marketing and related services for customers and suppliers in the petrochemical, refining, plastics and other identified industries around the World. The company markets refining, petrochemical and polymer products for producers such as Versalis, Total Petrochemicals, Delek (formerly Alon Refining), Husky Energy, Olin, Southern Chemical Corporation, Valero, Shell, CEPSA, and Mitsui. Customers include such companies as 3M, Dow Corning, Albemarle, Shell, Styrolution, Valspar, Huntsman, Sasol, Eastman, Bayer and many others. Velarde founded The Plaza Group in 1994 with three other partners and in 1997 completed the buyout of his original partners. Prior to The Plaza Group, Velarde worked for Texaco Chemical (1991-1993) and Shell Chemical for nearly 10 years.
Velarde spoke at the 2018, 2015, 2011 and 2010 Phenol/Acetone & Derivatives Markets Conferences, the 2009 Chemical Purchasing Summit, and the 2008 AFPM convention. He also spoke at the Houston Professional Hispanic Leadership Day at Rice University in 2000 and to the University of Houston College of Business in 2009 on entrepreneurship.
Velarde serves or has served on the University of New Mexico (UNM) Department of Engineering Board of Visitors, the Board of the University of St. Thomas in Houston (and Chair of the Nominating Committee), and the UNM Foundation (UNMF) Board and serves on the Executive, Finance and Investment Committees and as Co-Chair (and Officer of the Board) of this organization. He will become the Chair of UNMF in 2019. Velarde also served on the National Petroleum Council, an advisory council to the Energy Secretary on matters related to the energy business. He also currently serves on the Board of Memorial Assistance Ministries and is a Senior Fellow of the American Leadership Forum.
Randy was honored by HISPANIC BUSINESS magazine and the Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce as the 1999 Entrepreneur of the Year and named as a “Distinguished Alumni” by the University of New Mexico in 2001.
In 2017, ICIS listed The Plaza Group as the 35th largest North American distributor. In 2015, the Houston Business Journal list of largest minority-owned businesses ranks The Plaza Group as third and the Houston Chronicle ranks the company as the 61st largest private companies in Houston.
In 2018, the Governor of the State of Texas named The Plaza Group as an elite Small Business of Texas. In 2016, the company was named as the 2016 Supplier of the Year award from 3M and the Elite Supplier award from BP in the same year. We were awarded the Supplier Excellence Award by Eastman in 2013 and a Certificate of Excellence award by Vi-Jon in the same year. In 1996 we were awarded Outstanding Supplier of the Year award from Huntsman. Since 2008 we have been recognized for our commitment to the Safe Rail Transportation of Hazardous material by the BNSF Rail Company.
Velarde earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of New Mexico, and a Master of Business Administration from Baldwin-Wallace College in Berea, Ohio. He resides in Houston, Texas with four children, Garrett, Vincent, Jaclyn and Diana.