Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston’s Ernesto Lopez was named to the Houston Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 Class of 2016.
More than 500 individuals from across all industries were nominated this year, and the honorees range from CEOs and other leaders at major for-profit and nonprofit companies to a Texas state representative and a rabbi. Judges scored nominees on leadership, overcoming challenges and community involvement.
Lopez has been with Catholic Charities for the past eight years. Prior to becoming the director for the counseling services program, he was the Clinical Supervisor at St. Michael’s Home for Children. In his role, he serves as the liaison between partnering stakeholders, assesses and reports on service impact, implements continuous quality improvement activities, contributes to fund development activities, manages staff development and recruitment, and provides clinical case consultations.
Lopez is a National Certified Counselor, Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in the State of Texas, Approved LPC Supervisor by the Texas State Board of Examiners, and a Certified Clinical Trauma Professional by the International Association of Trauma Professionals.
Under his direction, the Catholic Charities’ school counseling program has become a gold standard for similar programs across the country. Beginning in the fall of 2013, he led the development and implementation of a new behavioral health program serving 10 inner-city Catholic Schools in the Houston Area. The goal was to fill an identified gap in school-based counseling services so that elementary and middle school students could receive the benefits of working with mental health counselors regardless of the financial constraints faced by their parents. Services were free of charge, addressing the needs of low-income families who lacked adequate medical insurance coverage. Working alongside the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston’s Catholic Schools Office, the program has shown improvements over the past three years in the academic performance and classroom behavior of students initially rating low in these areas on a standardized assessment tool. For his efforts, he received the Catholic Charities Service Award in 2013.
In 2015, this Catholic Charities program was recognized as an exemplary case study in a national study by The Catholic Partnership Project for Better Early Childhood Development and The Catholic University of America. This project was also selected for presentation at the 2016 Catholic Charities USA Annual Gathering in Boston, which will focus on strategic partnering with local community leaders to strengthen inner-city Catholic schools.
Lopez is active in many professional membership organizations. He is a chair of the Behavioral Health Affordable Care Act Initiative (BHACA) Advisory Committee as part of the Network of Behavioral Health Providers. He is also a member of the International Association of Trauma Professionals, the Texas Counseling Association, Psi Chi – The National Honor Society in Psychology, and Sigma Delta Pi – The National Honors Society in Spanish.
HBJ will hold a ceremony to recognize the honorees on Oct. 27 at The Astorian just prior to publishing the honoree profiles in a special 40 Under 40 section in the Oct. 28 weekly edition.
Visit Houston Business Journal to see the complete list of winners and more information on the awards.