In Conversation w/ Entrepreneur and Pride Corpus Christi President Jonathan Swindle

In Conversation with Jonathan Swindle

Entrepreneur and PRIDE Corpus Christi board president Jonathan Swindle discusses his business triumphs and tribulations, what people can expect from this year’s PRIDE CC programming and more.

Entrepreneur and Pride Corpus Christi President Jonathan Swindle talks business triumphs and tribulations, Pride CC, and more.

Photography by Shoocha Photography

Inside the June 2023 print issue, we sit down with local entrepreneur and PRIDE Corpus Christi board president to discuss his business triumphs and tribulations, what people can expect from this year’s PRIDE CC programming and more.

KC: You are the owner of a local marketing agency, Hi-Res Media Group (HRMG). How did you decide to start this company?

JS: My decision to establish the company was driven by a desire to pursue a career in digital work in an area where such opportunities were scarce locally. My background in computer skills and a personal commitment to helping others enabled me to assist people with their websites, graphic design and other technical needs.

KC: How have you seen HRMG evolve in the 10+ years since its inception?

JS: In my initial enthusiasm, I opened an uptown office, eager to build a team to better serve our clients. However, the process of assembling the right team proved more difficult than anticipated. I found myself working 16-hour days, juggling client management, website development and administrative tasks. This pace was not sustainable, and the lack of skilled professionals in the industry locally exacerbated the issue.

To address this, I shifted my focus from simply hiring employees to building a pathway for cultivating talent. My experience founding Corpus Christi’s first coworking space, AXOM, taught me the importance of capital in achieving this goal. Over the past decade, Hi-Res Media Group has evolved from a survival-driven venture into a diverse agency that not only provides valuable services but also fosters the development of local talent.

KC: More recently, you co-founded the company Confirmed Life Safety (CLS). Can you share a bit about the company and what it does?

JS: During the COVID pandemic, I faced a three-month period with no income, prompting a reevaluation of my business strategy. Drawing on my experience from founding AXOM in 2018, I realized the need to invest outside Corpus Christi to generate revenue that could be channeled back into my community. Serendipitously, a client from Chicago became a friend and eventually my business partner in co-founding Confirmed Life Safety (CLS).

CLS is a niche Software as a Service (SaaS) company that caters to commercial real estate owners, specifically Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs). We help property managers and building engineers modernize life safety measures by transitioning from paper-based records to digital platforms. Our services include digitizing and organizing information related to elevator inspections, fire panels, emergency exit signage and more, streamlining their day-to-day management. Beyond this, CLS allows REITs to analyze large sets of data, identify issues and make informed decisions to improve efficiency and cost savings. 

KC: What about this line of work are you drawn to?

JS: I was drawn to this line of work because it leverages my extensive experience in problem-solving and building effective ecosystems for over 70 clients. By developing a sustainable software solution, CLS reduces liability [and] overhead costs, and fosters efficient data management processes for the 21st century.

KC: You’ve been an entrepreneur in the community for well over a decade. Where did your passion for entrepreneurship come from?

JS: A key aspect of my passion for entrepreneurship is the enjoyment I derive from getting to know people, identifying their strengths and seeing how these pieces can work together. Over the past 11 years, this inherent drive has manifested itself in my entrepreneurial journey. I have consistently sought to help others and contribute to the betterment of my community. My passion for entrepreneurship stems from a desire to make a meaningful impact and create lasting value in the lives of others.

Entrepreneur and Pride Corpus Christi President Jonathan Swindle on triumphs and tribulations, Pride CC, and more.
Entrepreneur and PRIDE Corpus Christi board president Jonathan Swindle. Photography by Shoocha Photography

KC: Let’s talk about PRIDE Corpus Christi a bit. As Board President for the second year, what do your responsibilities look like?

JS: My primary responsibility is to build and maintain relationships with community partners who share our mission of fostering the well-being of the LGBTQIA+ community and their allies. We work collectively to support our families, friends and neighbors through advocacy and events that increase visibility and create opportunities.

In this role, I ensure the successful execution of PRIDE Corpus Christi’s programs and events while promoting the organization’s efforts both locally and beyond. Additionally, I collaborate with my fellow board members to strengthen our community and uphold the integrity of our initiatives aimed at fostering economic vitality. Central to our success is the diverse composition of our board, which comprises individuals from various industries and backgrounds.

KC: Under your leadership, Pride Corpus Christi secured an HIV/STD testing grant from the CDC in partnership with the Coastal Bend Wellness Foundation. What does this mean for our community?

JS: I want to first recognize the significant contributions of the Coastal Bend Wellness Foundation (CBWF) and its CEO, Bill Hoelscher, to Pride Corpus Christi’s development. Without their support, our organization would not have flourished as it has. CBWF, as a federally recognized health clinic, is eligible for grants from the CDC, Department of Health and other similar organizations. Bill identified an opportunity to collaborate with community partners like Pride Corpus Christi by applying for a CDC grant to provide free HIV and STD testing. Having secured this grant last year, it is now our responsibility to utilize our platform to extend the mission of the Wellness Foundation to our community. By offering accessible and free HIV and STD testing, we enable community members to assess their health and seek treatment if necessary. This empowers individuals to build a stronger foundation for a healthy and prosperous future, ultimately benefiting the entire community.

KC: What can people expect from PRIDE Corpus Christi’s programming for Pride Month? Any changes and/or additions you’re excited about?

JS: This year, we’re taking PRIDE Corpus Christi’s programming to new heights. By expanding from Pride Week to the entire month of June, we’re leveraging ongoing commitments with partners and sponsors, improved technology infrastructure, reduced overhead and a larger board.

This year, PRIDE Corpus Christi is producing an LGBTQIA+ themed play at Harbor Playhouse from Jun.30 – Jul. 2. The play, originally a graphic novel by Alison Bechdel, tells a poignant coming-of-age story about a young lesbian woman. Additionally, we’re flying in a hall of fame comedian from Rhode Island and supporting various events planned by local businesses and drag performers. While many components are still coming together, I am particularly excited about expanding October’s Pride Parade and Block Party into a concert. This will provide an opportunity for us to showcase LGBTQIA+ musicians and offer our community even more to look forward to. Undoubtedly, this year’s Pride is a testament to a city that embraces inclusivity.

PRIDE Corpus Christi 2023
PRIDE Corpus Christi has expanded its full lineup of events to the entire month of June this year. CREDIT: PRIDE Corpus Christi

KC: Your work with Pride Corpus Christi goes far beyond planning programming for the month of June. I’d love for you to share a bit about your efforts outside of the Pride Month programming.

JS: A significant aspect of my role involves fostering relationships with partners and sponsors, ensuring the successful organization of an increasingly grand Pride Parade and Block Party each year. Additionally, I focus on strengthening connections with statewide and nationwide partners.

Our recent membership in the United States Association of Prides allowed us to attend the inaugural conference in Minneapolis, where I had the privilege of participating in a panel alongside organizers from Washington, D.C., and San Francisco Prides. This experience enabled us to represent Corpus Christi, network with other leaders and learn from their solutions, often implemented on a much larger scale. Joining organizations like InterPride is essential to me as Board President because it helps elevate the conversation around Pride Corpus Christi beyond our local community, attracting investment, participation and access to additional resources. By sharing best practices, we can enhance our efforts, creating a more effective organization and fostering a city where everyone has equitable pathways to success.

KC: How have you seen the conversation around the LGBTQIA+ community in the Coastal Bend shift throughout the years?

Throughout the years, I’ve witnessed the LGBTQIA+ community in the Coastal Bend become increasingly empowered to embrace their identities and champion the causes they care about. In particular, our youth have emerged as a driving force, advocating for equitable opportunities and shaping their own futures. The LGBTQIA+ community has demonstrated that it is an integral part of the social fabric of our society, and the collaboration between people from diverse backgrounds, businesses, and industries for progress is truly inspiring.

Being familiar with the pulse of our community, I can say that efforts to portray the LGBTQIA+ community negatively by certain political factions do not define the wonderful people I’ve come to know and love. Locally, we collaborate to create a healthier, more vibrant and sustainable community for all. We will continue to carry the flag as a symbol of support for those who need it, in the face of hate or harm.

As a younger version of myself growing up in Bishop, Texas, I couldn’t have imagined the opportunities available today. By doing my part, I am hopeful for what the future holds for the next generations. We won’t let them down. There is a place for everyone at our table.

KC: How can the community support PRIDE Corpus Christi?

JS: There are several ways people in the community can support PRIDE Corpus Christi. Donate or sponsor an event; your contributions help us scale our impact and invest in our mission, enabling us to do more for those around us. Volunteer your time; it takes many hands to carry out this work, and your involvement can make a significant difference. Attend our events; by showing up and participating, you get to know the people in your city and contribute to a supportive environment. Spread the word; encourage others to join our events, donate or volunteer, and help grow our community.

Most importantly, help us demonstrate to our youth that this is a place worth building a life in and giving back to. Your support and presence make all the difference.

Editor’s Note: A shortened version of this interview was published in the June 2023 print issue of The Bend. The printed version was edited for clarity and length purposes only. 

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