EDINBURG, Texas (ValleyCentral) — Former UTPA baseball standout Roly Gonzalez made the most of his time as a student-athlete in the Rio Grande Valley.

On the field he led the nation in stolen bases in 2008.

In the classroom he wrapped up his studies at UTPA with a master’s degree.

Nowadays his time spent working in the fast food industry.

“It’s awesome,” Gonzalez said. “It’s humbling. Fun. A lot of fried chicken, biscuits” Gonzalez said.

The industry is holds a special place in his heart.

“I see managers and team members who have 20 years plus with that brand and are loyal, Inspiring to me to be the best I can be to help them,” said the former Bronc baseball player.   

Gonzalez has worked in executive roles in the fast food industry for more than a decade.

“I was with the (Burger) King for a bit, and we ended up acquiring other brands like Popeyes and Tim Horton’s,” Gonzalez said. “Was there for about 10 years. Went on to a startup venture called Virtual Dining Concepts, where we grew the largest virtual brands in the country.”

Gonzalez recently embarked on a new role, with a new company.

The Former UTPA baseball player is the chief operations officer for Church’s Texas Chicken.

“We have over 700 restaurants in the U.S.,” he said. “Have just about that many internationally and are growing quickly.”

Gonzalez’s job requires him to help local franchisees attract customers.

“Making sure you help them maximize their profitability,” Gonzalez said. “If it’s a new procedure, or a new limited time offer that is gonna be impactful to guests, being able to make sure you can get a lot of people through the door and also have a great experience.”

In his spare time, Gonzalez enjoys sharing his knowledge with UTRGV students.

“UTRGV provides the opportunity like any other top DI school,” he said. “It’s yours to make and maximize what you want to be. So go out and get it done.” 

Gonzalez still has ties to the Rio Grande Valley in spite of his busy schedule. The former Bronc is on the executive committee of the UTRGV Foundation, which helps raise funds for the university.