37th president - elected at the 1978 convention held in Las Vegas, Nevada. Served one term.
Pena, a native of Laredo, Texas, is a 1958 graduate of the University of Texas in Austin with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Marketing. Pena received his law degree in 1967 from Catholic University in Washington, D.C., while working full time for the Department of Labor.
Pena has a long and distinguished career in public service, working for the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), the U.S. Senate, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). He is a two time recipient, 1968 and 1969, of the DOL's award for meritorious achievement.
- Two time recipient of the meritorious achievement award (1968 and 1969)
- Wage-hour investigator and analyst (1960-1966)
- Senior Compliance Officer with DOL's Office of Federal Contract Compliance
- Director of the DOL Office of Federal Contract Compliance (1969)
- Counsel for the U.S. Senate Committee on Labor and Public Welfare (1970)
- Drafted legislation on manpower, equal employment opportunity, minimum wage, labor relations, poverty, citizenship, disaster relief, etc.
- Analyzed legislation from the sub-committees and recommended action to the chairman.
- Prepared testimony committee hearings.
- Campaign Coordinator for Senator Ralph Yarborough
- Legislative Assistant to Senator Birch Bayh (1971)
- Worked six months on domestic social legislation.
- Director of the Office of Compliance Programs for the EEOC (1971-1976)
- Supervised the headquarter staff group responsible for providing guidance on means to eliminate job discrimination. During the five years he occupied this post, the number of discrimination complaints resolved increased from 8,000 to 74,000 per year.
- Acting Director of the Office of Government Employment at EEOC (1977)
- Managed a newly created office focusing on the problems of employees under merit and tenure systems of state and local government agencies and educational institutions.
- Resigned from government service to enter private law practice (1979)