The Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce will release its fifth annual edition of the DATOS Tucson report at a morning conference Oct. 6.
The report provides an overview of the state of the Hispanic market in Southern Arizona, as well as statewide and nationally. The conference takes place 9:30 to 11:00 p.m. at Tucson Hilton El Conquistador, 10000 North Oracle Road, Tucson, AZ 85704.
“Tucson and Southern Arizona are vital to Arizona’s overall economic prosperity, especially as it relates to our fast-growing partnership with Mexico,” said Gonzalo A. de la Melena, Jr., President and CEO of the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. “We’re proud to to deliver the message that Arizona’s future is inextricably linked to the economic health of its exploding Hispanic population.”
The keynote address during DATOS Tucson’s release, “Economic Impact of Extending The Mexican Border Zone To The Entire State Of Arizona,” will be presented by Dr. Alberta Charney and Alan Hoogasian of the Economic and Business Research Center at the University of Arizona.
Today, “pre-cleared visitors” from Mexico are limited to traveling 75 miles into Arizona from the border’s ports of entry. The report by Charney and Hoogasian asserts that extending the border zone to the entire state of Arizona could generate up to an additional $181 million in estimated spending in 2016, bringing the total spending by Mexican visitors to $3.1 billion and 31,856 jobs statewide.
A resolution of support to extend the border zone has been proposed by the Maricopa Association of Governments (MAG), as well as the Intertribal Council of Arizona and the city of Nogales, Arizona. Charney and Hoogasian completed the report on behalf of the Maricopa Association of Governments.
Among the 2015 highlights in DATOS Tucson:
The presenting sponsor for DATOS Tucson is Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona. The event’s collaborating sponsors include Sun Corridor, Inc. Hispanic Women’s Corporation, Arizona Technology Council, University of Arizona and the Helios Education Foundation. Univision Anchor Heidi Renpenning will serve as emcee for the conference. Other major sponsors include HSL Properties, Red Bull, Univision Arizona, Vantage West Credit Union, La Buena/Caliente radio stations and Verizon.
For information about DATOS Tucson or to purchase tickets or tables, contact Angela Serda at 602-294-6085 or email@example.com.
Cox Communications announced a partnership with Prensa Hispana newspaper, Azteca América Phoenix and the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (AZHCC) to recognize successful Latina entrepreneurs whose innovative business strategies are perfect examples of many small businesses blooming in Arizona.
The one-of-a-kind campaign is back for the third year and it includes a series of 30-second spots produced by Cox Media in English and Spanish that highlight two outstanding Latina Entrepreneurs in Phoenix. The spots will run across the Cox channel line up throughout the month of June and July. Through the media partnerships, honorees’ stories will also appear on the pages of Prensa Hispana newspaper, Azteca América Phoenix’s channels and through communication vehicles of the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
Latinas make up the single largest minority group among women-owned businesses. According to the 2014 State of Women-Owned Businesses Report, Latina entrepreneurs have an estimated 1,033,100 businesses as of 2014. In addition, Latina-owned businesses generated $71.1 billion in revenue and employed over 400,000 workers.
“We are honored to highlight the accomplishments of these exceptional Latina entrepreneurs in Phoenix,” said John Wolfe, Vice President and General Manager, Cox Communications. “These Latina entrepreneurs are not only contributing to the thriving Arizona economy, but also to the communities that they live in.”
“The success of minority small business and women owned businesses here in Arizona is at an all time high,” said Mónica Villalobos, Vice President for the AZHCC. “The Cox Latina Entrepreneurs program is a testament to the growing force of accomplished Latinas in Phoenix and it’s with great pleasure that the AZHCC is partnering with Cox Business to support this wonderful program for the third year in a row.”
The individuals featured in the Phoenix campaign are:
Silvana Salcido Esparza: Owner of Barrio Café and Barrio Urbano
Silvana was born in Los Angeles, California and grew up in the San Joaquin Valley. Raised in a family whose ancestors were once appointed the official pastry chefs to Spain’s royal family, Esparza’s family immigrated to Mexico in the 1600’s. Silvana has been nominated for the prestigious James Beard award in 2010, 11, 12 & 14. Esparza now owns and operates Barrio Café and Barrio Urbano in Phoenix.
Lety Garcia: Owner and CEO of Prensa Hispana
When Lety Garcia and her husband, Manny Garcia, started the newspaper in 1990 the circulation totaled 5,000 and was primarily distributed in the Phoenix area. Today, it has a weekly circulation of 65,000, making it the leading Spanish newspaper publication in the valley catering to the growing Hispanic population.
What would you do it you opened the pages of this magazine and saw Jerry Colangelo listed as one of the 25 Most Influential Minority Business Leaders in Arizona? You’d do a double take, but it’s not out of the realm of possibilities.
Consider this: Among 439,633 Arizonans under age 5 in 2012, this is how the Census broke down those numbers:
• Hispanic: 196,776 (44.8 percent)
• Non-Hispanic white: 171,888 (39.1 percent)
• American Indian and Alaska Native: 22,198 (5 percent)
• Black: 18,617 (4.2 percent)
• Asian: 11,311 (2.6 percent)
• Two or more races: 18,088 (4.1 percent)
• Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander: 755 (0.17).
If you combine numbers like that with the fact that 91.7 percent of the nation’s population growth between 2000 and 2010 was attributed to racial and ethnic minorities, with the largest segment of population growth occurring in the Hispanic community, lists like this — the 25 Most Influential Minority Business Leaders in Arizona of 2014 — could become obsolete in our lifetimes.
Until we get there and as our state’s minority population moves toward majority status, it’s important to notice that the state’s most dynmanic business leaders have helped fuel our economic recovery and growth … and many of them just happen to be minorities. And while the future looks bright, we still have work to in overcoming outdated perceptions. According to a 2012 Minority Business Enterprise Report commissioned by the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the Phoenix MBDA Business Center, a significant portion of minority-owned businesses in Arizona have had problems earning the trust of their customers, suppliers, peers and lenders and need support from within the business community to help break down some of these misconceptions and stigma.
The 25 Most Influential Minority Business Leaders in Arizona, whom you will meet below, have changed that perception.
Bank of America
A graduate of Stanford University and the University of Santa Clara, Almanza has been with Bank of America for 34 years. He is a member of the Teach for America Arizona Board.
His hope for professional legacy: “Working every day with great teammates to make our community better and surrounding myself with strong leaders and developing them to replace me.”
Insight Enterprises Inc.
Bryan is responsible for setting the company’s financial strategies; ensuring the company has the appropriate financial and operating controls and systems in place to support future growth; and serving as a financial and business advisor to the leadership team.
Her hope for professional legacy: “Setting a standard of excellence in an organization and helping teammates reach their full potential.”
Phoenix Convention Center
Heritage: African American
Cotton manages a staff of 240 employees, a budget of $47.5 million and is the city’s chief representative to the state’s tourism and hospitality industry.
Her hope for professional legacy: “Throughout my career, I’d like to be remembered for adhering to high ethical standards and inspiring individuals to pursue careers within public service.”
Gonzalo de la Melena Jr.
President and CEO
Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
Heritage: Peruvian and Mexican
De la Melena, who directs the state’s leading advocate representing more than 60,000 Hispanic business enterprises, has 20 years of global brand management, business development and Latino marketing experience gained from conducting business in more than 30 countries.
His hope for professional legacy: “For helping the lifeblood of our economy, small businesses, prosper – especially minority-owned businesses, now one-fourth of Arizona’s total. Our future global competitiveness depends on it.”
Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community
Enos is the 23rd president of the Salt River Community and the second women elected to the office. Enos is the first member of the Community to become a lawyer and practiced in the Maricopa County Public Defender’s Office for 11 years.
Heritage: Onk Akimel O’Odham, or one of the River People otherwise known as Pima
Her hope for professional legacy: “The top qualities I’d like to be remembered for is someone who was unafraid to try something new and to do it with integrity for the good of my people.”
Maricopa Community Colleges
Heritage: African American
As the CEO of one of the nation’s largest systems of community colleges, he is leading MCCCD to address the community’s education and workforce training needs.
His hope for professional legacy: “An educator who focused on human rights and education for first-generation college students, quality healthcare, workforce and jobs, and re-framing an institution for the future.”
President of the board of directors
Gila River Casinos
Heritage: Gila River Indian Community member and Mexican-American
Griffin leads Arizona’s largest minority-run business with more that 2,500 employees.
Her hope for professional legacy: “I would like to be remembered for creating a legacy of self-sufficiency and volunteerism in my community. My Tribe needs only to seek within themselves and have confidence in the beauty of their abilities to continue this legacy.”
President and CEO
Chicanos Por La Causa
His hope for professional legacy: “I would like to be remembered as someone who made a difference in the community. The Hispanic community is at a breakaway point because of our demographics and the opportunities we establish for our youth will have a tremendous impact on our state. As the Hispanic community goes, so will the State of Arizona. My focus has always been in support of education and ensuring that young people get the opportunities I received as I was beginning my career. I am blessed to have been mentored by many individuals who were willing to invest in me and I have the responsibility to do the same.”
Quarles & Brady
Kim returned to Quarles & Brady after four years of service as a White House appointee to the U. S. Department of Homeland Security and as general counsel to Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano.
Her hope for professional legacy: “As a trusted counselor to and partner with leaders in business, government and politics who found new ways to get things done that make life a little better for us all.”
President and CEO
Best Western International
Since he was named president and CEO in 2004, Kong has guided Best Western International through a brand resurgence, winning numerous awards for training, social media and ecommerce initiatives. Brand Keys ranked Best Western No. 1 in customer loyalty for four consecutive years.
His hope for professional legacy: “I’d like to be remembered for having made a positive difference – in Best Western, in the industry and the lives of all our associates and our hotel staff.”
President and CEO
Helios Education Foundation
Luna leads Helios Education Foundation, a philanthropic organization dedicated to creating opportunities for individuals in Arizona and Florida to succeed in postsecondary education. He is the former president of Valley of the Sun United Way and has held positions with Pepsi, IBM and the Office of Governor Bruce Babbitt.
His hope for professional legacy: “That I cared about our community and helped make it better.”
President and CEO
Macias serves on the Governor’s Council on Small Business and is co-chair of the Supply Chain/Buy Arizona Committee, which is exploring ways government can help promote Arizona businesses.
His hope for professional legacy: “Someone who made a positive impact in promoting manufacturing as a worthwhile and valuable industry that provides quality jobs to the community.”
Louis J. Manuel, Jr.
Ak-Chin Indian Community
Heritage: Tohono O’odham Nation and Ak-Chin Indian Community
Manuel has diversified his Community’s economy with Ak-Chin Farms, Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino, Santa Cruz Commerce Center and a partnership with the Super Bowl Host Committee.
His hope for professional legacy: “That my decision making gave value and sustainability in promoting a strong future and self-reliance for the people I serve.”
President and CEO
Heritage: Black Latino
McAllister was born in Panama and earned degrees in electrical engineering from ASU and an MBA from Nova Southeastern University. In 2000, he and his wife Reyna started Fortis, a certified 8a and HUBZone government contractor specialized in engineering, construction and technology services.
His hope for professional legacy: “As an immigrant who came to this country in search of the American Dream, and built a business that employs more than 100 Americans.”
Molina went from fleeing Cuba as a boy without a change of clothes to rocking the jewelry world by selling the Archduke Joseph diamond for $21.5 million, the most ever paid at auction for a colorless diamond.
His hope for professional legacy: “I would like to be remembered as someone who made a difference. I believe that every individual is a precious jewel and it is my commitment and social responsibility to ensure they become brilliant.”
Rodolfo Parga, Jr.
Ryley Carlock & Applewhite
Parga has been named in multiple editions of Southwest Super Lawyers®, including in 2014. He also serves on the doard of Chicanos Por la Causa, a leading nonprofit helping advance and create economic and educational opportunities.
His hope for professional legacy: “I would like to be remembered as always trying my best to do the right thing, and being fair and loyal.”
Puente founded D.P. Electric in 1990 out of his garage with one truck and has built it into the largest Hispanic-owned company in Arizona.
His hope for professional legacy: “As an individual who created a company that set industry standards, gave back to an industry generous with opportunity and helped people grow personally and professionally.”
Arizona Indian Gaming Association
Heritage: San Carlos Apache Tribe
In addition to his AIGA leadership role, Rambler is chariman of the San Carlos Apache Tribe and president of the Inter Tribal Council of Arizona.
His hope for professional legacy: “Strong vision, consistent oversight, yet humble leadership that helped build successful partnerships in economic development, cultural preservation, and the expansion of tribal sovereignty.”
Terence Roberts, M.D., J.D.
Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center
Roberts specializes in stereotactic radiosurgery and tumors of the brain, spine, and prostate. He also received a law degree from Stanford University and practiced corporate law in the Silicon Valley for start-up companies.
His hope for professional legacy: “I would like to be remembered professionally as compassionate, knowledgeable and having integrity. Also as someone who innovated in an era of health care reform.”
Chairman, CEO and president
Sanghi, named president of Microchip in 1990, CEO in 1991 and chairman in 1993, is the author of “Driving Excellence: How The Aggregate System Turned Microchip Technology from a Failing Company to a Market Leader.”
His hope for professional legacy: “For building Microchip Technology into one of the most successful semiconductor companies, which achieved an unprecedented 100 consecutive profitable quarters in a brutally competitive industry.”
Roxanne K. Song Ong
Chief presiding judge
Phoenix Municipal Court
Heritage: Chinese American
Song Ong, who chair the Arizona Supreme Court Commission on Minorities, was the first Asian female judge in Arizona and first minority to be named as Phoenix chief judge.
Her hope for professional legacy: “It would be my great honor to be remembered for three primary things: (1) my work in judicial and civics education, (2) the promotion of cultural competency and diversity in the judicial and legal profession, and (3) promoting access to justice for all Arizonans through legal services and education.”
Chairman and CEO
Lovitt & Touché, Inc.
In 2004, Touché became chairman and CEO of one of the largest insurance agencies in the United States, with nearly 200 employees in three offices and more than $300 million in total premiums.
His hope for professional legacy: “I’m proud to say that during this entire century, we’ve remained a client-driven, hands-on kind of company with people who will roll up their sleeves and jump in the trenches to help those we do business with.”
President and CEO
Urias has built an award-winning advertising, marketing and public relations agency that specializes in the diverse markets of the American Southwest, particularly the Hispanic market.
Her hope for professional legacy: “Having a nationally-known agency that successfully connects corporations to multicultural markets through ad campaigns, public relations and community outreach for mutual benefit and respect.”
Lonnie J. Williams, Jr.
Stinson Leonard Street LLP
The Yale graduate’s practice focuses on commercial business and employment-related matters. He is a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, one of the premier legal associations in America.
His hope for professional legacy: “Martin Luther King said, ‘if it falls your lot to be a street sweeper, go on out and sweep streets like Michelangelo painted pictures.’ Professionally, I would like to be remembered like that street sweeper.”
Heritage: East Indian
Vermaland, founded by Verma, holds more than 24,000 acres of land in Arizona with a portfolio valued at $500 million. Nabha, the tiny Indian village Verma was born in, could fit many times into the acreage he now controls in the desert Southwest.
His hope for professional legacy: “I saw a dream and pursued it. Success without humility is a curse, but Success with your values intact is a blessing.”
The national law firm of Quarles & Brady LLP today announced that Leonardo Loo, a partner in the firm’s Phoenix office, received the Community Leader of the Year Award from the Phoenix chapter of the National Association of Asian American Professionals.
Loo received the award for his devotion to the community and outstanding service to the valley. The award was presented to him at the organization’s annual dinner event on January 11.
Loo is a member of the firm’s Corporate Services and China Law practice groups. He practices in the areas of mergers and acquisitions, commercial financing, international transactions, securities and general corporate law involving clients in a wide variety of industries. He is also a member of the boards of directors of several organizations, including the Arizona Asian American Bar Association, Chicanos Por La Causa, Inc. and Greater Phoenix Black Chamber of Commerce, and he also serves as general counsel for the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
Loo earned his law degree from the University Chicago and his bachelor’s degree from Stanford University.
In partnership with the U.S. Department of Commerce, a coalition of business, trade, and educational organizations will host The Global Connect: Arizona Trade Finance Seminar on Friday, February 21, 2014 at Thunderbird School of Global Management.
The seminar brings together trade finance experts from both the public and private sectors to discuss the resources available to U.S. exporters, especially local small and medium-sized companies, for their financing needs. This seminar is also offered in support of the advancement of U.S. Hispanic-owned businesses in global markets. Participants will have the opportunity to meet with experts one-on-one.
Keynote speakers include: U.S. Commerce Deputy Assistant Secretary for Services Ted Dean, who leads the Department’s efforts to enhance the competitiveness of the U.S. services industries; MBDA Acting National Director Alejandra Castillo, one of the highest ranking Hispanic officials in the Obama Administration; and Ernesto Poza, Thunderbird Clinical Professor of Global Entrepreneurship.
The seminar is co-sponsored and presented by Thunderbird School of Global Management, FCIB – The Finance, Credit & International Business Association, the Arizona District Export Council, the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and NACM of Arizona – Southwest Business Credit Services.
Washington Federal announced Debbie Hernandez has been promoted to Assistant Vice President, Branch Manager. Hernandez has been with Washington Federal for more than 12 years.
In her position, Hernandez is responsible for increasing loan production and client base by growing the business checking and savings accounts and consumer checking and savings accounts. She is also responsible for increasing Washington Federal’s presence in the West Valley. Prior to joining Washington Federal, Hernandez was an insurance agent in Ohio.
“Debbie is a huge asset to our team here at Washington Federal,” said Trevor Bush, senior vice president and manager of Arizona retail banking division. “We are excited to see her continue to expand the presence and reach of Washington Federal.”
Hernandez earned her bachelor’s degree with honors in business from the Trumbull Business College in Warren, Ohio. She is also involved with the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and is a volunteer for St. Mary’s Food Bank.
Hernandez is a Surprise resident.
CBRE arranged the sale of Elliot Corporate Center located at 875 W. Elliot Road in Tempe, Ariz. The 223,392 square-foot office building commanded a sale price of $23.5 million, or $105.20 per square-foot.
Jim Fijan and Will Mast with CBRE’s Phoenix office represented the seller, tenants-in-common owners through Costa Mesa, Calif.-based Thompson National Properties LLC . The purchase was a joint venture between Everest Holdings in Scottsdale, Ariz. and Walton Street Capital in Chicago, Ill.
“This transaction is another example of the continued demand for office investment properties in the southeast Valley,” said Fijan. “Savvy investors recognize the continued strengthening of the market and well-located, well-taken-care of assets, like Elliot Corporate Center, are going to be well received.”
Anchored by The Apollo Group, Inc.’s The University of Phoenix, which occupies 162,069 square feet, the two-story Elliot Corporate Center was 87% at the time of sale. The project also houses Lamson Business College in 32,400 square feet. The remaining vacant space totals 29,923 square feet and is available for lease.
Built in 1998, Elliot Corporate Center benefits from immediate access to I-10 at Elliot Road as well as access to a densely-populated, large and well educated workforce in south Tempe and the extended southeast Valley.
Cox Business announced today a partnership with Prensa Hispana newspaper, Azteca AméricaPhoenix and the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (AZHCC) to recognize successful Latina entrepreneurs whose talent and innovation in the businessworld are helping other small businesses grow throughout Arizona.
“According to the 2013 AZ Women-owned Business Enterprise Report we released earlier this year, Latinas make up the single largest minority group among women-owned businesses,” said Mónica Villalobos, Vice President for the AZHCC. “This is a tremendous accomplishment, and our partnership with Cox Business is a great way to show our support to these entrepreneurs that are making a tremendous impact in our community.”
This one-of-a-kind campaign includes a series of 30-second spots produced in English and Spanish, that highlight two outstanding Latina Entrepreneurs in Phoenix. These spots will run across the Cox channel line up throughout the month ofJune. Through the media partnerships, honorees’ stories will also appear on the pages of Prensa Hispana newspaper, Azteca América Phoenix’s newscasts and through communication vehicles of the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
“These women embody a true entrepreneur spirit of creativity, dedication and hard work, that positively impacts our community and state’s economy,” said Steve Rizley, Sr. Vice President and General Manager, Cox Communications. “We hope that all the efforts these Latina entrepreneurs are doing to contribute to Arizona’s business growth inspires others to do wonderful things for our state.”
The individuals featured in the Phoenix campaign are:
Linda Valenzuela, MIA Cosmetics
LindaValenzuela is a make up artist, master stylist, and owner of Mia Cosmetics, a growing force aimed at satisfying the real and fantasy beauty needs of individuals through quality products and services. A professional stylist for over 10 years, Linda’s work has appeared in fashion magazines, catalogues, and runways, including W Magazine, SkyMall and FIDM Prom Web LA. Linda is a popular guest teacher and lecturer at notable cosmetology and art schools, as well as volunteer instructor for the Fresh Start Women’s Foundation. Her talent is so hard to miss, that she was chosen to apply make up to President Barack Obama and Maria Elena Salinas – one of the most renowned Latina journalist in the U.S. – during their visit to Phoenix last year.
Beatriz Alatorre de Hong, Paletas Betty
Beatriz Alatorre de Hong is the president and owner of Paletas Betty, an ice cream and cream-pops shop in Chandler andTempe. Founded in 2011, Paletas Betty uses simple from scratch recipes that deliver the freshest experience possible. With classic Mexican flavors and newly invented flavors Paletas Betty is Betty’s way of sharing the happiness sheexperienced as a child eating paletas. This year, Betty is focusing on increasing their presence in existing markets by doing more community events and forming strategic partnerships.
The Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce is honoring BioAccel CEO and Co-Founder MaryAnn Guerra as the Woman of the Year on Saturday at its 55th Annual Black & White Ball and Business Awards.
Guerra is being recognized for BioAccel’s leadership role in economic development and its ongoing effort to start new companies and create jobs in Arizona. The gala, which honors three other community leaders and a business, is being held from 6 to 9 p.m. on Saturday at the Sheraton Phoenix Downtown Hotel, 330 N. Third Street.
“The centerpiece attraction of our gala is the Hispanic Chamber’s prestigious business awards, and we’re extremely proud this year to salute the achievements of MaryAnn Guerra, one of our the state’s innovative figures, by awarding her the 2013 Woman of the Year Award,” said AZHCC President & CEO Gonzalo A. de la Melena, Jr.
Guerra is known for creating novel programs to accelerate the transfer of technology from the lab into new business opportunities. She has spent much of her career operating successful and progressive health, science and technology businesses. Guerra is an expert at business development initiatives that create organizations poised to deliver commercial outcomes. Since the launch of BioAccel in April 2009, 10 companies have been successfully launched with products close to commercial availability. Additionally, BioAccel recently partnered with the City of Peoria to create the first medical device accelerator, embedding the BioAccel model into its operations to ensure positive economic impact.
“I’m honored and humbled by this award,” Guerra said. “BioAccel is a new kind of accelerator model in Arizona dedicated to creating knowledge-industry jobs and new companies that drive our state’s economy. It’s inspiring and invigorating work, and a privilege to work with a staff, board and industry leaders committed to realizing a big bio vision for Arizona.”
Prior to founding BioAccel, Guerra served as President of TGen Accelerators, LLC, and Chief Operating Officer at TGen. While at TGen, she facilitated the start-up of six companies and was involved in the sale of three of those yielding significant profits for the organization. As TGen’s former COO, she grew the organization from $30 million to $60 million in fewer than three years. Guerra also served as the executive vice president of Matthews Media Group where she was responsible for developing and implementing commercial strategic business plans that expanded and enhanced services and extended relationships with the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. She had an impressive career at the National Institutes of Health in various senior level positions including executive officer at the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute and deputy director of management & executive officer at the National Cancer Institute.
Guerra has received numerous awards for her work including Arizona Business Magazine’s 2013 Fifteen Women to Watch. Last year, BioAccel received the State Science and Technology Institutes’ Most Innovative New Initiative Award, a first time national recognition for BioAccel and the state of Arizona. Currently Guerra is a board member of Planned Parenthood of Arizona and the Mollen Foundation as well as a Commissioner of the Arizona Skill Standard Commission. In addition, she serves on the advisory board for ASU School of Biological and Health Systems Engineering. Guerra earned an undergraduate degree from The Ohio State University and an MBA from George Washington University in Science, Innovation and Commercialization.
The Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce’s 55th Annual Black & White Ball and Business Awards event is the state’s longest running formal gala and honors the achievements of business and community leaders statewide. More than 1,200 of Arizona’s most notable business and community leaders attend every year.
The Chamber will present awards during the gala in four other categories. This year’s winners are:
• Lattie F. Coor, Legacy Award
• Alfredo J. Molina, Man of the Year
• Israel G. Torres, Entrepreneur of the Year
• Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona, Corporation of the Year Award
The Center for the Future of Arizona’s founder and CEO is among the five award recipients to be honored at the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce’s 55th Annual Black & White Ball and Business Awards later this month.
“Dr. Lattie Coor is one of our state’s most iconic and beloved figures, and we’re honored to present him the 2013 Legacy Award,” said AZHCC President & CEO Gonzalo A. de la Melena, Jr. “The awards ceremony is the highlight of the evening, and this year’s slate of winners prove that people who succeed in business are also among the most generous individuals in our community.”
Awards also will be presented in four other categories:
MaryAnn Guerra, Woman of the Year;
Alfredo J. Molina, Man of the Year;
Israel Torres, Entrepreneur of the Year;
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona, Corporation of the Year Award.
The Black & White Ball is Arizona’s longest running formal gala. It honors the achievements of business and community leaders statewide. The gala also is the Hispanic Chamber’s largest annual fund-raiser. More than 1,200 of Arizona’s most notable business and community leaders are scheduled to attend.
Emceed this year by international celebrity Marco Antonio Regil, the gala takes place April 27, 2013, 6 to 9 p.m., at the Sheraton Phoenix Downtown Hotel, 340 N. Third St. An “after-party” is scheduled at the same location from 9 p.m. to Midnight. Cox Communications continues its support as presenting sponsor for the event, which features an elegant dinner, the business awards, and live music and dancing at an after-dinner cocktail party.
Past Legacy Award winners include Governor Raul H. Castro, Senator John McCain, Jerry Colangelo, former Govenor Janet Napolitano and the late Eddie Basha, Jr., who will be honored with a special memorial tribute at this year’s dinner.
“In addition to the honor of presenting our business awards, the gala’s Brazilian Carnival theme this year promises to make it a great night out on the town,” said De la Melena. “I invite everyone to come and celebrate the good work of our award winners, and afterward relax and dance the night away.”
For information about ticket sales or sponsorship opportunities, contact Christina Arellano at 602-294-6085 or ChristinaA@azhcc.com or visit www.azhcc.com.
Dr. Lattie F. Coor / Legacy Award
Dr. Lattie F. Coor is President-Emeritus, Professor and Ernest W. McFarland Chair in Leadership and Public Policy in the School of Public Affairs at Arizona State University, and is Chairman and CEO of the Center for the Future of Arizona.
For the previous 26 years, Dr. Lattie Coor served as a University President. He was President of Arizona State University from 1990 to 2002, and President of the University of Vermont from 1976 to 1989.
Earlier in his career, Dr. Coor served as an assistant to the Governor of Michigan and held faculty appointments in Political Science at Washington University. His administrative responsibilities there included those of Assistant Dean of the Graduate School, Director of International Studies, and University Vice Chancellor.
He has held positions with a variety of higher education associations, board and commissions, having served as a founding member and Chairman of Division I of the NCAA President’s Commission. He held the position of Chairman of the National Association of State Universities and Land Grant Colleges in 1992-93, and served on the Board of Directors of the American Council on Education from 1990 to 1993 and again from 1999 to 2002. He also served on the Kellogg Commission on the Future of State and Land Grant Universities from 1996 to 2002. He served as a Trustee of the American College of Greece, Athens, from 1988 to 1998, and has served as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Deer Creek Foundation, St Louis, since 1983. He has honorary degrees from Marlboro College, American College of Greece, the University of Vermont and Northern Arizona University.
In Arizona, Dr. Lattie Coor serves on the Board of Directors of Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Arizona, and has served on the Board of Directors of Bank One Arizona, Samaritan Health Services, Greater Phoenix Economic Council, and is a member of the Greater Phoenix Leadership Council. He was a member of the Arizona State Board of Education from 1995 to 1999. He served as Chairman of the Education Section of the Valley of the Sun United Way Campaign from 1990 to 1993, and of the Public Sector of the United Way Campaign from 1999 to 2002.
Dr. Lattie Coor received the Anti-Defamation League’s Jerry J. Wisotsky Torch of Liberty Award in 1994, the Whitney M. Young, Jr. Individual Award from the Greater Phoenix Urban League in 2000, The American Academy of Achievement Golden Plate Award in 2000, The American Jewish Committee Institute of Human Relations Award in 2001 and the Center City Starr award from Phoenix Community Alliance in 2001. He was named Valley Leadership’s Man of the Year in 2006.
An Arizona native, Dr. Coor was born in Phoenix and graduated with high honors from Northern Arizona University in 1958. He pursued graduate studies in Political Science at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, earning a master’s degree in 1960 and a Ph.D. in 1964.
Alfredo J. Molina / Man of the Year
International jeweler Alfredo J. Molina is Chairman of The Molina Group, based in Phoenix, Arizona. The Molina Group is the parent company of Molina Fine Jewelers in Phoenix and New York and Black, Starr & Frost, America’s first jeweler since 1810, in Newport Beach and New York. Alfredo Molina is one of the nation’s most prestigious jewelers. His ability to secure the world’s rarest gems – such as the historic Archduke Joseph Diamond, the world’s twelfth largest historic perfect white diamond – has earned him guest appearances on numerous television programs, including CBS’ Early Show and NBC’s Today Show.
Mr. Molina’s education and experience in the jewelry industry is extensive. He is a graduate gemologist from the Gemological Institute of America and a Fellow Member of the Gemmological Association of Great Britain with distinction. He is a certified gemologist and appraiser from the American Gem Society. He is considered one of the world’s experts in the determination of country of origin of gemstones. He is past President of the American Society of Appraisers, Arizona Jewelers Association, and the GIA Alumni Association. He served as Vice-Chairman of the Jewelers of America Council and Co-Chairman of the Master Gemologist Appraiser program. Mr. Molina is also a qualified appraiser for the Internal Revenue Service and an alumni of the FBI Citizens Academy. He appears as keynote speaker at seminars and workshops on appraising gems, and discussing the latest gemological trends and developments. He assists law enforcement agencies in recovering stolen gems and serves as an expert witness for U.S. Customs Service as gems authority. In 2002, he was appointed to serve as Honorary Counsul of Spain for Arizona.
Alfredo, his wife Lisa and their four children devote time and many resources to the Arizona and California communities. The Molinas feel that The Molina Group is fulfilling their duty to their community, friends and supporters.
Lisa and Alfredo have chaired numerous charity events including the Arizona Cancer Ball, The Samaritan Foundation, The Symphony Ball, The Arizona Heart Ball, Crohn’s and Colitis, Women of Distinction Gala and Childhelp. They have supported Candlelite, JDRF Dream Gala, Susan G. Komen, the Pacific Symphony, Dodge College of Film and Media Arts and were honorary Chairs of 2009 Orange Country High School for the Arts Gala and the 2011 Banner Health Foundation Candlelight Capers. Lisa and Alfredo have dedicated their lives to the service of others and their children are following in their footsteps. Through their generous sponsorship and support of local and national charities, they seek to improve the lives of those less fortunate. Gratitude, selflessness, love and a firm belief in the legacies of sharing comprises the Molina way of life.
Alfredo was honored in Washington, DC as one of seven caring Americans and was inducted into the Frederick Douglass Museum & Hall of Fame for Caring Americans on Capitol Hill. He was named 2008 Outstanding Business Leader by Northwood University at the Breakers in Palm Beach and he was recently inducted into the National Jewelers, Retailer Hall of Fame in the single store independent category.
MaryAnn Guerra / Woman of the Year
MaryAnn Guerra, MBA is Chairman of the Board, CEO, and co-founder of BioAccel. Ms. Guerra is known for creating novel programs to accelerate the transfer of technology from the lab into new business opportunities. Ms. Guerra spent much of her career operating successful and progressive health, science and technology businesses. She is an expert at business development initiatives that create organizations poised to deliver commercial outcomes. Since the launch of BioAccel in April 2009, 10 companies have been successfully launched with products close to commercial availability. Additionally, BioAccel recently partnered with the City of Peoria to create the first medical device accelerator, embedding the BioAccel model into its operations to ensure positive economic impact.
Prior to founding BioAccel, Ms. Guerra served as President of TGen Accelerators, LLC and Chief Operating Officer at (TGen). While at TGen she facilitated the start-up of six companies and was involved in the sale of three of those yielding significant profits for the organization. As TGen’s former COO she grew the organization from $30M to $60M in less than three years. Ms. Guerra also served as Executive Vice President, Matthews Media Group, where she was responsible for developing and implementing commercial strategic business plans that expanded and enhanced services and extended relationships with the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. She has had an impressive career at the National Institutes of Health having held various senior level positions, including: Executive Officer, NHLBI and Deputy Director of Management & Executive Officer at the NCI.
Ms. Guerra has received numerous awards for her work, including the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce 2013 Woman of the Year and Arizona Business Magazine’s 2013 “Fifteen” Women to Watch. Last year BioAccel received the State Science and Technology Institutes’ most Innovative New Initiative Award, a first time national recognition for BioAccel and for the State of Arizona. She has received the Phoenix Business Journal’s “Top 25 Women in Business” award, as well as their “Power People” award, the Girl Scouts “Women of the Future World” award. Ms. Guerra has served on numerous Boards throughout her career. Currently she is a Board member of Planned Parenthood of Arizona and the Mollen Foundation as well as a Commissioner of the Arizona Skill Standard Commission as well as many other board seats. Ms. Guerra holds an undergraduate degree from The Ohio State University and an MBA from George Washington University in Science, Innovation and Commercialization.
Israel G. Torres, Esq. / Entrepreneur of the Year
Israel G. Torres is Managing Partner of Torres Consulting and Law Group, LLC. The firm provides a variety of services, including regulatory compliance, law, and government relations, to clients in the construction trades throughout the United States. His firm has been recognized by the Phoenix Business Journal as one of the Best Places to Work in the Valley in 2011. Torres Consulting and Law Group was also named 2009 Service Firm of Year during the Minority Enterprise Development Week Awards, a program that is part of the U.S. Department of Commerce.
Prior to establishing his firm, Mr. Torres was elected as the Democratic nominee for Arizona Secretary of State in 2006. He was the first Latino candidate in Arizona history to garner more than 600,000 votes statewide.
From 2003 to 2006, Mr. Torres served as Director of the Arizona Registrar of Contractors and as a member of Governor Napolitano’s Cabinet. As the director, Mr. Torres served as the chief regulator of Arizona’s construction industry, regulating the activities of more than 52,000 active commercial and residential construction licenses amidst a time of unparalleled construction activity in Arizona. In that role, he also served as an advisor to the Governor and State Legislature on construction- and development-related issues. Mr. Torres was a national leader in the advancement of regulatory initiatives.
Mr. Torres is a member of the Arizona Bar and is licensed to practice law in Arizona. His educational background includes a Juris Doctorate from the University of New Mexico School of Law and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Arizona State University. He also holds a Construction Management Certificate from the Del E. Webb School of Construction in the Ira A. Fulton School of Engineering at ASU.
Mr. Torres and his wife, Monica, live in Tempe and are raising two children, Cristian and Alysa. He enjoys outdoor sports, including mountain biking, hiking, boating, camping, and skiing.
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona / Corporation of the Year
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona (BCBSAZ), an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, is the largest Arizona-based health insurance company. The not-for-profit company was founded in 1939 and provides health insurance products, services or networks to 1.3 million individuals. With offices in Phoenix, Flagstaff, Tucson and the East Valley, the company employs more than 1,300 Arizonans. Follow BCBSAZ at www.facebook.com/bcbsaz or on Twitter at @bcbsaz to get information on health and wellness, a knowledgeable perspective on health insurance reform, and become a part of what BCBSAZ is doing in your community.
AZ Business Magazine March/April 2013
Economy has a Latin flavor
There is no denying the strong Hispanic influence on the Valley. From the food we eat to the bilingual billboards on our highways, the impact is undeniable. But where the impact is growing in importance is on the economy of Arizona. Consider these facts from the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce’s 2012 DATOS report:
- Arizona has the fifth-largest percentage of Hispanic-owned businesses in the United States, with 10.7 percent of the state’s businesses led by Hispanic owners.
- By 2015, Arizona’s Hispanic purchasing power will grow to $50 billion, up from $40 billion in 2012.
- From the fall of 1998 to the fall of 2012, Hispanic students accounted for 87 percent of Arizona’s total student enrollment increases. In 2012, Hispanic student enrollment will surpass white, non-Hispanic students.
The impact is here and the impact is growing. Some of Arizona’s greatest companies — Bank of America (Benito Almanza), Ryley Carlock & Applewhite (Rodolfo Parga, Jr.), D.P. Electric (Dan Puente), Fortis Networks, Inc. (Clarence McCallister) — are run by Hispanic leaders.
In this issue of Az Business magazine, we take a look at some of the state’s amazing business leaders, who also happen to be of Hispanic descent.
These men and women bring a spirit and energy to Arizona business that defines the United States of America. Enjoy “The 20 Most Influential Hispanic Business Leaders in Arizona.” It showcases the evolving face of Arizona business.
Michael Gossie, Managing Editor
Take it with you! On your mobile, go to m.issuu.com to get started.
Bank of America
Born into a family of migrant workers, Almanza is now responsible for all lines of business efforts, community and civic activities in the state. The graduate of Stanford University and the University of Santa Clara has been with Bank of America for 30 years, working in California before moving to Arizona in 1992.
His hope for his professional legacy: “Hiring top talent and developing them to replace me someday.”
Surprising fact: “Growing up working with my family in the fields helped me better understand agribusiness banking.”
CEO, principal in charge
Sun Eagle Corporation
Alvarez is founder of family-owned and operated Sun Eagle, one of the top minority-owned general contracting and construction management firms in the country. He has been a chair and officer for the Associated Minority Contractors of America since 1993.
His hope for his professional legacy: “That our well-constructed buildings improved the landscape, and our assistance to individuals and families improved lives.”
Surprising fact: “I have been involved with Shotokan Karate continuously for the past 39 years.”
Victor M. Aranda
Area president, Northern Arizona
Wells Fargo Arizona
Aranda manages six Wells Fargo Community Banking markets; Northeast Arizona, Central Arizona, White Mountains, North Phoenix, North Scottsdale and Scottsdale. He is responsible for 816 team members, 69 banking stores, and $4.1 billion in deposits. A 25-year financial services veteran, Aranda presently serves as a board member for Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and Valley Leadership Arizona.
His hope for his professional legacy: “My passion in life is to add value to those I come in contact with. What I would like to be remembered for is how I spent my life serving, helping and developing the leaders of tomorrow.”
Surprising fact: “I was involved and directed a church Spanish choir and I have also sang in Las Vegas at the Bellagio Hotel.”
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona
Astorga recently retired from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona where he served as the Senior Vice President, CFO & CBDO since 1988. He currently serves as chairman of the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Foundation and is a member of the board of directors for the Arizona Community Foundation, AZHCC, ASU Foundation, CSA General Insurance Agency, Phoenix Art Museum, and US Bank Arizona.
His hope for his professional legacy: “I would like to be remembered in my profession as a CPA and CFO for being a good mentor and for helping develop my staff in their work ethic and level of growth.”
Surprising fact: “I have a sweet tooth for twinkies or that my favorite movie is ‘Planes, Trains and Automobiles’, I still laugh when I think about the movie”.
Senior community development consultant
Arizona Public Service Company
Bravo is responsible for directing community development initiatives statewide to help serve diverse markets for APS. He also collaborates with economic development organizations to attract industry to Arizona. Bravo also serves the boards of Friendly House, Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Latino Center at Morrison Institute, Boys Hope Girls Hope and Jobs for Arizona’s Graduates.
His hope for his professional legacy: “For conducting business with integrity, purpose, passion; and for having a conviction for public service.”
Surprising fact: “I became a US Citizen in 2007. Having grown up in Arizona, this was one of my proudest moments.”
Senior vice president and general counsel
Arizona State University
Before joining ASU in 2009, Cárdenas was chairman at Lewis & Roca, where he became the first Hispanic to serve as managing partner of a major law firm in Arizona. A Stanford Law School graduate, Cárdenas has served on many boards and commissions and has received various awards.
His hope for his professional legacy: “As a good lawyer who served his clients and community well with the utmost integrity.”
Surprising fact: Cárdenas was involved with death penalty cases for more than 30 years.
America’s Taco Shop
Corrales-Bortin grew up Culiacán in Sinaloa, Mexico, watching her mother prepare the dishes that would become the recipes for success at America’s Taco Shop. Founded in 2008, America’s authentic carne asada and al pastor quickly built a following that has led to rapid expansion and a partnership Kahala, a franchise development company. So far in 2013, America’s has already moved into California, Texas and Maryland.
Her hope for her professional legacy: “As someone who has a passion for the food we serve at America’s Taco Shop.”
Surprising fact: “People would be surprised that I am named after a famous soccer team in Mexico.”
Gonzalo de la Melena Jr.
President and CEO
Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
In addition to leading the Hispanic Chamber, de la Melena Jr. operates the Phoenix Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA), the state’s leading advocate representing more than 100,000 minority business enterprises. De la Melena is also the Founder of edmVentures, LLC a small business investment company with holdings in Phoenix airport concessions at Sky Harbor International.
His hope for his professional legacy: “Helping small businesses succeed.”
Surprising fact: “I had the opportunity to do business in more than 30 countries before the age of 30.”
Espiritu’s diversified professional experience includes working for small business enterprises as well as corporate 100 businesses in the areas of sales, marketing and financial management. He has also been actively involved with various nonprofit organizations; most recently as the former chairman of the board for the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
His hope for his professional legacy: “Innovative and focused leader who delivers with energy and is known for building successful relationships and high performing teams.”
Surprising fact: “As a first generation American, I am passionate about helping aspiring and under-privileged youth achieve their dreams and advocating for Hispanic career advancement, education and scholarships.”
Dr. Maria Harper-Marinick
Executive vice chancellor and provost
Maricopa Community Colleges
Harper-Marinick oversees all areas of academic and student affairs, workforce development, and strategic planning. She serves on several national and local boards including ABEC and AMEPAC, which she chairs. Originally from the Dominican Republic, Harper-Marinick came to ASU as a Fulbright Scholar.
Her hope for her professional legacy: “Passion for, and unwavering commitment to, public education as the foundation of a democratic society.”
Surprising fact: “The joy I get from driving fast cars.”
National Spanish Sales and Retention Director
Herrera and his team work across markets and cross-functional departments to drive Spanish language sales and grow Cox’s Hispanic markets nationally. He also helped establish LIDER, a leadership program tailored for Hispanic team members looking for advancement opportunities in Phoenix and Southern Arizona.
His hope for his professional legacy: “Growing and improving the Hispanic customer experience and making a difference our communities.”
Surprising fact: “Spanish was my first language and I started my career in sales leadership at 18 ears old.”
Higuera defends, provides counsel and trains employers of all sizes. She’s a Southwest Super Lawyer, an employment law expert for the Arizona Republic/Arizona Business Gazette and is a recent recipient of the High-Level Business Spanish Diploma from the Madrid Chamber of Commerce.
Her hope for her professional legacy: “A skilled lawyer who elevated the practice by integrating the diverse perspectives of our community.”
Surprising fact: “I was fired from my first job as a Santa’s helper for being too social!”
Ana María López, MD, MPH, FACP
Associate dean, outreach and multicultural affairs
Professor of medicine (Tenured) and pathology, College of Medicine
Medical director, Arizona Telemedicine Program
University of Arizona
López has a passion for addressing health inequities and human suffering. From clinical research with molecular targets to health services research, her work focuses on optimizing the health of individuals and communities.
Her hope for her professional legacy: “Life is an opportunity to contribute. I hope to contribute, to make a difference.”
Surprising fact: “I love simple pleasures. Witnessing the daily miracle of the sun rising sustains me.”
President and CEO
Helios Education Foundation
Luna leads Helios Education Foundation, a philanthropic organization dedicated to creating opportunities for individuals in Arizona and Florida to succeed in postsecondary education. He is the former president of Valley of the Sun United Way and has held positions with Pepsi, IBM and the Office of Governor Bruce Babbitt.
His hope for his professional legacy: “That I cared about our community and helped make it better.”
Surprising fact: “I’m seriously considering getting matching tattoos with my kids in the near future.”
President and CEO
Macias is a co-owner of Pivot Manufacturing, a Phoenix machine shop, chairs the Arizona Manufacturers Council, and is on the boards of the Arizona Commerce Authority and the Arizona Hispanic Chamber. He is an active proponent of manufacturing in Arizona and a proud father of three boys.
His hope for his professional legacy: “Contributed in some small way to the sustainment of manufacturing in Arizona.”
Surprising fact: “In high school, I was the school mascot – a Bronco.”
Mario Martinez II
Martinez is responsible for the overall vision, strategy and execution of 360 Vantage, a leader in cloud-based sales and marketing technology solutions designed to solve the unique challenges of the mobile workforce in life sciences, healthcare and other industries.
His hope for his professional legacy: “I would most like to be remembered for truly changing the lives of our clients, employees and our community in great and meaningful ways.”
Surprising fact: “I hosted a radio show during my college years.”
Fortis Networks, Inc.
McAllister was born in Panama and earned his master’s in electrical engineering from ASU. In 2000, he and his wife started Fortis Networks, Inc., a certified 8a and HUBzone government contractor specializing in engineering, construction and technology services.
His hope for his professional legacy: “Building a world-class organization that always exceeds our customers’ expectations.”
Surprising fact: “I did an emergency landing on a City of Mesa street.”
Rodolfo Parga, Jr.
Ryley Carlock & Applewhite
In addition to managing a law firm with 120 attorneys, Parga has been to Best Lawyers in America for the last four years. He also serves as Chairman of the Board of Chicanos Por la Causa, a leading non-profit helping advance and create economic and educational opportunities.
His hope for his professional legacy: “I want to be remembered as always trying to do the right thing and having led with integrity.”
Surprising fact: “I was bullied until age 11, which drove me not only to strengthen my body, but my resolve.”
Senior planning analyst
Peñuñuri is an Arizona native and has spent most of the past 15 years in the Customer Services Division at SRP. He has served on several boards including the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and LISC. He was raised in the West Valley, and currently resides in Gilbert.
His hope for his professional legacy: “A trusted and valuable team member/leader; a communicator who understands the importance of sharing knowledge to help others.”
Surprising fact: “I’m a jack of all trades – woodworker, photographer, musician, outdoorsman and a decent cook when I put my mind to it.”
Puente founded D.P. Electric in 1990 out of his garage with one truck. D.P. Electric now has more than 200 employees and generated more than $30 million in revenue in 2012, making it the biggest Hispanic-owned company in Arizona.
His hope for his professional legacy: “A guy that is fair, honest, hard-working and gives back both personally and professionally.”
Surprising fact: “Professionally, that I do not have a college degree and personally, that I am a Bikram Yoga junkie.”
MRM Construction Services
Torres is an Arizona native and built her business in the community that she grew up in. With more than 30 years experience in the construction field, she started MRM in 2002 and currently has more than 50 employees. The focus of her company has been in government contracting and has self performed airfield work at Luke AFB, MCAS Yuma and Davis Monthan.
Her hope for her professional legacy: “As being technically competent.”
Surprising fact: “I don’t like to drive and I am happy as a passenger – even in my own car.”
President and CEO
After 15 years in international marketing and communications, Urias founded Urias Communications to address the need for advertising and PR with a uniquely multicultural focus. Now an award-winning advertising, and PR agency, Urias Communications specializes in the multicultural markets of the U.S. Southwest, with concentration on the burgeoning Hispanic market.
Her hope for her professional legacy: “Bridging the divide between corporations and the growing Hispanic community for mutual benefit and respect.”
Surprising fact: “I am a fourth-generation Arizonan whose grandfather was the first Hispanic city councilman.”
Dawn C. Valdivia
Partner, chair of the Labor & Employment Practice Group
Quarles & Brady
Valdivia is the chair of Quarles & Brady’s Labor and Employment Group in Phoenix. She regularly advises clients in all matters of labor and employment law and is skilled in complex litigation matters, including wage and hour class action litigation in Arizona and California.
Her hope for her professional legacy: “A creative problem solver, committed to her clients and to giving back to the community.”
Surprising fact: “I love adventure — sky diving, gliding, scuba diving, helicopters, etc.”
Valencia is the founder and CEO of Reliance Wire Systems, a wire and tubing manufacturing company she founded in 2000. She is also the founder and president of Magin Corporation — an eco-friendly wood pallet alternative company — and the FRDM Foundation.
Her hope for her professional legacy: “Empowering children by building schools and libraries in impoverished countries through my FRDM Foundation.”
Surprising fact: “I put hot peppers on almost everything I eat. The hotter. the better.”
Vice president and GM
Yañez is a 27-year broadcast television veteran, who has served 17 of those years with the Univision Television Group (UTG). Yañez has created various opportunities that helped build the station’s relationship with the community: Cadena de Gente Buena, El 34 Esta Aqui and Ya Es Hora.
His hope for his professional legacy: “Someone who used his craft to build bridges between the problem and the solution.”
Surprising fact: “Though Monday through Friday you will never see me without a suit and tie, I am most comfortable in boots, jeans and driving a pick-up truck.”
Fifteen corporations and nonprofits that do tens of millions in contracts with minority-owned companies in Arizona, and the release of a detailed new, post-recession survey of minority-owned business will be among the highlights of the 2012 Minority Business Enterprise Summit in downtown Phoenix Friday.
The 2012 Minority Business Enterprise Summit was organized by the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and Phoenix MBDA Business Center . The event takes place Nov. 16, 2012, 10 a.m.-1 p.m., at Renaissance Hotel Downtown, 50 East Adams Street in Phoenix.
“The summit speaks to the growing influence of minority-owned businesses in Arizona and the historic demographic shift that’s helping reshape the economy of our state and our nation,” said Gonzalo de la Melena, president and CEO of the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, which operates the federally-funded Phoenix MBDA Business Center.
MBE summit highlights include:
* The release of the 2012 Minority Business Enterprise Report (the first-of-its-kind since 2007) regarding the state of minority-owned businesses in Arizona.
* Inaugural inductions into the Arizona Million Dollar Circle of Excellence: Leading the Way in Supplier Diversity recognizing corporations and non-profits that do at least $1 million in business with minority- and women-owned companies in Arizona.
* The annual presentation of the Minority Enterprise Development Awards.
The 2012 MBE Report will be released during a Friday morning presentation starting at 10 a.m. The report was conducted by Westgroup Research and designed to serve as a resource for businesses, organizations, educators, government agencies and individuals who want to help Arizona MBEs succeed.
The report’s findings include:
* About 78% of the MBEs in Arizona have less than 10 employees.
* Nearly one-quarter of MBEs did not feel they were treated with respect when applying for a loan.
* Among survey participants, the median gross revenue in 2011 was $215,000 with a median staff size of four employees.
* Minority business owners are optimistic about the future — 63% feel their financial situation will improve in the next 12 months.
During the Summit’s Friday luncheon, 15 companies and governmental organizations will be inducted in the Arizona Million Dollar Circle of Excellence. AZHCC President De la Melena said the this initiative breaks new ground by recognizing major corporations and governmental entities that directly spend at least $1 million purchasing goods or services from minority-owned and women-owned businesses in Arizona. Several of the companies individually spend tens of millions annually contracting with minority- and women-owned firms. The project also is intended to promote and share best practices regarding supply-chain diversity, said de la Melena.
The AZ Million Dollar Circle of Excellence is co-chaired by Donald E. Brandt, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer of Arizona Public Service, and Lorena Valencia, President/CEO, Reliance Wire & Cable and a member of the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce board of directors. Arizona Public Service is a major purchaser of good and services from minority- and women-owned companies and the presenting sponsor for the summit and the 2012 MBE Report.
“Our state is rapidly becoming a national leader for diverse business supplier programs,” said APS’s Brandt, whose company has spent about $1.5 billion with women- and minority-owned businesses since 1992. “All of Arizona benefits from the jobs that are created and the resulting competition that leads to better goods and services. For our state to achieve its full economic potential, Arizona businesses must continue to seek out qualified diverse suppliers, hire them and put them in a position to succeed.”
De la Melena added, “The induction of the inaugural members of Arizona Million Dollar Circle of Excellence is our way of recognizing companies that are doing the right thing by ensuring they have diverse supply chain.”
The MBE Summit luncheon will also honor the winners of the annual Minority Enterprise Development Week Awards which recognize the achievements of minority-owned companies in the Southwest.
MINORITY CONSTRUCTION FIRM OF THE YEAR, Fortis Networks, Inc., Reyna & Clarence McAllister
MINORITY TECHNOLOGY FIRM OF THE YEAR, 360 Vantage, Mario Martinez
MINORITY FIRM OF THE YEAR, Technology Integration Group, Ying McGuire
ACCESS TO CAPITAL AWARD, Prestamos CDFI LLC
The Arizona Million Dollar Roundtable (AZ MDRT) is seeking nominations for the induction of its inaugural slate of companies in the state that spend at least $1 million annually contracting with minority and woman-owned suppliers.
Companies that qualify for recognition by the Roundtable will be honored at a special luncheon ceremony on Nov. 16, 2012 at the Renaissance Hotel, 50 East Adams Street, in Downtown Phoenix, AZ. The Roundtable induction ceremony is part the first Minority Business Enterprise Summit, 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on November 16.
“The creation of the Arizona Million Dollar Roundtable was inspired by the state’s increasingly diverse consumer base and the fast-growing diversity at every level of its business community,” said Gonzalo de la Melena, president of the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. “The induction of the inaugural members of the Million Dollar Roundtable is a historic step that reflects where our state’s economy the growing influence of minority- and women-owned businesses.”
The ceremony is organized by the Phoenix MBDA Business Center (phoenixmbdacenter.com) – funded by the U.S. Department of Commerce – and the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (azhcc.com). Ernst & Young will audit and rank the amount of annual business each nominee to the Million Dollar Roundtable. The deadline to apply is October 26, 2012.
The Roundtable is co-chaired by Donald E. Brandt, chairman & CEO of Arizona Public Service, and Don McKneely,President & CEO, TexCorp, Founder of the Billion Dollar Roundtable. Arizona Public Service is the summit’s presenting sponsor.
Like the international-recognized Billion Dollar Roundtable, the Arizona Million Dollar Roundtable is designed to promote and shares best practices in supply-chain diversity through the production of regular reports. Members of the AZ MDRT will review common issues, opportunities and strategies. The roundtable also is meant to encourage corporate entities to continue growing their supplier diversity programs by increasing commitment and spending levels each year.
The Minority Business Enterprise Summit spotlights the growing contributions of minority-owned businesses in Arizona. Major components include the release of a 2012 MBE Study detailing the state of minority-owned businesses in Arizona; the inaugural inductions into the Arizona Million Dollar Roundtable; and the presentation of the annual Phoenix Minority Business Enterprise Awards.
To qualify, candidates:
1. Must be a viable company or Government Entity, or Educational Institution which sources at least $1 Million on a first tier basis to minority and women enterprises.
2. Must have an interest in developing a supplier diversity program.
3. Dollars sourced to minority and women suppliers must be auditable and verifiable.
4. Must be a member of NMSDC, WBENC, DBE, 8A or other comparable certifying entity. [Subject to nominating council approval.]
With college tuition constantly on the rise, the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Foundation is doing its part to help deserving Hispanic students throughout the Valley pay for their educations.
The foundation is a nonprofit organization whose main goal is to provide scholarships to Hispanic students attending Arizona post-secondary schools. The foundation also supports philanthropic efforts within the Latino community.
“As chairman of the board for the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (AZHCC), one of the accomplishments that I am most proud of is the establishment of a scholarship program,” says Robert Espiritu, who works in acquisition marketing for American Express’ International Business Unit.
Espiritu developed the scholarship initiative in 2008, during the 50th anniversary of the chamber’s Black and White Business Awards Ball — the longest-running black-tie event in Phoenix.
In order to commemorate the anniversary, Espiritu developed the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Foundation Scholarship Program, which now has grown into a permanent component of the awards.
Espiritu also decided on an unconventional way to raise money for the scholarships.
“The idea I had was to ask the audience for pledges for scholarships,” Espiritu says.
The donations began with companies who had pre-committed to donating money and continued from there. “It was kind of spontaneous; I just wanted to ask people if they wanted to join the donation …” Espiritu says.Soon, “call-outs” were made from attendees pledging various amounts to the scholarship fund. Those who pledged then came on stage and stated their pledge amounts.
The 2008 event turned out to be a huge success. Donors big and small, from individuals to corporations, banded together to raise nearly $110,000.
“The generosity on the part of our corporate citizens and individuals has been amazing and gives me great faith that even with this down economy we still have the support from our community,” Espiritu says.
Despite the difficult economic climate, an additional $35,000 was raised in 2009. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona, Qwest Communications, Humana, Wells Fargo, APS and SRP were some of the larger corporations to contribute at this year’s ball.
“To date, the AZHCC Foundation has raised approximately $140,000 in scholarships for deserving and aspiring Latino students,” Espiritu says. “I want to personally thank all of our donors for their contributions. Without them, all of this would not be possible.”
On May 19 of this year, 60 Latino students were presented with the scholarships at a private dinner at the Wrigley Mansion. Scholarship recipients ranged from first-generation college students to graduate students.
“To be awarded such esteemed honors means that my hard work paid off. But I still have so much more to do to prove that I am worthy of such recognitions,” says Annalili Chacon, a recipient of the scholarship and a Barack Obama Scholar at Arizona State University.
Cosme Madrid, a student at ASU, also received a scholarship.
“I wanted to apply for this scholarship simply because it applied to who I was. … I learned that the chamber of commerce supports Hispanics to get a higher education and so I went for it,” he says.
Madrid adds that being selected a winner “is a great feeling because it shows the hard work that I have done throughout my high school career to get to where I am and to receive this scholarship.”
Both recipients are grateful for the financial relief the scholarships provide and are better prepared for the road ahead.
“It is so important for us to reach out and help future generations of students, and for the Hispanic chamber especially to be able to assist our Latino students,” Espiritu says. “These students will become our future leaders and the goal of AZHCC’s scholarship program is to help facilitate the development of our future leaders through education.”
On Nov. 18, the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, in conjunction with the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University, will release DATOS 2009, an annual expert analysis of the role and impact of Latino businesses and consumers on the state’s economy.
For nearly 15 years, DATOS has provided insight into issues ranging from the purchasing power of the Hispanic market to its prevalence in various segments of private industry. This year’s edition again provides detailed information on the Hispanic population’s growing impact on the economy. The report takes months to complete, with research overseen by Louis Olivas, professor emeritus at W.P. Carey.
The following is a summary of the key findings presented in DATOS 2009. The project is funded by SRP.
There are more than 2 million Hispanic-owned businesses in the United States with a combined revenue approaching $465 billion. Arizona is home to more than 35,000 Hispanic-owned businesses.
Nearly two out of every five Hispanic-owned businesses in Arizona is a sole proprietorship and 67 percent are family-owned. More than one-third of Arizona’s Hispanic-owned businesses have annual revenues above $500,000, and the median household income among Arizona’s Hispanic business owners is $76,400.
The purchasing power of the Hispanic market commands attention. In 2008, Hispanics accounted for 8.9 percent of all U.S. buying power, up dramatically from 5 percent in 1990. In total, U.S. Hispanics control $951 billion in spending power, and by 2013 this figure is projected to reach $1.386 trillion. In Arizona, Hispanics account for 16 percent of the total state’s buying power, leading Arizona to rank fourth among all states for its concentrated Latino consumer market.
When it comes to marketing, Hispanic consumers have diverse attitudes. Often, an individual’s language preference is a key determinant in their perceptions of advertisements and products. Understanding more about Hispanics’ household composition, financial resources, homeownership rates, methods of telecommunication and product preferences are all essential to developing loyal consumers. For example, did you know that Latinos nationwide were responsible for buying 297 million movie tickets in the past year, compared to 150 million tickets for African Americans and 155 million for all other ethnicities combined?
The Hispanic population is embracing new media and other technology at a promising rate. Fifty-two percent of the Hispanic population is now online, representing 23 million users nationwide. Internet use is far greater among English-dominant and bilingual Latinos than Spanish-dominant Latinos, suggesting tremendous room for growth. Eight percent of second-generation Latinos and 89 percent of college-educated Latinos go online. In addition to downloading music, uploading photos, and researching products, online news is also popular among Latino Internet users. While online, at least 80 percent said they read the news at least once per month.
Cellular use is also notably high among Latinos. Hispanics are more likely than white non-Hispanics to buy the latest phones, upgrade them faster and use special features. Hispanic adults ages 18-34 use an average of 1,200 cell phone minutes per month, compared to 950 minutes for the general population. They are also more likely to use features such as text messaging and music downloading.
In addition to cell phone use, online social networking is another sign of high social connectedness among Latinos. Forty percent of Hispanics maintain profiles on sites such as MySpace, Facebook or MiGente, a trend that is likely to explode as more Latinos hit their teens and young adulthood.
Arizona contains some major Hispanic media markets. According to Nielsen Media Research, Phoenix ranks eighth for Hispanic TV household markets. Print media is also alive and well in the Hispanic community. The vast majority of Hispanic adults (82 percent) read Hispanic newspapers, and the same proportion pass them on to at least one other person. Among Hispanics aged 25-34, 25 percent have called or visited a store in response to an advertisement.
U.S. Latino Population
As a proportion of total U.S. population growth, Hispanics accounted for 51.6 percent of that growth. This is predominantly the result of births to the existing population rather than immigration; six out of 10 Hispanics were born in the United States. Larger average household size (3.6 for Arizona Hispanics versus 2.7 for all Arizona residents) is another contributing factor.
Over the next four decades, the number of minority workers in the U.S. labor force will grow from 32 percent to 55 percent, with the greatest increase coming from Hispanics. The country as a whole will benefit from the productivity, purchasing power, taxes, and Social Security contributions of Hispanic workers.
Arizona ranks fourth among all states for the largest percentage of Hispanic residents. In 2007, 1.9 million Latinos accounted for 30 percent of Arizona’s total population.
Maricopa County in particular has experienced tremendous growth in the Hispanic population. Between 2000 and 2007, it ranked second (after Los Angeles County) for the largest increase in Hispanic population. Mirroring the nation, the majority of these Arizona Hispanics are U.S.-born (63 percent).
The median age of Hispanics in Arizona is 25, compared to 42 for the white non-Hispanic population, and the median household income is $40,476, compared to $55,554 for the white non-Hispanic population. Given the youthfulness of the Hispanic population, Arizona Latinos are certain to increase in number and purchasing power over the next few decades.
Birth and Fertility
In 2007, Hispanic births accounted for 25 percent of all births in the United States. Teen pregnancy is still a major issue facing the Latino community, but between 1991 and 2004, the birth rate for Hispanic teens fell 21 percent. Clearly, the relative youth of Hispanics will continue to impact future fertility patterns in the United States and Arizona. The Hispanic fertility rate in Arizona exceeds the U.S. Hispanic fertility rate. From 1987 to 2007, the number of Hispanic births in Arizona has increased 211 percent.
The Hispanic population in the United States has increased by 11 million since 2000, and Arizona ranks fourth among states for the largest percentage of Hispanics (30 percent). In the 2008 presidential election, Hispanics voted in record numbers, demonstrating growing civic engagement and a vested interest the country’s future. Specifically, 50 percent of Hispanics turned out to vote, an increase of 2.7 percent from the 2004 presidential election. And Hispanics are voting with their pocketbooks and mouse-clicks as well. Sixty percent of 18- to 34-year-old Latinos and 76 percent of U.S.-born Latinos access the Internet. During a recent 12-month period, the average amount spent online by a Latino in Phoenix was $831.
Hispanics Trend Young
One of the defining characteristics of the Hispanic population is its youthfulness. The median age of Hispanics in the United States was only 27.7 in 2008, compared to 36.8 for the total population. Nearly two-thirds of Hispanics are under the age of 35.
Furthermore, 25 percent of the nation’s children under age 5 are Hispanic. For all children under 18, 44 percent are non-white.
The median age of Hispanics in Arizona is 25, compared to 42 for the white non-Hispanic population. U.S.-born Hispanics’ median age is only 16, which means that half of these native-born Hispanics are not old enough to drive, vote or consume alcohol. However, they will be soon. And they are at a formative stage in their lives when core values and social and consumer habits are being influenced and developed.
Lifetime fertility for Hispanic women has been 45-47 percent higher than for white non-Hispanic women. From 1987 to 2007, the number of Hispanic births in Arizona has increased 211 percent.
Latino Student Population
In the fall of 2008, 416,705 Latino students were enrolled in Arizona’s K-12 system. Hispanics accounted for 86 percent of total growth in school enrollment from 1998 to 2008. According to the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education, by 2017-2018, Hispanic high school graduates in Arizona will exceed the number of white non-Hispanic high school graduates. This phenomenon has already occurred in New Mexico and California, and Arizona is clearly moving toward this milestone.
By the Numbers
- U.S. Hispanics control $951 billion in spending power and by 2013 this figure is projected to reach $1.386 trillion.
- Young Hispanics will grow to be Arizona’s future workers, business owners, consumers, voters and civic leaders.
- Along the way, they will have significant impacts on Arizona’s public education system, arts and culture scene, and economy.
- Hispanics are wired and tech savvy. They already utilize the Internet for shopping, social networking, and news. Their use of new technologies will continue to increase.
- Source: DATOS 2009
Trends that matter
By Don Harris
For 60 years, the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce has been at the forefront of promoting the growth and welfare of Hispanic-owned businesses throughout the state.
The vast majority are small operations with one to five employees, but that doesn’t begin to tell the impact the Hispanic community has on Arizona’s economy. Chamber President and CEO Harry Garewal estimates the buying power of the Hispanic community in Arizona is $27 billion. That’s “b,” as in big bucks.
Overall there are about 35,000 Hispanic-owned businesses in the state, Garewal says. The chamber has a membership of 650 of the larger firms, many of which are not owned by Hispanics. Included are 52 corporate members, such as Wells Fargo and the Salt River Project.
Considering the Hispanic community’s economic muscle, it’s no wonder why non-Hispanic corporations support the chamber. “They want to get into the Hispanic market,” Garewal says.
That fits nicely with the chamber’s mission to “promote the success of Hispanic businesses by facilitating business relationships, development and knowledge.”
Hispanic-owned businesses make up a diverse segment of the economy — professional consultants, lawyers, Realtors, mortgage companies, banks, retail, restaurants, landscaping and cleaning services. Founded in 1948, the chamber has established a reputation as a leader in setting the pace for business growth in today’s highly diversified market.
Historian Frank Barrios, who is writing a book on the chamber’s 60 years, says, “The value of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce to the Hispanic community and to the Arizona economy is in enabling Hispanic businesses to promote their unique business perspectives, often represented by language and/or culture. It may also allow other non-Hispanics to reach out to the Hispanic community for social and/or political reasons, providing a window into the Hispanic community.”
In the last decade, the number of Hispanic-owned businesses in Arizona has increased significantly. At the same time, roughly one out of four residents is of Hispanic origin or descent.
After Garewal came on board five years ago, the chamber asked its members what they needed.
“As a result,” he says, “the chamber provides diverse technical assistance, including programs in business planning, seminars, marketing consultations, leadership development, networking opportunities, how to become certified to qualify for government contracts, what kinds of licenses are needed, the differences between an LLC, a ‘C’ corporation and an ‘S’ corporation. It’s all about what small business owners don’t know because they have been busy working their business.”
Providing access to capital is another prime function of the chamber. “We help identify financial institutions that will help give them access to capital,” Garewal says. “Maybe it’s just a matter of tweaking their business plan, their financials, so they can become bankable, which enables them to grow their business and create more jobs.”
Another service focuses on procurement. “We identify specific kinds of contracting opportunities,” Garewal says. He provides examples of successes through the efforts of the chamber and the businesses themselves.
A $1 billion Phoenix bond program provided Hispanic businesses with several opportunities for infrastructure services and products.
In Pinal County, a Casa Grande manufacturer wanted to set up a $45 million gypsum plant in Eloy. The chamber arranged workshops in Phoenix, Tucson and Eloy for subcontractors. Garewal says 61 businesses attended the sessions, and $32 million in contracts went to firms the chamber identified.
Garewal also served on a committee for emerging small businesses for the Super Bowl staged in Glendale last February. It was an 18-month project to provide input and access to NFL decision-makers and educate chamber members regarding the opportunities available to them.
More recently, Garewal and Joseph Ortiz, senior vice president of public relations and community affairs for the chamber, were invited to meet with NBA officials to discuss opportunities for vendors in connection with the 2009 All-Star Game, which will be held in Phoenix.
“They want to give everyone a fair chance at the opportunities, and we’ll share that information with our members,” Garewal says.
While the chamber closely monitors and tracks bills at the Arizona Legislature, it does not get involved in lobbying — yet.
“We have a good understanding of how the process works,” Garewal says. “For example, 40 of our members met this spring with the Hispanic caucus. It was the largest such meeting with Latino legislators, and members of the caucus were impressed that we had that many members who are interested in what was going on at the Legislature.”
Issues of interest include access to capital, procurement of contracts and affordable health care, but the main focus is on immigration.
“In the next year or two, we will be in a position to affect how public policy is established in the Arizona Legislature,” Garewal says.
At the national level, chamber officials meet with members of the Arizona congressional delegation. “We have been very engaged in immigration discussions, including border security,” Garewal says. “The federal government needs to take its responsibility seriously.They need to come up with a comprehensive immigration reform act that would address the 12.5 million folks who are here working. The government needs to provide a transition period — a mechanism to have those folks who are here today transition into becoming citizens of the United States. If the federal government tried to send 12.5 million people back to their countries of origin, that would bankrupt the United States. We wouldn’t have the work force necessary for the U.S. economy.”
With the assistance of the chamber, the future of Hispanic-owned businesses in Arizona appears bright.
“One thing that stands out,” Garewal says, “is that the chamber has always been, in its 60-year history, representative of the contributions that Hispanics have made in the state of Arizona.”
By Don Harris
Thanks in no small part to the efforts of the Arizona Minority Business Enterprise Center, three Arizona firms are among the many that have benefited from a federally funded program.
Operated by the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the center is opening doors to market opportunities and much-needed capital. A nonprofit organization, the center is funded by the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) of the U.S. Department of Commerce. The MBDA is the only federal agency created specifically to foster the establishment and growth of minority-owned businesses in America.
Now in its second three-year grant under the operation of the Hispanic Chamber, the center focuses on minority businesses with $500,000 or more in annual revenues that generate significant employment and long-term economic growth.
“The center assists minority business enterprises in the areas of financing, planning, management, marketing and obtaining government procurement opportunities,” says Harry Garewal, president and CEO of the chamber.
The center also honors companies and entities that have made payments exceeding $1 million to minority businesses through contracts awarded. Most recent honorees were Sundt Corporation, Hunt Construction Group, Salt River Project, Turner Construction Company and the city of Phoenix Aviation Department.
The emphasis is on minority, not specifically Hispanic, businesses. To be eligible, businesses must meet certain minority standards and be members of certain groups that include, but are not limited to, African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Native Americans, Aleuts, Asian Pacific Americans, Asian Indians, Eskimos and Hasidic Jews.
Ray Gonzales, president and CEO of RBG Construction; Enamul Hoque, president and owner of Hoque & Associates; and Stuart Smith, owner of Specialized Maintenance Services, tell how they and their businesses were aided by the Arizona Minority Business Enterprise Center.
Gonzales’ RBG Construction business, based in Glendale and founded in 1996, currently has about 100 employees. However, depending on conditions, payroll ranges from 20 to 125 employees. The firm has two divisions: general contracting and its original unit — concrete. Portions of projects landed through the center’s guidance, according to Gonzales, include the University of Phoenix Stadium, concourse work at Sky Harbor International Airport, a major car rental center adjacent to the airport, the Phoenix Convention Center, Arizona State University projects and a Border Patrol station in Douglas.
“The center has been a great vehicle for our company,” Gonzales says. “Its services helped us get minority certification to bid on government contracts, and helped us with banking needs.”
There’s an added bonus — educational opportunities. The center lined up grants through the Small Business Administration to send Gonzales to the Dartmouth College Tuck School of Business in Hanover, N.H. The grant covers rooms and meals, plus a one-week course. Participants pay their own travel expenses.
“They send minorities to brush up on finance, business planning, project management, marketing and business strategy,” Gonzales says. “It’s a crash course. It’s not a party.”
Hoque is founder of Hoque & Associates, a consulting engineering firm specializing in geotechnical exploration, civil engineering, construction materials testing, environmental assessment and solid waste engineering. Launched in 1997 as little more than a one-man operation, the company now has 22 employees. Hoque credits the center for his company’s growth.
“It helped us then and it’s still helping us,” Hoque says. “We’re a small company and the center helped us find sources of work. We could not afford to have a marketing person full time. You’re able to network with others, find your own niche. They can’t give you work, but they can find it for you. They point you in the right direction.”
Through the center’s efforts, Hoque for 10 years has had a contract with the Cochise County Solid Waste Management Division. Other jobs include work on a federal prison near Tucson, and a Sprint building in South Phoenix.
His firm also does environmental work, such as restoring “a blight site” landfill where Tempe Marketplace was built.
“I was the main guy to help investors to make money off the landfill,” Hoque says. “With blight sites, if you can beautify and restore it, that’s a catalyst for future improvements. As the energy crisis goes on, building inside the town rather on the periphery makes sense.”
Smith, an African American, started Specialized Maintenance Services — a commercial janitorial maintenance firm — in 1990, and since then has added other services, including heating and air conditioning, electrical and plumbing. He’s up to 60 employees.
“The center helped in terms of putting together a financial business plan, access to capital, and a requirement by the Small Business Administration to get certified as an ‘8a’ minority firm, which makes us eligible for contracts with the federal government,” Smith says. “We could not have gotten this work without certification, and the center was helpful and instrumental. They also helped with a marketing strategy and held motivational meetings for our employees.”Arizona Business magazine September 2008
In the last four years, the center has been able to facilitate $145 million in loans and procurement assistance, leading to the creation of more than 600 new jobs, Garewal says.
The first three-year grant under the chamber’s operation ended in 2006. A second grant of $365,000-a-year for three years began in 2007. Grants are reissued annually by the federal government based on how well the center performs, and the center matches the grants on a percentage basis.
“We know a majority of small businesses that are flourishing are minority-owned businesses,” Garewal says. “For the most part, minorities are pretty entrepreneurial. They always figure out ways to make additional money. They have that entrepreneurial spirit. When you think about it, the American dream is to be entrepreneurial, to provide for their families and to be successful. Isn’t that why we go into business?”
Hispanic Chamber to push for guest worker program
By David Schwartz
They are the lessons pulled from the history books and reinforced in the mind of a 12-year-old boy working in the picking fields of Holtville, a small agricultural enclave in Imperial Valley, Calif. It was there that young, macho Harry Garewal learned first-hand about the importance of immigrant labor, schooled on the tricks of the trade from the guest workers at the time as he harvested crops of carrots, onions, watermelons and tomatoes.
Beyond wearing long sleeves in the blaring sun and using overripe tomatoes to wash away the insecticides, the youth cultivated a broad realization that sticks with him today. “This country has been reliant on imported immigrant labor since its inception,” says Garewal, president and chief executive of the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. “That’s the way it has been and always will be. That’s what this issue is all about. Our labor market is based on supply and demand. There is a demand for these workers. And we need to have a program in place that gets the job done.” That’s why the 567-member chamber now is pushing for a federal guest worker program with renewed vigor, backed by small and medium-sized businesses who overwhelmingly have said they want the group to get involved in public policy issues.
Starting first with “baby steps,” Garewal says the chamber plans to add a stronger voice than ever before to the immigration debate as the nation struggles with a solution to what most agree is a broken system. Congress is expected to hold public hearings around the country this summer to listen to what the American public has to say about the divisive issue. This as President George W. Bush has made immigration reform a top priority and a guest worker program a key element in his plan.
Garewal says the timing could not be better for the chamber to play a more active role on an issue that hits hard locally, potentially harming Arizona’s robust economy. “Before, we served as an information highway and voiced our opinion to people,” says Garewal, who has led the chamber for three years. “Now, we’re going to do a little more.”
He says future plans tentatively call for the chamber to join or start a political action committee and hire a part-time lobbyist to rally support. Chamber members also would be trained to help make the case for reforms.
Chamber officials are working from a document that was passed by its public policy committee about three years ago, stitched together after a meeting with congressional leaders and staff members from Arizona. Outlined in the one-page proposal are the key reasons for a federal guest worker program and six tenants that such an effort should contain.
Jessica Pacheco, the committee’s chairwoman, says the policy seeks to move beyond the politics and heated rhetoric swirling about the issue and provide businesses with badly needed workers at a time when the labor market is wound tightly.
“What we wanted to do was bring some facts back into the conversation,” says Pacheco, an Arizona Public Service Co. executive. “The fact is that we need temporary workers to fill jobs in this country. We frankly don’t have enough bodies to do certain jobs.”
She says a guest worker program is not about amnesty or a path to citizenship—two thorny issues that often cloud the debate and prevent clear-headed measures from progressing. Pacheco also says that changes are needed to improve the system now, allowing employers to determine whether prospective employees are legal. “Any thoughtful business person in this country believes there is a need for a guest worker program,” Pacheco says. “It’s just good for business.”
Ray Gonzales, president of RBG Construction Co. in Glendale, says a guest worker program is long overdue and that the workers are vital to the industry and others statewide. “It would really hurt if we tried to get rid of these people instead of making it right for them,” adds Gonzales, whose decade-old company employs about 80 workers. “It’s a shame that we fail to recognize that immigrants bring success to whatever it is and wherever we are using them.”
In the end, Garewal believes long-awaited immigration reform—one with a guest worker program at its heart—will be passed into law in the near future. “I think we will come to an agreement in this country for systematic improvement,” he says. “It may take a couple of years to iron out the details, but it is going to happen. It has to happen.”
Matters of Public Policy
Hispanic chamber takes
on key issues
From immigration reform to healthcare affordability, the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce is once again wading into the turbulent waters of public policy and its already tackling big issues. The chamber’s public policy committee became active again last September and its 25 members have been busy the past several months educating themselves on state and federal issues.
“As an arm of an organization that represents primarily small Hispanic businesses, the committee explores issues that affect chamber members on a daily basis and their ability to grow and thrive,” says Jessica Pacheco, committee chairwoman and chamber board member and treasurer. “Not all Hispanic small businesses view these issues the same. We have a lot of debate and dialogue.”
So far, the Hispanic chamber has let other chambers take the lead on immigration reform, but Pacheco says her committee has its opinions on one facet of this issue—penalties for employers who hire undocumented workers. The committee has no problem with employer sanctions as a concept but opposes them as a “stand-alone issue” outside the context of comprehensive immigration reform. In June, Gov. Janet Napolitano vetoed a House immigration bill that included employer penalties. Its membership favors comprehensive immigration reform and the Hispanic chamber prefers that Congress address this issue, Pacheco says. “I can’t imagine a more difficult business environment than with each state having its own immigration laws.”
This fall, the chamber plans to help Arizona launch a “disparity study” to demonstrate how the state awards contracts for goods and services. It wants small business to garner a more equitable share of state procurement dollars, possibly an additional 10 percent. The chamber teamed with a variety of organizations to raise funds to pay for the study. The U.S. Department of Transportation is expected to provide $450,000 and a like amount must be raised locally through a public-private partnership, according to Pacheco. The first meeting with local donors was slated for June 14.
Federal Estate Tax
“There is a misconception that the federal estate tax affects very wealthy Americans, but if you look at the structure of the tax, it really hurts small businesses, especially Hispanic small businesses where 90 percent of them are inherited by family,” Pacheco says. The chamber believes the tax should be eliminated and committee members are communicating with Arizona’s congressional delegation.
Every small business grapples with the cost of providing health insurance, Pacheco says. “We would like to see a reduction in the cost of health insurance plans offered in the small group market. We also want to increase the number of workers in small business that have health insurance.”
The chamber supports tax relief for small business. It favors reduction in dividend and capital gains taxes and supports accelerated depreciation for equipment and software. “Software depreciation is critical because small businesses often have to purchase very expensive software for accounting and networking,” Pacheco says.
Access to Capital
The Small Business Administration provides considerable capital for small businesses and the chamber is keenly interested that the SBA continuing to receive adequate funding. “The SBA has been a great partner and we want to be sure our membership knows what is out there and available to them,” Pacheco says.