The Century Plaza Hotel, located on the Avenue of the Stars in Los Angeles, has over the years hosted numerous tributes to some of the biggest names in show business. But on Nov. 20, 2003, it was the CEOs' turn to take the stage for the Hispanic Business Magazine Entrepreneur of the Year (EOY) 2003 Awards.
The celebration of entrepreneurship began in the afternoon, when most of the 15 finalists and a few invited guests met with Hispanic Business staff in a private meeting room. The discussion centered on the future evolution of the U.S. Hispanic economy, with a consensus that access to capital and education were key issues to help small Hispanic firms transition to the middle market.
Less than an hour later the group reconvened in formal attire for a gala reception. Nearly 500 people attended the black-tie event, which featured artwork by Jack Alvarez and the newest models of Ford cars and trucks.
Maria Hinojosa, urban affairs correspondent for CNN and host of National Public Radio's "Latino USA," acted as mistress of ceremonies for the special event. Three finalists in each of five categories competed for the EOY Awards with one winner from each category taking home a trophy (see accompanying profiles).
Headline sponsors for the evening were Ford Motor Co. and Office Depot. Publisher Jesús Chavarría noted Hispanic Business readers "represent a significant share of drivers of Ford autos and trucks," while Office Depot has emerged rapidly to become "one of the best-known brands in the world of business." Delta Airlines acted as travel sponsor for the event. Community sponsors included Pharmed Group, Monterrey Security Consultants, Olé Mexican Foods, Schieffelin & Somerset, and Union Bank.
This year the EOY unveiled the Lifetime Achievement Awards, which recognize individual Hispanic leaders who have impacted the community for a long span of their career. The inaugural winners were Daisy Expósito-Ulla, CEO of advertising agency The Bravo Group, and Antonio Flores, director of the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (see accompanying profiles).
The evening ended with the announcement of the Entrepreneur of the Year, chosen from among the five category winners. Mr. Chavarría and Ken Macias, whose accounting firm Macias Gini & Co. handled the judging of the awards, presented the EOY Award to Marcelo Claure, CEO of Miami-based Brightstar Corp.
LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD WINNERS
Antonio Flores, CEO
Antonio Flores deserves to be proud of his tenure leading the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU). Under his leadership, the organization has grown by 18 percent each year, more than tripled its budget, and expanded its programs three-fold.
Mr. Flores has spent his entire career in higher education. He has worked as a teacher and administrator at private and public institutions, conducted research, and supported state and national advancement initiatives.
Based in San Antonio and Washington, D.C., HACU has 330 member schools that collectively enroll more than two-thirds of all U.S. Hispanic students in higher education. "This [Lifetime Achievement] award belongs to the outstanding leaders of every member college or university of HACU who daily champions the college and career success of our Hispanic students," says Mr. Flores.