The big winner at Hispanic Business magazine's 15th annual EOY Awards was David Hernandez, CEO-Chairman of Liberty Power, who took home the Entrepreneur of the Year Award. Florida-based Liberty Power is the only Hispanic-owned national electricity provider in the United States.
Hispanic Business celebrated its 15th year of EOY Awards on November 10 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California. The gala ceremony recognized Hispanic entrepreneurs in five categories, as well as the top EOY winner.
Earlier in the day, EOY finalists and other entrepreneurs met with lenders and private equity financiers to discuss access to capital in the U.S. Hispanic economy. During the morning session, 10 pre-selected entrepreneurs made pitches for investment and received feedback from attending lenders and investors. In the afternoon, a panel of experts discussed how investment decisions are reached and what CEOs can do to better their odds of winning money. The panel included Mr. Ronald Langston National Director of the Minority Business Development Agency, Danny Villanueva of Bastion Capital, Maria Contreras-Sweet of FORTIUS Holdings, Guido Caranti of Pinto America and Albert Gomez of Bank of America.
In the evening, a cocktail reception was followed by dinner and the awards presentation. Keynote speaker Fabian Nuņez, the Speaker of the California Assembly, praised the nominees and winners for "building a stronger community for all of us," and recognized the important role Hispanic entrepreneurs play in the state's economy. Melinda Guzman, Chairwoman of the California Hispanic Chambers of Commerce, served as the night's Mistress of Ceremonies. The USC Marshall School of Business judged this year s EOY Awards.
EOY category winners included Guiomar Obregon of Precision 2000 for Latina Entrepreneur, Nina G. Vaca of Pinnacle Technical Resources for Infobusiness, Michael J. Shaw of Mike Shaw Automotive for Heavy Industry, Merrell Virgen of Virgen Advertising for Trade Industry, and Mr. Hernandez for Rising Star.
During the gala Hispanic Business also bestowed the Lifetime Achievement Award to Alphonso V. Diaz, former associate administrator for science at NASA. During his 40 years with the space agency, Mr. Diaz managed such projects as the Hubble Space Telescope and the Earth Observation System that first mapped a hole in the ozone layer over Antarctica. Mr. Diaz spoke about the need to encourage young Hispanics to study mathematics and science.
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