News Column

Tucson Hispanic Chamber Names Winners

August 12, 2013

Ricardo Cazares and Cecilia Mata have been named the 2013 Hispanic Business Man and Woman of the Year by the Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

The two will be recognized during a special tribute Oct. 26 at the 19th Annual Noche de Exitos Gala and Bi-National Awards at Casino del Sol Resort and Convention Center.

Cazares, 55, is owner of Los Portales restaurant with an annual revenue of $1 million, and Alejandro's Tortilla Factory with an annual revenue of about $4 million.

"I feel proud and honored to receive this recognition, but I can't receive the credit alone. My wife and children have supported and helped me in the businesses, which continue to grow and have extended to Phoenix and Southern Arizona communities," Cazares said.

"Ricardo is a well-respected, key Latino leader in our community," said Lea Marquez-Peterson, president and chief executive officer of the Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

"He is known for his deep commitment to the Hispanic community and his philanthropic work with schools, churches and nonprofit organizations," Marquez-Peterson said.

Mata, who declined to give her age, is the founder and owner of AllSource Global Management LLC based in Sierra Vista. The multimillion-dollar defense enterprise is contracted by the Departments of Defense, Interior and Energy.

"I am both overwhelmed and honored to have been selected. ... I will do everything in my power to fulfill the responsibilities that come with such a prestigious award," Mata said.

"Cecilia is a role model for Latina business owners in the nation. She stands out," Marquez-Peterson said.

"She is a humble business leader and shares information and advice with other businesswomen about procuring government contracts at workshops and conferences," Marquez-Peterson said.

Hispanic BusinessMan of the Year

Cazares, a native of Douglas, moved with his family to Tucson when he was young because his father, Jose, found more opportunity for construction work.

"My father and mother (Alejandrina) taught me to work hard, and to always do our best, be honest and to forge ahead," Cazares said.

His parents opened Alejandro's Tortilla Factory in 1980, and in 1984 Ricardo took over the business.

It grew from eight employees to 85, and now Alejandro's provides flour and corn tortillas to about 400 businesses in Phoenix, Tucson and Southern Arizona.

Twelve drivers head off in delivery trucks daily with about 10,000 dozen tortillas that are taken to restaurants, and placed on shelves in small grocery stores, and at Walmarts, Safeways, Fry's and Albertsons supermarkets.

In addition to the tortilla factory, 5330 S. 12th Ave., Cazares expanded the building, which also houses a restaurant, grocery store, meat market and bakery.

In 2007, Cazares opened Los Portales, a Mexican restaurant in the city of South Tucson at 2615 S. Sixth Ave. It employs 29.

Hispanic BusinessWoman of the Year

Mata, a native of Panama who speaks English, Spanish and Chinese, received a bachelor of science degree in business administration in 1986 from the Universidad Santa Maria la Antigua, and a master's in business administration in 1996 from the Universidad Latinamericana de Ciencia y Tecnologia, both in Panama.

She worked as a business contractor and consultant with multinational companies headquartered in England, Switzerland and Panama.

Among the skills Mata learned were purchasing, manufacturing, training and development, finance and organizational planning.

In 2000, Mata moved from Panama with her former husband to Sierra Vista. He was reassigned to Fort Huachuca.

Mata worked for the University of Arizona and Cochise County Workforce Development, both in Sierra Vista, before she founded AGM. The firm employs nearly 300, including former and retired military and civilian workers.

AGM provides services including intelligence training and training development, database management, counter-terrorism and analyses, logistics and warehouse management, and deployment and mobilization support to the Department of Defense.

Mata said working in the defense industry is "very difficult, diverse and challenging."

"I grew up in a business environment and have a strong work ethic. The challenge now is to continue being successful in one of the most devastating economies since the Great Depression," Mata said.

"We as a company will endure because one of the other things I learned over my lifetime is ...never give up," she said.

Her business has expanded in Arizona and on to Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Nebraska and Texas.

Source: (c)2013 The Arizona Daily Star (Tucson, Ariz.) Distributed by MCT Information Services

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