Daisy Expósito-Ulla, CEO
The Bravo Group
Daisy Expósito-Ulla has seen the New York-based Bravo Group grow from less than $5 million in billings in 1985 to an estimated $280 million in 2002. Bravo stands as the largest advertising agency in the Hispanic market.
Cuban-born Ms. Expósito-Ulla started as creative director at Bravo and has held the positions of senior vice president and general manager and president and chief creative officer. In her role as chairman and CEO, she has the expanded responsibility of overseeing a group of multicultural agencies that includes Bravo, Mosaica (a multicultural agency), and Kang and Lee (the leading Asian agency in the United States).
"I still feel midway through a trip on a road of promise, challenge, and invention," she said upon receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award. "There's still plenty of unexplored land, and I'm ready to continue ahead with the same love for what I do and the same passion for my people."
EOY CATEGORY WINNERS
Jorge & Carlos de Céspedes
The Pharmed Group
In 1980, Jorge and Carlos de Céspedes left their jobs at SmithKline Beecham to start their own business. The brothers' Miami-based Pharmed Group has grown from a one-room operation to the country's largest minority-owned distributor of medical, surgical, and rehabilitative supplies and pharmaceuticals. In 2002, revenues exceeded $560 million.
Pharmed offers same-day delivery and has a multilingual customer service staff that takes orders in English, Spanish, and Portuguese. The 240-employee company has introduced generic products as well as its private-label brands in Latin America, distributing directly from its Miami facility to regional operations in Panama, Costa Rica, and Brazil.
In his 23 years as an entrepreneur, Jorge de Céspedes has come to believe that big dreams are the key to success: "Dream big," he advises. "If you dream small, you will settle for small."
If Veronica Moreno has her way, Olé Foods will be a household name by 2005. By then the co-founder plans to have the company's authentic Mexican tortillas and high-quality foods on grocery store shelves in every state. Currently, the company supplies grocers and restaurants in 38 states and in Puerto Rico.
"We have broadened our advertising and marketing plans for the upcoming year, and we are working to educate non-Hispanic consumers on the preparation of authentic Mexican meals for their families," says Ms. Moreno, who started the Georgia-based company in 1987.
Demand for Olé's products was so great in 2003 that sales exceeded production capacity. A refitting of the production lines with new components enabled the 425-employee firm to solve the problem quickly and had the bonus side effect of nearly tripling yield.
Juan Gaytan Jr.
Monterrey Security Consultants
A dilapidated building in the predominantly Hispanic Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago may have been an "eyesore for many," but according to Juan Gaytan, there was an "opportunity to develop it into a state-of-the-art security command center."
In 1999, Mr. Gaytan started Monterrey Security Consultants Inc. with the mission to hire from the local community and "give people a chance to work in our field who would not necessarily have had the opportunity to do so." He says that by conducting in-house training of his private protection staff, he is better able to meet specific client needs and is best positioned to fill local employment opportunities. With 2002 revenues of nearly $4.5 million and a staff of more than 300, the company has found a successful niche.
Mr. Gaytan offers three pieces of advice to would-be entrepreneurs: build a solid foundation of family and friends, conduct your business with passion and commitment, and be willing to work hard and accept new ideas and advice.
Carlos Sanchez & Guiomar Obregon
Precision 2000 Inc.
Airport construction may not seem harder than any other type of construction, but at one of the world's busiest airports, diverting traffic to patch a runway is not an option.
When Atlanta-based Precision 2000 participated in the repair of taxiways and runways at Hartsfield Atlanta International Airport, company President Carlos Sanchez and CEO Guiomar Obregon had a one-night window of seven hours to get the job finished. They did it by investing in new machinery to expedite the most time-consuming stage of the work.
"Whatever you choose to do, do it right," says Mr. Sanchez. "By providing a good and consistent service, it's possible to have repeat business and referrals." The strategy paid off for Precision 2000, which nearly tripled its revenues from $1.2 million in 2001 to $3.5 million in 2002.
Latina: Alba Aleman, Cairo Corp., Manassas, VA; Marisa Jeakle, Filmateria, Seattle, WA. Heavy Industry: Frank Otero, PACO Group, New York, NY; Gregg Reyes, Reytec Construction Resources, Houston, TX. Trade Industry: Miguel Fernandez, CarePlus Health Plans, Coral Gables, FL; Alex Garcia, El Taller Colaborativo, Newark, NJ. InfoBusiness: Danny R. Pedregon, Communication Experts, El Paso, TX; Santiago Pozo, Arenas Entertainment, Beverly Hills, CA. Rising Star: Tony Medrano, SEED Enterprise, San Diego, CA; Rudy Ruiz, Interlex, San Antonio, TX.