News Column

100 Influentials List 2006

Page 21 of 1

GOVERNMENT

David V. Aguilar
Chief of Border Patrol
U.S. Customs and Border Protection
As the nation's highest-ranking Border Patrol officer since May 2004, Chief Aguilar directs the enforcement efforts of more than 12,000 Border Patrol agents nationwide, stepping into a post-9/11 atmosphere of heightened security and immense pressure to protect U.S. borders. He is directly responsible for implementing President George W. Bush's newest security initiative -- dubbed Operation Jump Start -- collaborating with National Guard troops to strengthen the border with Mexico. It has resulted in a 20 percent increase in narcotics busts and the discovery of more than 16 underground tunnels this year.

Dan Arvizu
Director-National Renewable Energy Laboratory
U.S. Department of Energy

As director of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) since 2005, Dr. Arvizu has made it his goal to put the facility on the map when people think about the future of U.S. energy resources. And with the country's energy consumption and reserves persistently in the spotlight, he and his expertise have been thrust into the dialogue on how to power the country while simultaneously reducing its dependence on fossil fuels.

Being the U.S. Department of Energy's primary laboratory for energy efficiency and renewable energy research and development, NREL is tasked to help create solutions to the growing U.S. demands for energy. Dr. Arvizu points out that the higher the gross domestic product of a country, the more energy it consumes, and with the U.S. as a top consumer it will be up to America to lead the way in developing solutions to deal with what had always been finite resources. In that vein, Dr. Arvizu's teams are making breakthroughs in wind and solar energy development. While both of these technologies have been available for several years, Dr. Arvizu points out that one of his real challenges is being able to produce them for the mass market at an affordable price.

Dr. Arvizu has been involved in the study of energy efficiency for more than 30 years, both in the public and private sectors. He is also a senior vice-president with Midwest Research Institute, which manages NREL on behalf of the DOE. His impeccable reputation among his colleagues was developed through several high-profile positions, most recently as senior vice-president and CTO of the Federal and Industrial Client Groups with CH2M Hill Companies. He was also an executive with Sandia National Laboratories, where he directed Research Centers for Advanced Energy Technology, Material and Process Sciences, and Technology Commercialization for nearly 20 years.

In 2004, President George W. Bush appointed Mr. Arvizu to the National Science Board, which governs the National Science Foundation.

Joe R. Campa Jr.
Master Chief Petty Officer
U.S. Navy
Since joining the service in 1980, U.S. Navy Master Chief Joe Campa Jr. has risen to the top of the ladder, serving as command master chief in Japan, Guam, and Guantanamo Bay. Command Master Chief Campa is a graduate of the U.S. Navy Senior Enlisted Academy, the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy, and this year received his MA in national security and strategic studies from the Naval War College. He is well decorated with two meritorious service medals, four Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals, an Army Commendation Medal, and six Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals.

Victor Carrillo
Commissioner
Railroad Commission of Texas
As commissioner of the Railroad Commission of Texas since 2005, Victor Carrillo is the highest-ranking Hispanic official in Texas. Mr. Carrillo's government experience includes his two-year position as chairman of the Railroad Commission, chairman of the governor's Texas Energy Planning Council, and second vice-chair of the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission. He received a law degree from the University of Houston Law Center and has worked as an energy attorney and a judge. In May 2006, Mr. Carrillo was awarded an honorary doctorate degree from Hardin-Simmons University.

Nitza Margarita Cintron
Chief of Space Medicine and Health Care Systems Office
NASA's Johnson Space Center
Dr. Nitza Margarita Cintron has been the chief of the space medicine and health care systems office at NASA's Johnson Space Center since 2004. Dr. Cintron's experience at NASA includes her positions as the chief of biomedical operations and research branch in the medical science division and the director for managing the life sciences research laboratories. Her work in the medical science field at NASA was recognized when she received the NASA Medal for Exceptional Science Achievement, the highest science honor given by the agency. In 2004, she was inducted into the Hispanic Engineers National Achievement Awards Conference Hall of Fame.

Henry Cuellar
Congressman-28th District of Texas
U.S. House of Representatives
In his first year in Congress, Mr. Cuellar saw all 11 amendments he introduced to the House pass -- ranking him first among all first-year legislators and third among all House members. A member of the House Agriculture and Budget committees, the Democrat secured federal grant assistance that totaled more than $850 million for his district. And with five advanced degrees, he has earned more than any other sitting member has. Before entering the House of Representatives, Mr. Cuellar was the Texas Secretary of State and a 14-year member of the Texas legislature.

Jolen Flores
Chief, Aircraft Project Office
NASA's Ames Research Center
Starting as a research scientist with NASA in 1981, Dr. Flores climbed to the top to become NASA's chief of its aircraft project office where the University of California at Berkeley graduate now controls a $10 million budget planning, managing, and reviewing flight research projects. The Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum in Washington featured an exhibit of Dr. Flores' research and in 1998, NASA recognized him as one of its 12 Superstars of Modern Aeronautics. His work at Ames earned him NASA's Equal Opportunity Medal in 2002.

Irma Gonzalez
Chief Judge
US District Court, Southern District of California
Judge Gonzalez's career is highlighted by firsts: She is the highest-ranking and first Hispanic female judge in the 9th Circuit; when appointed to the federal bench, she was the first Hispanic female in the United States to be a Federal District Court judge; and she was the first Mexican-American woman appointed U.S. magistrate in the federal court for California's Southern District. Before becoming chief judge of the Southern District of California, the Stanford and University of Arizona-educated jurist was assistant U.S. attorney in Arizona and California and a trial attorney in the U.S. Department of Justice's Antitrust Division in Los Angeles.

Emilio Gonzalez
Director of U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services
Department of Homeland Security
An international affairs specialist, Dr. Gonzalez has spent much of his career involved in foreign affairs and international security policy issues. The Cuban immigrant leads an organization of more than 15,000 federal and contract employees responsible for the processing of immigration benefits. Before joining the Department of Homeland Security, Dr. Gonzalez completed a 26-year career in the U.S. Army where he was a military attaché to U.S. embassies in El Salvador and Mexico and headed the Office of Special Assistants for the commander-in-chief of the U.S. Southern Command.

Tino Hernandez
Chairman
New York City Housing Authority
As chairman of the NYCHA since 2001, Mr. Hernandez runs the largest public housing authority in North America, providing housing for more than 175,000 low- and moderate-income families. Mr. Hernandez, who grew up in public housing on the Lower East Side, worked as deputy commissioner for adult services at the New York City Department of Homeless Services where he led efforts to convert city shelters into places that address mental health, substance abuse, and unemployment.

Joseph V. Medina
Commanding General Marine Corps Base Camp S.D. Butler and Deputy Commander, Marine Corps Bases, Japan
U.S. Marines
Brigadier Gen. Medina, a 30-year veteran of the Corps, currently commands one U.S. Marine base in Japan and is deputy commander for the entire Marine presence there. Educated at USC, his career has taken him from an initial posting leading a rifle platoon to head of the contingency plans branch overseeing NATO's Kosovo operation. During Operation Iraqi Freedom, he headed a ship-borne task force – the first Marine general ever assigned to command Navy ships -- which interdicted the flow of supplies and foreign fighters opposing the coalition presence.

Robert Menendez
U.S. Senator
New Jersey
Mr. Menendez moved from being the third-ranking Democrat in the House to New Jersey's junior senator – and only the sixth Hispanic ever to serve in the Senate -- when he was appointed to fill out Jon Corzine's term earlier this year. Now running for re-election to a full six-year term, the 52-year-old stresses leadership in reforming the country's intelligence and public health systems. Mr. Menendez grew up the son of a Cuban immigrant, and after graduating from St. Peter's College and Rutgers School of Law, served as a school board member, a mayor and a state legislator before entering the House in 1992.

Hector E. Morales
Executive Director
Inter-American Development Bank
Mr. Morales, the United States executive director of the Inter-American Development Bank since 2004, is one of a group of directors representing 48-member countries. The board decides what Latin nations will receive IDB funding for projects such as oil and natural gas. Before working for the U.S. government, Mr. Morales was an advisor to companies involved in Latin America and U.S. Hispanic markets. He worked as senior vice-president of Viamericas Corporation, the company that offered the first prepaid money transfer card in the United States.

Daniel Ramos
Principal Deputy General Counsel
U.S. Air Force
As principal deputy general counsel of the U.S. Air Force, Mr. Ramos provides legal advice to top Air Force brass. He is also responsible for supervising and advising the Air Force's 1,700 military and civilian lawyers worldwide. Before joining the Air Force, Mr. Ramos practiced corporate and securities law at Shaw Pittman, a national law firm based in Washington, D.C. Mr. Ramos first served as a Department of Defense Fellow and special assistant to the Air Force General Counsel before being appointed principal deputy in 2003.

Bill Richardson
Governor
State of New Mexico
Gov. Richardson is one of the few Americans who seem to be able to communicate successfully with North Korean strongman Kim Il Sung, making the former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations a key player in current negotiations over nuclear proliferation. The former Clinton Administration Secretary of Energy was elected governor of New Mexico in 2002 by the largest margin of any candidate since 1964. He just completed his third legislative session, and can point to a balanced budget and one of the highest budget reserves in the country. Gov. Richardson currently serves as chair of the Democratic Governors' Association.

Jose Riojas
Commanding General
Joint Task Force North
Gen. Riojas has the daunting task of overseeing the military's contribution to guarding the continental United States during the global war on terror. The West Point graduate from Kansas City, Missouri has worn an Army uniform since 1976 when he was a second lieutenant in the field artillery. He's since served in a variety of warfighting, administrative, academic and even diplomatic posts in the service before taking his new posting working alongside domestic law enforcement to prevent attacks or other threats inside the nation or along the approaches to the United States.

Alfonso Robles
Chief Counsel
U.S. Custom and Border Protection
For the last seven years Mr. Robles has held the highest legal office in U.S. Customs and Border Protection, a position even more in the public eye thanks to the vexing legal issues arising from both homeland security concerns and the increasing attention paid to immigration. The history buff and 1982 Georgetown University Law Center graduate cut his teeth clerking for an admiralty law firm and then the Federal Maritime Commission before joining the then-Customs Service right out of university, specializing in issues of international trade.

Rosa Rosales
President
League of United Latin American Citizens
Ms. Rosales was elected national president of the LULAC this year to become the leader of the largest and oldest Hispanic civil rights organizations in the United States.

Her involvement with the League of United Latin American Citizens spans more than three decades. In 1994, Ms. Rosales was re-elected to a record-breaking fourth term as the LULAC Texas state director and was the first woman to hold the position. She most recently served as the national vice-president for the Southwest.

"I have the highest admiration for all past LULAC presidents," Ms. Rosales says. "I want to carry it to the next level of activism. When you have the example of education – I get tired of saying we're in a state of crisis. I would like to see some plans of action. We know the statistics, and we've done the educational summits. Get together with all the research organizations and find the best practices for dealing with the dropout rate … As we become the No. 1 minority, we have to have an educated population."

Ms. Rosales, a native of San Antonio and University of Michigan alumna, has received numerous honors and awards for her service to LULAC, including the American GI Forum Leadership Award, the LULAC Women of the Year Award and the Cesar Chavez March for Justice Award.

She is the founder and director of the National Association of Public Employees, a San Antonio-based union, and previously worked for the Service Employees International Union. She served for 12 years as a national labor representative and field supervisor for the National Association of Government Employees in 1983 before being named regional director in 1995.

Ms. Rosales also serves on the board of the LULAC National Educational Service Centers and is passionate about her work in education.

Vanessa Ruiz
Associate Judge
District of Columbia Court of Appeals
For more than a dozen years since she was appointed by then-President Clinton, Judge Ruiz has heard cases in the highest court of the District of Columbia. A native of San Juan, Puerto Rico, and a graduate of Wellesley College and the Georgetown University Law Center, she served in private practice and was a founder of a Washington, D.C.-based law firm until she became corporation Counsel for the District of Columbia in 1991. A mentor to many Hispanic law students, in 2001 she was named Hispanic National Bar Association Judge of the Year.

Maritza S. Ryan
Professor and Head Department of Law
U.S. Military Academy at West Point
Col. Ryan was one of the first women to be admitted to an American military academy and rose to become the most senior Hispanic judge advocate in the military even before she was tapped for her new roles in February. The daughter of Spanish and Puerto Rican parents, she graduated from West Point in 1982 and entered the field artillery before receiving her law degree from Vanderbilt University Law School in 1988. She first taught at the academy in 1992, shortly after returning from Desert Storm, and has been key in developing the nascent academic department there.

CORPORATE

Luis Aguilar
Partner
McKenna Long & Aldrige
Named one of Georgia's Super Lawyers for three years running, Mr. Aguilar's professional and service accolades don't end there. Prior to his current position, Mr. Aguilar served as the general counsel, executive vice-president, and corporate secretary of INVESCO -- an independent institutional investment company with more than $380 billion in assets under management in the U.S. and international markets. He received the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund's "Excellence in Leadership" Award in April 2005 and was also named the 2005 Latino Attorney of the Year by the Hispanic National Bar Association.

John Amat
VP of Global Sales & Marketing
Kimberly-Clark
Mr. Amat has a rich professional history in the healthcare arena and a diverse multicultural business background: trilingual in English, Spanish and Portuguese; attended medical school at University of Navarra in Pamplona, Spain; and a resume with locations from Miami to Sao Paulo. Mr. Amat joined Kimberly-Clark after the company's acquisition of San Diego-based Safeskin Corporation, and has been making strides since. Under his guidance, the company most recently launched in July a new technology SECURE-FIT designed to protect caregivers from fluid contamination that can result from glove slippage during surgery.

Carlos Barrionuevo
Director of Business Development
National Public Radio
In his role at NPR, Mr. Barrionuevo develops new business ideas and pursues revenue-generating opportunities for NPR, culminating in this year's launch of NPR Music Box -- a new service that provides classical, adult alternative, and jazz content of varying lengths to participating stations. Prior to NPR, Mr. Barrionuevo co-founded Blackvoices.com, an African American-targeted media company and a subsidiary of the Chicago-based Tribune Company. He is also a member of the National Association of Minority Media Executives and the National Society of Hispanic MBAs.

Joseph Caruncho
CEO & Founder
Preferred Care Partners
Joseph Caruncho, CEO of Preferred Care Partners (the largest privately owned Medicare Advantage Health Plan in Florida), launched the company after developing and implementing the Provider Sponsored Organization (PSO), a health plan that allows physicians to bypass the HMO. A leader in the healthcare industry, Mr. Caruncho was named Ultimate CEO by South Florida Business Journal in 2006, CEO of the Year for the 2005 Excellence in Healthcare Awards, and the Florida Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year in Healthcare. He is a member of the Florida Bar Association and is a public arbitrator with the National Association of Securities Dealers.

Michelle Cervantez
VP of Marketing
Hyundai of North America
Michelle Cervantez, vice-president of marketing for Hyundai Motor America, is responsible for all Hyundai marketing and advertising in the United States. Before joining Hyundai in 2005, Ms. Cervantez worked in a similar position at Mercedes-Benz USA and as vice-president of marketing for Jaguar Cars North America. Her extensive background in automotive marketing has earned her recognition from Automotive News on its list of "100 Leading Women in the North American Auto Industry" as well as Hispanic Business's list of 80 elite women.

Francisco Codina
Group VP, North America Marketing, Sales & Service
Ford Motor Company
Promoted to his current position in March of this year, Francisco Codina oversees the marketing, sales, and service of all Ford and Lincoln Mercury vehicles in North America. Mr. Codina is a native of Cuba and joined Ford in 1977 as a part of its customer service division, and has since worked his way up, most recently serving as the vice-president of Ford Customer Service Division. He also held the positions of marketing and customer service director of Ford of Mexico, and president of Ford of Argentina.

Rudy deLeon
Former Senior VP, Washington DC Operations
The Boeing Company
After more than 25 years of senior leadership experience in the executive and legislative branches of the U.S. government, culminating in being deputy secretary of defense, Mr. deLeon became senior vice-president of Boeing's Washington, D.C. operations until he stepped down in June. The Loyola Marymount and Harvard grad's vast government experience began as a sought-after legislative aide and includes his positions as deputy secretary of defense, undersecretary of the Air Force, and undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness, among others.

Paul Diaz
President, CEO & Director
Kindred Healthcare Inc.
With vast executive experience in the long-term healthcare service field, Mr. Diaz joined Kindred Healthcare as president in 2002 and added the CEO title in 2004. Prior to becoming a part of Kindred, he worked as executive vice-president and chief operating officer of Mariner Health as well as CEO, chief financial officer, and general counsel of Allegis Health Services. Mr. Diaz's experience also extends to Capella Senior Living LLC, a start-up long-term healthcare service provider, as chairman and CEO.

Jose W. Fernandez
Global Co-Chair of the Latin American Practice
Latham & Watkins
A partner in his firm's New York office and global co-chair of its Latin America practice, Mr. Fernandez handles Latin American acquisitions for corporations and private equity firms and represents banks and restructruings in a variety of industries. Mr. Fernandez has chaired the American Bar Association's Inter-American Law Committee and the Committee on Inter-American Affairs of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York. Chambers Global, a law guide, named him in its "World's Leading Lawyers" list.

Eddie Gonzalez
Chairman and CEO
The Bravo Group
Mr. Gonzalez's expertise in communications led him this July to taking on dual responsibilities as CEO of both Y&R Latin America and The Bravo Group, both arms of advertising powerhouse Young & Rubicam. Starting in 1982 with Y&R Puerto Rico, Mr. Gonzalez's leadership led Y&R Latin America to be the second-largest network in the region and among the top creative agencies in Latin America. Before his current position, he was chairman and CEO of Y&R Madrid and held senior management roles in Asia.

Ervin A. Gonzalez
Partner
Colson Hicks Eidson
As a specialist in civil trial and business litigation law, Mr. Gonzalez has succeeded in winning 23 million-dollar verdicts, with many of his verdicts ranking among the top in the country. Accolades for Mr. Gonzalez's work have come from The Daily Business Review, which named him its 2005 Most Effective Lawyer Award for civil litigation, as well as Lawyers Weekly USA which placed him in its 2005 list of top 11 lawyers in the nation. Mr. Gonzalez is also a governor of the Florida Bar and an adjunct professor at his alma mater, the University of Miami School of Law.

Christina Guerola Sarchio
Partner
Howrey LLP
At Howrey LLP, a global law firm, Ms. Guerola Sarchio works as a litigation partner where she represents Fortune 500 clients in criminal and civil commercial and antitrust matters. The former assistant D.A. in New York and adjunct professor at George Washington University Law School is also president of the Hispanic Bar Association of the District of Columbia and campaigns for fair immigration reform and diversity in corporate America. Under her leadership, the association received the 2006 Hispanic National Bar Association Affiliate Organization of the Year award.

Fernando Hernandez
Supplier Diversity Director
Microsoft
As Microsoft's supplier diversity director, Mr. Hernandez directs supplier diversity efforts for the company. His experience with supplier diversity extends to his previous job at AT&T where he was the executive director of supplier diversity and was part of the team that led AT&T to over $1 billion in spending with diverse firms. Before Microsoft, he was senior vice-president of multicultural and diversity strategy for Washington Mutual in Seattle.

Gary Hernandez
Partner
Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal LLP
Working out of the San Francisco office of an international law firm with more than 700 attorneys, Mr. Hernandez specializes in insurance regulatory and reinsurance matters. Before entering private practice, Mr. Hernandez was deputy commissioner and chief of enforcement at the California Department of Insurance and was a San Francisco deputy city attorney. Mr. Hernandez is on the board of directors of the Latino Community Foundation and co-authored eBusiness and Insurance: A Guide to Transacting Insurance and Other Business on the Internet in 2001.

Valerie Insignares
EVP of Operations for Olive Garden
Darden Restaurants
Ms. Insignares oversees all 575 Olive Garden restaurants in North America. Ms. Insignares has been recognized for her record-breaking guest count growth as well as for her role in establishing the supplier diversity initiative. In 2006, she received the Emerging Leader Award from the Women's Foodservice Form, a leadership-developing organization. Previously, Ms. Insignares was senior vice-president of Olive Garden's Dallas division and worked with Burger King before that.

Jorge Lopez
President & CEO
ConEdison Solutions
An industry veteran with more than 20 years of experience, Mr. Lopez is president and CEO of ConEdison Solutions, the energy services subsidiary of Consolidated Edison. Previously, he was vice-president of sales and the senior vice-president of retail commodity and energy services where he led the development of ConEdison's energy services and retail commodity divisions. Before ConEdison, he worked as the director of sales for Chevron Energy Solutions in San Francisco and also held management positions at PSE&G, a gas and electric service utility.

Linda A. Madrid
Managing Director, General Counsel & Corporate Secretary
Carr America Realty Corp.
In 1998, Ms. Madrid was brought on board to build a legal department for one of the nation's leading real estate investment trust firms. Prior to joining the REIT, she headed the legal division of Riggs National Bank, where she told the general counsel that she wanted 25 percent of her performance evaluation to be based on whether she increased the use of women and minority lawyers. The mother of five is a graduate of the Georgetown University Law Center and got her start practicing law in several Washington, D.C. law firms.

Nancy Matta
First Vice President of Investments
Merrill Lynch
Ms. Matta was recently named as one of Research magazine's top five advisors, earning her a place in its 2005 Financial Advisor Hall of Fame. The New York resident heads a team responsible for managing more than $210 million in assets. Ms. Matta, who joined the brokerage firm in 1980, helps manage money for individuals to small corporations and nonprofit groups, is in the top 1 percent of money managers at Merrill Lynch, and sits on the firm's diversity advisory board. She's also a member of the board of Catholic Charities of New York.

Patricia Menendez Cambo
Chair, International Practice Group
Greenberg-Traurig
Ms. Menendez Cambo chairs Greenberg Traurig's international division, overseeing multi-billion dollar business transactions throughout the United States, Latin America and Europe. This year, the National Law Journal named her one of its "100 Most Influential Lawyers". In 2000, Ms. Menendez Cambo took a two-year leave of absence to work for Spanish telecommunications giant Telefonica S.A. as its U.S. legal counsel. A first generation Cuban-American, she graduated from college at 19 and had earned a degree from the University of Pennsylvania at 22.

Alberto Mora
VP & General Counsel, International Division
Wal-Mart
As general counsel of the U.S. Navy, Mr. Mora waged a campaign inside the Bush Administration to stop the mistreatment of terror suspects interned at Guantanamo Bay. Mr. Mora was not aware of the abuse at Abu Ghraib when he warned Pentagon and other administration officials that the mistreatment would carry grave political consequences for the United States. This year, he was honored with the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation's 2006 Profile in Courage award. Mr. Mora retired from the Navy earlier this year and was tapped to be Wal-Mart's vice-president and general counsel for its international division.

Oscar Munoz
EVP & CFO
CSX Corporation
Mr. Munoz cut his teeth working in management positions at PepsiCo, Coca-Cola and US West, Qwest, and AT&T before he was named in 2003 to his current post at CSX Corporation. Mr. Munoz helps spearhead all financial, strategic planning, information technology and real estate projects for the Florida-based railroad company. The USC- and Pepperdine-educated Mr. Munoz is involved in a number of charitable and philanthropic organizations, including the American Cancer Society and the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Maria Owens
Vice-President
The Cohen Group
General Owens sees two major pillars as crucial to her personal and career success: The inspiration of her parents and their accomplishments, and her military service in the Air Force.

Ms. Owens says the opportunities afforded by her hard-working parents, both from impoverished backgrounds, inspired her and her three brothers to not take anything for granted. Her folks also set a military example – they met during World War II and ultimately instilled a patriotic sense of duty in their children. As a result, Ms. Owens and two of her brothers served in the military. A native of Cleburne, Texas, she received her commission in 1975 through the Air Force ROTC program at Baylor University.

She recently joined the Cohen Group, a Washington, D.C.-based business-consulting firm, as a vice-president in August 2005 after nearly 30 years in the Air Force. In her last assignment, then-Gen. Owens served as the director of manpower and personnel for the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, advising on personnel issues as well as developing policy and guidance for programs governing the U.S. military's major regional organizations. In this capacity, she fondly remembers all of the military service members she has encountered – in the U.S. and in Iraq – who have touched her life and made her truly grateful to serve.

Prior to her assignment to the Joint Staff, Ms. Owens served as the chief of staff for the Department of Defense's initial Homeland Security office, where she directed logistic and administrative efforts and interfaced with the Department of State, White House, and other federal agencies.

Having recently celebrated her third wedding anniversary, she is looking forward to spending time with her husband – also a retired Air Force officer – and although now working in the private sector, she continues to stay in touch with and support her fellow military service members.

David A. Rodriguez
EVP-Human Resources
Marriott International
Since June, Mr. Rodriguez has been in charge of personnel for the lodging leader's global portfolio of hotels and vacation properties and its 143,000 employees. The graduate of New York University joined the company in 1998 after a lengthy stint at Citicorp and a strategic position at Avon before that. He has held a variety of increasingly important roles at Marriott since joining, having been named a corporate officer in 2000 and joining the board of director's Committee for Excellence four years later.

Karla G. Sanchez
Partner
Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler
Fewer than a half percent of the partners at New York's top 100 firms are female and Hispanic, leaving this trial attorney still somewhat of a rarity since she was named a partner in 2003, where she remains the only Hispanic partner. An expert in commercial litigation, the Fordham University School of Law graduate has also made a name for herself in the Hispanic community, sitting on the board of the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund, which gave her its inaugural Lucero Award in 2004. At Patterson Belknap, she leads the firm's diversity committee and chairs the Patterson Attorneys of Color. This year she was named one of the "40 under Forty" by Crain's New York Business.

Josefa Sicard-Mirabal
Director of Arbitration and ADR in North America
International Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce
New York-raised Ms. Sicard-Mirabal cut quite a swath through the legal community of her native Dominican Republic, serving as chief justice of the Civil, Commercial, and Labor Court in La Vega. She worked for law firm Greenberg Traurig before taking her new post with the ICC in August. The trilingual Ms. Sicard-Mirabal (Spanish, English and French) founded and chairs Dominicans on Wall Street and can often be seen commenting on the news on television or in domestic and international newspapers.

David Velazquez
President & COO
Conectiv Energy
Mr. Velazquez has overseen day-to-day operations at Conectiv Energy, Pepco Holdings competitive merchant energy subsidiary, since June. In 1981, after graduating from Widener University with a bachelor of science degree in engineering, he joined Pepco subsidiary Delmarva Power and has worked his way up in management positions since, including two vice-president positions at Delaware-based Connectiv.

Livia Whisenhunt
President, CEO and Founder
PS Energy Group Inc.
Ms. Whisenhunt has been a go-getter since graduating high school, when she bought a convenience store and sold it for an 800 percent profit half a year later. Since founding PS Energy in 1985, Ms. Whisenhunt -- her mother is a native of Colombia -- has stressed high morale and diversity. She has won plaudits from the Small Business Administration and a Hammer Award from Vice-President Al Gore's National Performance Review Board. This year PS Energy was recognized as a Georgia Small Business of Excellence.

OTHER VISTAS

Sergio Aguilar-Gaxiola
Chairman of the Board
National Mental Health Association
In June 2006, Dr. Aguilar-Gaxiola became the first Hispanic chairman for the NMHA, which entails providing direction and leadership to the organization and its 340 affiliates nationwide. He is currently a professor of Clinical Internal Medicine in the Department of Internal Medicine, School of Medicine, at the University of California, Davis. Among awards, earlier this year the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office honored Dr. Aguilar-Gaxiola with a Minority Health's National Minority Health Community Leader Award (Hispanic Community).

Julia Alvarez
Author
Saving the World - 2006
In her various works of poetry and fiction, this Dominican author gives voice to the themes of displacement, alienation, and search for identity. A prolific author since publishing her first book in 1991 -- How the García Girls Lost Their Accent -- Ms. Alvarez has authored four other books of fiction, a book of essays, five collections of poetry, and five books for children. In 2006, Ms. Alvarez released her latest novel Saving the World. She currently lives in Vermont, where she is a writer-in-residence at Middlebury College.

Armando Bucelo Jr.
Chairman of the Board
Securities Investor Protection Corp.
This Havana-born Miami attorney was named in January chairman of the board of the Securities Investor Protection Corporation, which was created by Congress to maintain a special reserve fund to help investors at bankrupt brokerage firms. Mr. Bucelo already has been active for three years as a presidential appointee on the board, upon which he is both the first Hispanic and first Floridian. A past president of the Cuban-American Bar Association, Mr. Bucelo was also a director of Freddie Mac under the George H.W. Bush administration.

Nelson Castillo
President
Hispanic National Bar Association
Nelson Castillo is the national president and chair of the Immigration committee of the Hispanic National Bar Association (HNBA), which represents more than 27,000 Hispanic law professionals nationally. Previously, Mr. Castillo was the national president-elect, the 2004 convention chair, and the New York region president of the association. He is principal of the Castillo Law Firm, PLLC, a law office that works in real estate, immigration, and naturalization law. Mr. Castillo has been recognized for his work by the New York County Lawyers' Association, the New York City Bar Association, the Hispanic National Bar Association, and the New York Immigration Coalition.

Albert Chavez
Board of Directors and Treasurer
Los Angeles Conservation Corps
Albert Chavez serves on the Los Angeles Conservation Corps, a 20-year-old nonprofit, that has worked with more than 20,000 at-risk youth, as the treasurer and vice-president of its Board of Directors. He has been a member of the board for more than 15 years. A financial consultant for beginning and troubled technology, media, and financial service companies, Mr. Chavez most recently worked as the senior vice-president/CFO of Si TV, a startup Hispanic television network in Los Angeles. His contributions to the community recently earned him the Jerry I. Porras Latino Leadership Award from the Stanford Graduate School of Business.

Linda Chavez-Thompson
Executive Vice-President
AFL-CIO
Twice-elected executive vice-president of the AFL-CIO, Linda Chavez-Thompson is the first person of color to be elected to one of the federation's three highest offices. With more than 35 years of experience in the labor movement, Ms. Chavez-Thompson is a member of the National Interfaith Committee for Worker Justice, the Institute for Women's Policy Research, and the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute. Her leadership includes a current position as vice-chair of the Democratic National Committee and past positions as president of ORIT, the Inter-American Regional Organization of Workers, national vice-president of the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement, and one of 31 vice-presidents on the Executive Council of AFL-CIO.

Esteban Cortazar
Fashion Designer
Colombian-born Mr. Cortazar, one of today's most highly acclaimed fashion ingenues at the age of 22, started his career at 15, debuting at Miami International Fashion Week alongside fashion veterans such as Carolina Herrera and Oscar de la Renta. "Designing became my life, my passion. My parents supported me from the beginning and we didn't feel I had to wait until I was older to live out my dream when I knew where I needed to go from a young age," he says.

Quickly climbing the fashion ladder, at age 18 the precocious designer was the youngest to show at the prestigious New York Fashion Week. Since then, Mr. Cortazar has opened for Mercedes-Benz Los Angeles Fashion Week, brought Cindy Crawford out of retirement to model for his Spring/Summer 2004 show, and has been featured in Elle and W as well as being a finalist for Fashion Group International's 2004 rising star awards. He has also been recruited to dress celebrities including Eva Longoria, Catalina Sandino Moreno, Beyonce Knowles, and Paris Hilton

Born in Bogota to a painter father and a jazz singer mother, Mr. Cortazar grew up in an environment that fostered creativity. He cites his father as an inspiration in addition to his constantly changing muses — this season it's Grace Jones who brings a severe and modern flavor to his collection. His Colombian roots also play a part in his designs. "My Latin roots are always alive when I'm designing. There's always the flavor of celebrating the woman, which Latins certainly do," Mr. Cortazar says.

So what's next for the young designer who still has many more years ahead of him in the fashion world? "Keep learning, keep accomplishing, and reaching new levels. I want to be at a state of constant improvement."

Angela Diaz
Director, Adolescent Health Center
Mount Sinai Medical Center
Dr. Diaz, a professor of pediatrics at Mount Sinai School of Medicine and director of its Health Center, has worked more than 25 years providing medical services to youth. Under her leadership at the Adolescent Health Center, a program that offers free health services to thousands of teens every year, it has become the largest adolescent health center in the United States. As president of the Children's Aid Society Board of Trustees, Dr. Diaz is the first Hispanic woman and person of color to lead the society. She was awarded the American Academy of Pediatrics Founders of Adolescent Health Award in 2001.

Nomar Garciaparra
Baseball player
Los Angeles Dodgers
Mr. Garciaparra came into the Major Leagues with a bang, making his debut on August 31, 1996, as a defensive replacement at second base for the Boston Red Sox who registered his first big league home run just a day later. Eleven seasons later, the six-time All-Star shortstop's career has received immense attention from the baseball world and beyond – his wife is Olympics soccer sensation Mia Hamm. His .320 career batting average ranks fifth among active Major League players; he's eighth among all-time Major League shortstops with 183 home runs; and holds the record for the most doubles in a single season by a shortstop with 56 in 2002.

With such a celebrated career as a shortstop, his switch to first base this year has been "a challenge every day," he explains. "I don't take it for granted for one second. To me, it's not about the position I'm playing, but the fact that I'm able to play the game on this level at all."

After leaving the Red Sox and returning to Southern California to play with the Dodgers, the Whittier native looks forward to being back where he grew up. "It's always nice to look up in the stands and see my family and friends that have always supported me every day." And in a game that was once homogenous, he's enjoying the increasing diversity. "It's great to see not just Hispanic players, but players from all walks of life. It's great for the game."

His influence extends beyond baseball into the philanthropy realm with the establishment of the Nomar 5 Foundation, an organization that helps the Boston community. Nomar 5, a name that includes his Red Sox number, works to improve the underprivileged community by restocking local libraries and providing better TVs, VCRs, and exercise equipment, among other things. "We do things that fall very near and dear to my heart," Mr. Garciaparra says.

Andres Martinez
Editorial Page Editor
Los Angeles Times
As the Los Angeles Times newest editorial pages editor, 40-year-old Mr. Martinez helps set the tone for the news agenda in Los Angeles and throughout the world. The Ivy League-educated Mr. Martinez previously worked as an editorial writer at the New York Times, where he was named the 2004 Pulitzer Prize finalist for editorial writing. Before his journalism career, the native of Mexico City practiced law briefly in Washington, D.C. He is the author of, 24/7: Living It Up and Doubling Down in the New Las Vegas.

Eliseo Medina
International EVP
Service Employees International Union
From his own roots as a teenage grape picker supporting the UFW, Mr. Medina has grown in stature and is now described as one of the most successful labor organizers in the country. He became international executive vice-president of the Service Employees International Union in 1996, becoming the first Mexican-American elected to a top post at the 1.8 million-member union. He has helped make the SEIU the fastest-growing union on the West Coast and the largest in California. In the last decade, more than 900,000 workers across the country have joined the SEIU, which has the largest membership of immigrant workers of any U.S. union.

Louis Melendez
Vice-President of International Baseball Operations
Major League Baseball
Mr. Melendez was named vice-president of International Baseball Operations in the Office of the Commissioner for Major League Baseball in 2000, putting him in charge of the MLB teams' global events, among them the Olympics. Mr. Melendez, a New York native whose parents emigrated from Puerto Rico, was the general manager of Team Puerto Rico in the inaugural World Baseball Classic. Before his promotion, the 55-year-old Rutgers School of Law graduate spent 16 years in baseball's labor department.

Rafael Olmeda
President
National Association of Hispanic Journalists
Mr. Olmeda joined the National Association of Hispanic Journalists in 2000 and in June was elected its president. The Bronx native spent six years as a reporter for the New York Daily News covering his hometown before joining the South Florida Sun-Sentinel as a general assignment reporter in 1999. He moved up the ranks and is now assistant city editor at the paper. In 2004, Mr. Olmeda was part of a team of reporters nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the 2004 hurricane season. He is an adjunct professor of print journalism, general writing and grammar at Florida International University.

Oribe
Hairstylist
Innovative hairstylist Oribe's work has appeared in countless publications, including 400 covers for magazines such as Vogue, Elle and Harper's Bazaar. The first Cuban-born hairstylist to do couture shows in Paris and Milan, Oribe also has salons in New York City and Miami. Among his A-list clients are Jennifer Lopez, Gwyneth Paltrow and Penelope Cruz. He is also the only contemporary hairstylist to have a permanent exhibit at The New York Metropolitan Museum of Art, for which he created over 100 wigs portraying 500 years of hair fashion.

Jose Padilla
Executive Director
California Rural Legal Assistance
Mr. Padilla, the son of poor farmworkers in California's Imperial Valley, has overseen California Rural Legal Assistance, a nonprofit group that has provided legal aid to the poor, for the last 22 years. A 1974 Stanford graduate, he taught for Campesinos Unidos for a while until deciding he could be a better advocate as an attorney, and he entered University of California, Berkeley's Boalt Hall School of Law. He started as a staff attorney at CRLA, and now Mr. Padilla has an operating budget of $10 million and a staff of 138, which includes 51 attorneys.

Carlos Perez
Founder
Elastic People
Mr. Perez has been called the Hunter S. Thompson of the graphic design world: provocative, outrageous, and brazen. Mr. Perez has designed album covers, logos, Web sites, and music videos for Latin headliners such as Ricky Martin, Juan Luis Guerra, and Olga Tanon. In 2003, the San Juan native founded Elastic People, a Miami design firm that has collaborated with big-ticket clients such as Nike, Mercedes-Benz and Telemundo. Mr. Perez most recently wrapped up the design work for Mexican rock band Mana's Amar Es Combatir album.

Orlando Pita
Hairdresser
Mr. Pita has matured into a kind of celebrity in his own right, charging as much as $800 for a haircut. He has created looks for every designer from Michael Kors, Versace, Prada, Miu Miu, Valentino, Narciso Rodriguez and Dolce & Gabbana. His trend-setting work is featured regularly in Italian, French, British and American Vogue, W, Allure, Harper's Bazaar and many others, and he's done high-profile heads belonging to the likes of Julia Roberts, Julianne Moore, Madonna, Janet Jackson and Cher.

Arturo Rodriguez
President
United Farm Workers of America
The heir, both spiritually and literally, of Cesar Chavez, native Texan Mr. Rodriguez has helmed the United Farm Workers of America since its legendary founder died in 1993. Mr. Rodriguez started his journey with the pioneering California-based labor union in 1969 two decades earlier as a St. Mary's College student active in the famous grape boycott, and joined the union outright in 1973. He has kept the UFW's profile high through organizing as far afield as Washington and Florida, and has worked increasingly on legislative initiatives related to farmworker safety and immigration.

David Rodriguez
Fashion Designer
From his latest best-selling back-button jacket to his curve-flattering designs for stars like Oprah Winfrey, Mariah Carey and Jessica Alba, Mr. Rodriguez is a fashionista with fame growing in both the United States and Latin America. The 38-year-old native from the farm town of Indio, California studied at his home state's Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising before heading to the Big Apple, where he opened his own fashion house in 1998. He's since found success in boutiques, retail outlets like Saks, and among wardrobe designers for TV shows such as "Friends" and "Sex and the City." This fall he's been turning heads with his latest line, "David Rodriguez Red Label."

Rick Rodriguez
Executive Editor and Sr. VP
The Sacramento Bee
Becoming the first Hispanic to serve as president of the influential American Society of Newspaper Editors in 2005, Mr. Rodriguez has risen from his hometown paper, California's The Salinas Californian, to head a newsroom vying with that of the Los Angeles Times to be California's finest. A 1976 Stanford graduate, he joined the Bee in 1982 as a reporter in the Capitol bureau, rising through the ranks to become managing editor in 1993 and then taking the top job in 1998. He still ranks his interviews with Cesar Chavez and his coverage of California's farm labor movement his best moments in his reporting career.

Alex Soto
President
The Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America
With roots dating back to the earliest permanent Spanish settlement on Cuba, Mr. Soto's family has been wielding influence in the New World for half a millenium. In addition to his leadership of the 300,000-member Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America, Mr. Soto is president of his own insurance firm, Miami-based InSource, where he specializes in serving law firms and other professional organizations. A 1971 Florida State University graduate, he is also a trustee of the Archdiocese of Miami Trust and chairs the City of Coral Gables Cable Television Board.

Carlina Tapia-Ruano
President
American Immigration Lawyers Association
Ms. Tapia-Ruano, who founded the Chicago firm Tapia-Ruano & Gunn PC, has been concentrating on immigration law for more than two decades, and in June became the first Hispanic president of the almost 10,000-strong American Immigration Lawyers Association. A naturalized citizen from Cuba, Ms. Tapia-Ruano teaches immigration law at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law and at DePaul University College of Law in Chicago, the latter her alma mater for her law degree. In 2005 she received an honorary Doctorate of Law degree from Illinois Wesleyan University, where she had earned a bachelor's 28 years before.

Cynthia Ann Telles
Board of Directors
The California Endowment
Dr. Telles, director of the Spanish-Speaking Psychosocial Clinic of the Neuropsychiatric Institute and Hospital at the UCLA School of Medicine for the past two decades, just ended her two-year term as chair of The California Endowment – a 10-year-old private, statewide health foundation -- in April. She has held numerous appointed positions, ranging from being a commissioner for the city of Los Angeles to the National Advisory Council of Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Dr. Telles, a graduate of Boston University and Smith College, was president and founder of the Hispanic Health Foundation from 1988 to 1998.

Marisa Ugarte
Executive Director
Bilateral Safety Corridor Coalition
Ms. Ugarte has spent decades advocating for the safety of those who might be exploited sexually or otherwise, whether convening an annual anti-trafficking conference in San Diego, teaching crisis intervention at universities in San Diego and Xochicalco, Mexico, or as the leader of the Bilateral Safety Corridor Coalition. An alumnus of the San Francisco College for Women/USD and Dunbarton College of Holy Cross in Washington, D.C., she founded and ran social services programs in Tijuana and still advises the Mexican government on civil protection and crisis prevention.

ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

Renan Almendarez Coello
Radio Host
"El Cucuy de la Manana"
Spanish-language radio personality Renan Almendarez Coello -- known to Spanish-speaking listeners as "El Cucuy de la Manana," or the "morning bogeyman" -- launched an ambitious 10-city effort to register one million new voters before Election Day. He kicked off his cross-country Votos por América! tour in East San Jose, California, and finished in Washington, D.C. in August. The native Honduran hopes that he convinced immigrants to redirect the passion and energy aroused during the contentious immigration debate to the drive for voting rights.

Jenny Alonzo
Senior Vice President, Multicultural Strategies and Initiatives, Lifetime Television Networks
Ms. Alonzo was named to her current position with Lifetime Entertainment Services in September 2004, spearheading the multicultural strategy initiative aimed at increasing Lifetime's reach to diverse audiences. Since joining the network a decade ago, she has been a leader in promoting diversity, both at Lifetime and throughout the telecommunications industry. Ms. Alonzo is also the immediate past president (and first Hispanic female) of the board of directors of the National Association for Multi-Ethnicity in Communications. Most recently, she was selected to chair the National Latino Technology Awards in July.

Veronica Chambers
Author
As a writer whose words span the pages of novels, magazine articles, nonfiction, and children's books, Ms. Chambers has often tapped her mixed African and Panamanian heritage to good effect.

It certainly influenced one of her most recent and celebrated books, "Celia Cruz, Queen of Salsa."

"Growing up a black Latina, people always questioned my heritage. As a kid in Brooklyn, I loved hip-hop and double dutch and all the stuff that was 'black,' but I also loved my Panamanian culture, too. I loved salsa and empanadas and dreamed of having a quince," she explains. "Celia Cruz was, and always has been, a bridge for me between those two worlds."

Since interviewing Ms. Cruz for a Newsweek cover story, Ms. Chambers started putting together a picture book that has since been named the 2006 Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Young People, placed in the NYPL 100 Books for Reading and Sharing List, and made the Miami Herald's 2005 list of Best Books for Young Readers. Although Ms. Cruz passed away before she was able to present the book to her, Ms. Chambers established a Celia Cruz scholarship at her alma mater that gives music students the opportunity to take private voice lessons with a professor.

"I hope wherever she is, when she hears those students sing, Celia Cruz says, 'Azucar!'"

Ms. Chambers' other books have also garnered recognition. In 1996, she wrote a memoir about growing up, "Mama's Girl," that was an American Library Association Best Book of 1996. She has also written and edited for national magazines for 12 years, including the New York Times Magazine, Newsweek, Esquire, Vogue, Essence, and Travel and Leisure, among others. In October, she released a children's book, "Double Dutch: A Celebration of Jump Rope, Rhyme and Sisterhood."

This spring, Ms. Chambers will be working at the University of Hawaii, where she was invited to be a distinguished visiting writer.

Evelyn Cisneros-Legate
Director
Ballet Pacifica Academy
Evelyn Cisneros-Legate's appointment to director of the Ballet Pacific Academy this year was preceded by more than 20 years as a principal dancer for the San Francisco Ballet. She has performed the lead roles in classical ballets such as Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, Romeo and Juliet, and La Sylphide. Her talent led to her being featured on the covers of Dance Magazine and Ballet News, as well as honorary doctorate degrees from Mills College and the University of California at Monterey Bay. After retiring from the San Francisco Ballet in 1999, Ms. Cisneros-Legate was appointed ballet education coordinator in the San Francisco Ballet Center for Education.

Paquito D'Rivera
Jazz Musician, Composer, Writer

Cuban-born Mr. D'Rivera began playing the clarinet and the saxophone with the Cuban National Symphony Orchestra as a child with dreams of New York in his eyes. "Ever since I was a kid, I wanted to be a musician in the city of New York," he explains, looking back on his six Grammys and the 30 solo albums under his belt. Although he has achieved his dream and received numerous accolades for his work, it has come at a cost.

"In order to go to my own country, I have to get a visa," he says. "It's immoral to ask for a visa to go home. Eleven million Cubans are my family … I didn't want to do it in exile, but at least I am in a city, in a place I want."

Beginning his career as a teenager performing with various ensembles, Mr. D'Rivera worked as the co-director of Irakere, a jazz, rock, classical, and traditional Cuban music band that won a Grammy in 1979. Since then, he has received numerous awards, including the Clarinet of the Year 2004 award from the Jazz Journalists Association and a 2003 doctorate honoris causa in Music from the Berklee School of Music. In addition to touring the world with the Chamber Jazz Ensemble, the Paquito D'Rivera Big Band, and the Paquito D'Rivera Quintet, he has expanded onto the printed page, composing original music and writing books.

Currently in Warsaw for the 250th anniversary of Mozart, he has a book, "Portraits and Landscapes," in the works as well as an upcoming piece he's writing for world-renowned cellist Yo Yo Ma. With such a busy schedule, Mr. D'Rivera says, "My life is a tour … Playing music is my goal. The only thing I am missing is playing for my own people in my own country."

Gregorio Luke
Executive Director
Museum of Latin American Art
Since 1999, Mr. Luke has been the director of the Museum of Latin American Art. A Mexican art expert, he worked as the consul of cultural affairs at the Consulate General of Mexico and the first secretary of the embassy of Mexico in Washington, D.C. Mr. Luke was awarded a Mayoral Citation for the District of Columbia for promoting Mexican culture and the Irving Leonard Award from the Hispanic Society of the Library of Congress. He has given more than 500 lectures in museums and universities such as the Smithsonian Institution and Harvard.

Michele Martinez
Author
A rising literary star, this former federal prosecutor turned author recently released her second mystery novel, The Finishing School: A Novel of Suspense. Like Melanie Vargas, the main character in her novels, Ms. Martinez served as an assistant U.S. attorney for eight years, covering some of the rough-and-tumble areas of Brooklyn and Queens. After five years of juggling motherhood and her demanding job, the Harvard-educated mother of two had a dream about a fire that killed a lawyer leading a double life -- which became the opening scene in her debut thriller Most Wanted.

Carlos Mencia
Comedian, Star and Executive Producer
Mind of Mencia, on Comedy Central
Currently one of the most talked about comedians in the country -- his fourth CD was titled "Not for the Easily Offended" -- Mr. Mencia's "Mind Of Mencia" debuted on cable TV's Comedy Central in July 2005, and has seen its audience grow 50 percent, to 2.1 million, in its second season. The son of a Honduran father and Mexican mother, he was studying electrical engineering at Cal State Los Angeles when he launched his career after a successful amateur night appearance at a comedy club. Mr. Mencia went on to some success in both Spanish and English – "Funny is Funny" on Galavision, "Loco Slam" on HBO -- before a breakout special on Comedy Central in 2002 made him a household name.

Kenny Ortega
Choreographer and Director
High School Musical
Emmy winner Mr. Ortega is the choreographer and director of "High School Musical," the highest-rated movie in Disney Channel's history. But it's his feature-film and music video work that put the former actor on the map -- his energetic choreography shaped the way teens moved in 1980s films, from "Xanadu" to "Dirty Dancing." He is also an accomplished director of dramatic television programs that include "The Gilmore Girls" and "Chicago Hope." He is currently overseeing a production for Steve Wynn, the mastermind behind Bellagio, Mirage, and other Las Vegas resorts.

Eduardo Sotelo
Radio Host
El Piolin de la Manana
Whose radio show outpolls Howard Stern and Rush Limbaugh in 17 key markets with large Spanish-speaking communities? Tweety Bird, as Mr. Sotelo is nicknamed (in Spanish) for his morning-drive talk show. This year, the Mexican immigrant led a team of four competing DJs who put aside the red-eye pranks and woke up a larger community. Their on-air persuasiveness supersized Los Angeles' March 26 immigration rally, drawing almost a half million demonstrators to the powerful, yet peaceful, political statement that foreshadowed the national immigration rallies on May 1.

Hector Tobar
Writer/Journalist
Los Angeles Times
Mr. Tobar, Mexico City bureau chief for the Los Angeles Times, gained national prominence last year with the publication of his Translation Nation: Defining a New American Identity in the Spanish-Speaking United States. It wasn't his first book -- his 1998 novel Tattooed Soldier, set in L.A. before the 1992 riots, was a finalist for the PEN Center USA West Award for Fiction. The Los Angeles-born son of Guatemalan immigrants, Mr. Tobar's career has taken him around the world, from Baghdad to Easter Island. He is a graduate of the University of California at Santa Cruz and UC Irvine.

Jesus Salvador Trevino
Writer/Director
Having cut his teeth as a student activist with a Super 8 camera documenting el movimiento, as the Chicano civil rights movement of the 1960s and 70s was known, Mr. Trevino has established himself as a top-flight television director and writer. His credits range from popular science fiction series to "Prison Break," "Bones" and "Crossing Jordan," and he was recently co-executive producer of Showtime's "Resurrection Blvd." He published "Eyewitness -- A Filmmaker's Memoir of the Chicano Movement" in 2001 and his latest collection of short stories, "The Skyscraper that Flew," came out last year.

Eduardo Xol
Designer
ABC's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition
Mr. Xol's career dreams blossomed in East Los Angeles where he admired his grandmother's roses and his father's bonsai trees. But he was also a piano prodigy, and at age 11 played with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra under Zubin Mehta. In college he became involved in theater, appearing in films like "Zoot Suit" before heading to Mexico and becoming a teen singing sensation (and telenovela star) Edi Xol. Returning to L.A., he began working with community outreach programs and regained his love of gardening, eventually founding his own landscaping firm, Xol Creative.

Val Zavala
Anchor, Life and Times
VP of News and Public Affairs-KCET
Ms. Zavala, who joined Los Angeles's dynamic public television station KCET in 1987, is best known to the public as the anchor of the station's signature nightly newsmagazine, Life & Times.
She rose through the ranks at KCET, serving as reporter, anchor, documentary producer, and executive producer before taking her current leadership role overseeing other local series and specials. A graduate of both American University in Washington, D.C., and Yale, she is a trustee of Los Angeles' Mt. Saint Mary's College and a member of the Cal Arts Visiting Committee.

EDUCATION

Enrique Barrera
Chair, Department of Mechanical Engineering & Material Science
Rice University
Professor Barrera is a popular figure at materials conferences, with more than 80 speaking appearances, in addition to his more than 100 papers, proceedings, books, and chapters. Mr. Barrera leads a program at Rice that is directed toward moving underrepresented students in science and engineering to the Ph.D. level and the professoriate. With his Rice colleagues, he received the Presidential Award for Excellence in recognition of their work with minority students. Mr. Barrera also created a K-12 program, the Materials Magic Show, which he and his students presented to Texas-area schools.

Graciela Chichilnisky
UNESCO Chair of Mathematics & Economics
Columbia University
Leaving Argentina after a coup d'etat in Buenos Aires that led to the closing of the university she was to attend, Professor Chichilnisky made the impressive move in 1968 from high school to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Ph.D. program in mathematics. She proceeded to earn two additional Ph.D.s in mathematics and economics from the University of California at Berkeley and has a resume that boasts more than 200 scientific publications and 13 books. With a prolific career marked by innovation, Professor Chichilnisky's leadership spans the university and abroad. She works as a professor of statistics at Columbia University, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization's chair of mathematics and economics, director of Columbia's Center for Risk Management, and also created Columbia's Program on Information and Resources.

While working at the university, Professor Chichilnisky is currently suing Columbia for the second time concerning wage inequality between male and female professors. "This suit is a search for justice," she explains. "It is an attempt to bring this great educational institution into the 21st century, ceasing the persistent and cruel discrimination against women scholars, particularly in the sciences, and at the highest levels of achievement."

In addition to her work in academics, Professor Chichilnisky founded and served as CEO of two technology companies based in New York, London, and Tokyo. She also created the Global Market for Emissions Trading for the United Nations' greenhouse gas-reducing Kyoto Protocol, which became international law in 2005. She is currently a top contender for a Nobel Prize in Economics. Aside from all her professional accomplishments, Professor Chichilnisky considers her Hispanic presence as a leader in the professional world an essential aspect of her personal and professional development. "My human connection with the Latin culture has shaped my life, my values, and my family. The impact could not be stronger."

Francisco Cigarroa
President
University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio
A nationally renowned pediatric and transplant surgeon who received his education from Yale, Harvard, and Johns Hopkins universities, Dr. Francisco Cigarroa is the third president of the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. Before his appointment as president, Dr. Cigarroa was the director of pediatric surgery and abdominal organ transplant. His expertise in the medical field was recognized by President Bush, who appointed him as a member of the President's Committee on the National Medal of Science. He also serves on the Secretary of Health and Human Services' Advisory Council on Public Health Preparedness.

Jose Escarce
Professor of Medicine
David Geffen School of Medicine-UCLA
Mr. Escarce, a professor of medicine at UCLA's David Geffen School of Medicine and senior natural scientist at the RAND Corp., has dedicated his career to medical and healthcare research. At UCLA, Mr. Escarce conducts studies on racial and ethnic disparities in healthcare, the effects of technology on medicine, provider and patient behavior under economic incentives, and the impact of healthcare market structure on costs and quality. Mr. Escarce is a senior associate editor of Health Services Research and was a member of the Institute of Medicine's Committee on Understanding and Eliminating Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Health Care.

Hector Garcia-Molina
Leonard Bosack and Sandra Lerner Professor in the Departments of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering
Stanford University
Dr. Garcia-Molina conducts research on distributed computing systems, digital libraries, and database systems. Dr. Garcia-Molina has held various positions as chairman of Stanford's computer science department, director of the computer systems laboratory, and worked simultaneously as part of the faculty of the computer science department at Princeton University from 1979 to 1991. He received the 1999 ACM SIGMOD Innovations Award, and sits on the board of directors of Oracle and Kintera.

Tito Guerrero
VP and Associate Provost for Diversity
Texas A&M University
Dr. Guerrero joined Texas A&M University as vice-president and associate provost for diversity and is also a tenured professor in the educational administration and human resource development departments. His leadership extends beyond TAMU — Dr. Guerrero was president of Stephen F. Austin State University and president of the University of Southern Colorado from 1997 to 2001. He currently is an editorial board member for The Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education and SAM Advanced Management Journal.

Carlos Gutierrez
Professor of Chemistry
California State University, Los Angeles
With more than 29 years at Cal State LA, Professor Gutierrez directs its National Institute of Health Minority Access to Research Careers and has mentored more than 200 students. A nationally celebrated specialist in science education for underrepresented students, Dr. Gutierrez was one of four 2005 U.S. Professors of the Year Award winners and in 1996, he was among the first to receive the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring. He received the 2003 American Association for the Advancement of Science Lifetime Mentor Award.

Jose Roberto Juarez Jr.
Dean, Sturm College of Law
University of Denver
Mr. Juarez, Sturm College of Law's first Hispanic dean, is also a professor of law at St. Mary's University School of Law. Previously, he was the regional counsel and employment program director at the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund in Los Angeles and was a staff attorney at its San Antonio office. Currently, Mr. Juarez chairs the board of directors of the Journal of Law and Religion and is on the board of the Society of American Law Teachers, where he was co-president from 2004 to 2006.

Rafael La Porta
Professor of Finance
Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth
After receiving his Ph.D. in economics from Harvard in 1994 and remaining on the Harvard faculty until 2003, Dr. La Porta joined Tuck as a professor of finance. His research focuses on law and finance, allowing him to become an expert on cross-country differences in laws and practice pertaining to investor protection and how those differences cause economies, stock markets, and firms' financing practices to vary.

Linda Martin Alcoff
Professor of Philosophy, Women's Studies and Political Science
Syracuse University
With numerous books under her belt and another one in the works, the director of women's studies at Syracuse University has spread her knowledge beyond the university walls. She was recently named the "Distinguished Woman in Philosophy for 2005," from the Society for Women in Philosophy. Ms. Martin Alcoff, a former chair of the APA Committee on Hispanics/Latinos, has written dozens of articles on the politics of knowledge, gender and race identity, among others, and is currently at work on her sixth book, Visible Identities: Race, Gender and the Self.

Michael Pinedo
Chairman, IOMS Department
New York University Stern School of Business
In the last decade Mr. Pinedo has been involved in the development of cutting-edge industrial systems. He led the design, development, and implementation of two crucial planning and scheduling systems for the International Paper Company and was involved in the development of systems at consumers-electronics giant Philips Electronics, Siemens, and Merck. Before heading to NYU, Mr. Pinedo had taught at the Instituto Venezolano de Investigaciones Cientificas in Caracas and at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Ann Quiroz Gates
Professor and Chair, Computer Sciences Department
University of Texas at El Paso
Software guru Ms. Quiroz Gates went back to school after raising a family and working in the field, receiving a Ph.D. in computer science from New Mexico State University. The El Paso native spearheaded development of the Affinity Research Group model, a system designed to help retain underrepresented groups in research but has since proven to be applicable to any undergraduate who may lack the confidence to continue to graduate school. In 2003, she received the University of Texas Chancellor's Council Award for Outstanding Teaching.

Jorge Reina Schement
Distinguished Professor, College of Communications & the School of Information Sciences
Pennsylvania State University
Professor Schement's research focuses on the social and policy consequences of the production and consumption of information, and has resulted in books ranging from Global Networks to his 1979 Spanish-Language Radio in the Southwestern United States (he's from south Texas). That specialized interest has had broad impact -- he conducted the first study of the impact of minority ownership in broadcasting, and authored the initial telecommunications policy agenda for the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. Professor Schement has served on the editorial boards of 12 academic journals and is editor-in-chief of the Encyclopedia of Communication and Information.

Aileen Ugalde
VP, General Counsel & Secretary to the Board of Trustees
University of Miami
Ms. Ugalde assumed her new role as the university's chief legal officer in September, moving from her post as vice-president for government affairs and chief of staff to President Donna E. Shalala. A graduate of the university's law school, she practiced commercial before returning to her alma mater. She and her husband Joe Garcia in 2001 were named Miami's Best Power Couple by Miami New Times, which asked if they might have a leading role in a post-Castro Cuba.

Carmen Vazquez
Clinical Professor in Psychiatry
New York University School of Medicine
Dr. Vazquez is an authority on Latin American mental health, particularly bicultural lifestyles. She has written two books, Parenting with Pride Latino Style and with Dr. Rosa Gil, The Maria Paradox. The Queens College graduate consults, supervises, and teaches at Bellevue Hospital, where she was the director of the Institute for Multicultural Behavioral Health, director of The New York University-Bellevue Clinical Psychology Internship training program and founded and directed the Bilingual Treatment Program Clinic.

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