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Hispanic Achievers Gala Awards History


1999 Awards Recipients

Keynote Speaker
1999 International National Achiever of the Year
José Manuel Machado
President and Chief Executive Officer - Ford of Mexico

José Manuel Machado has been President and Chief Executive Officer - Ford of Mexico since February 1, 1997. He was also President of the Mexican Automotive Industry Association (AMIA) from March 17, 1997 to May 13, 1998.

José M. Machado was born in Spain on October 15, 1954. Graduated of Deusto University, in Spain, holds bachelors degrees in Law and Economics. Joined Ford of Spain on July 1, 1977 as a Graduate Trainee in Sales. From November 1977 to March 1985 held several supervisory and management positions in field and dealer operations, including Zone and District Manager, Sub Dealer Representation Programs Manager and Merchandising Plans Coordinator. In October 1985 was appointed as Marketing Specialist, Operations Coordination, for the Southern European Sales Group, Ford of Europe, based in England. From September 1987 to January 1995 was back in Spain, where he held the positions of Marketing Manager, Field Operations Manager and Director of Sales.

In February 1995, Mr. Machado was assigned to Ford Venezuela as Vice President of Sales, with responsibility for the Andean market (Venezuela, Colombia and Ecuador), and in January 1996 was elected as President of this South American Ford affiliate, where he remained in office until he assumed his present position.

Alfredo M. Arguello
General Electric Company

Alfredo is General Manager, XRAY Sales & Marketing, GE Medical Systems, Buc, France. He was born on August 12,1958 in Managua, Nicaragua. He attended Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York, and graduated with a B.S. Degree in Management Engineering in 1980, and a M.S. Degree in Management Engineering in 1981. Alfredo joined Data General Corporation in the manufacturing management program, and then held several management positions in the fabrication, assembly and testing of computer products. In 1988, Alfredo moved to Data General's Marketing organization as a product marketing specialist. Alfredo joined GE Medical Systems in 1990 as a member of the Field Service organization, including the positions of Florida Branch Service Manager, West Region Service Operations Manager, and West Region Technical Operations Manager. Later in 1995, Alfredo joined the X-Ray Marketing Team as Americas X-ray Marketing Manager. Alfredo has now rejoined GE Medical Systems in Europe as General Manager of Sales and Marketing responsible for a wide range of product offerings ranging from mammography to cardiology to neurology to surgery to traditional X-ray

Alfredo is married to Dreama and has three children, Christina (8), Martin (5) and Michael (4). Alfredo enjoys reading, history, travel, and spending time with his family.

Eddie Arredondo
Federal Express Corporation

Eddie joined FedEx in May of 1986 as a Sr. Personnel Representative in San Antonio, Texas. After two years he transferred to Dallas, Texas as the Sr. Personnel rep. until 6/91. In July of 1991 Eddie was promoted to Personnel Manager, Australia/New Zealand. He worked in Australia for one year and transferred back to Memphis, Tennessee as Personnel Manager in the Hub. He worked in the Hub from 8/92 until 7/95. In August of 1995 he became a Manager in the Employee Relations department. After 8 months as the Employee Relations Manager he was promoted to Managing Director, Southwestern Region Personnel Services.

1999 National Manager Achiever of the Year
Carlos Ayala
Brown-Forman Beverages Worldwide

Carlos Ayala is the National Ethnic Marketing Manager for Brown Forman Beverages Worldwide. Brown-Forman produces and markets many of the most well known and best loved wines and spirits in the world. They include Jack Daniel's, Canadian Mist, Southern Comfort, Early Times, Korbel champagnes, Fetzer wines, and Bolla wines. In this position, he is responsible for management of the Hispanic Consumer Initiative.

Carlos previously worked for HomeSystems Inc. where he was Director of Marketing. Prior to that, he worked with Anheuser-Busch where he held various positions, including managing regional Hispanic marketing programs for the Budweiser family of brands. Early in his career, Carlos also served as a Presidential Appointee in the administration of President George Bush at the Department of Commerce where he held the position of Special Assistant to the Secretary of Commerce.

Carlos earned a Bachelor of Arts degrees in both Political Science and History from Davis and Elkins College and plans to pursue a masters degree in the near future.

Marilyn Blanco-Reyes
Federal Express Corporation

Managing Director and Regional Counsel for Latin America and Caribbean Division of FedEx Responsible for the legal affairs of the Corporation and its branches and subsidiaries within the Division. Joined the Company in August of 1995 as an International Staff Attorney.

In August of 1996 promoted to Senior Attorney International

In August 1997 promoted to Managing Director

In August 1998 Received Corporation's Five-Star Award

Prior to joining FedEx, practiced law as an international attorney in one of Brazil's major law firms in Sao Paulo, and with two prominent Florida law firms in Miami. MBR has a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations from Florida International University and a Juris Doctor from the University of Miami School of Law where she graduated Cum Laude.

1999 Western Hemisphere National Achiever of the Year
Juan N. Cento
Federal Express Corporation

Juan N. Cento, Vice President - Mexico and Central America for Federal Express Corporation is responsible for all operations and strategic planning for this region, which is headquartered in Mexico City.

Prior to joining Federal Express in 1989 as Managing Director for South and Central America based in Sao Paulo Brazil, he was General Manager of Flying Tigers Line Inc., for Latin America. Mr. Cento has 24 years of experience in the air cargo and express transportation industry.

Mr. Cento attended Miami Dade Community College and Florida International University Business Schools in Miami. In 1998-1999 he was President of Anmec (Asociacion Nacional Mexicana de Empresas Courier).

Julio Colomba
Federal Express Corporation

Julio Colomba began his career with FedEx in 1977, as a courier. He was promoted to Supervisor in 1979 and then promoted again in 1980 to Station Operations Manager. Working his way up the ranks through various positions, he was eventually promoted to Managing Director Operations in the Liberty District, a position he held for close to 10 years. In March of 1996, he joined the Latin America Caribbean Division, as Vice President Operations, South America and Caribbean. His educational background includes attending the State University of New York in Farmingdale.

Leonardo Colon, Jr.
ABC, Inc.

Lenny Colon serves as ESPN International's Spanish Language Supervisor, a position he has held since 1994. He is responsible for supervising, auditioning and evaluating all voice-over commentators for their network's Spanish service.

Colon had been Associate Director of ESPN International (1991-94), where he assisted in the coordination, preparation and production of adding Spanish language to existing programs on ESPN's domestic service.

Colon graduated from the University of Bridgeport in 1980 with a bachelor of Science degree in Broadcast Communications and Journalism.

A native of Puerto Rico, Colon was born May 12, 1958, and is married with two children, Lenny and Jonathan.

Philip Echevarrio
KeySpan Energy

Philip Echevarrio began his career as an engineer in 1984, and he joined KeySpan Energy in 1987. He has held various positions including Budget and Control Engineer, Field Coordinator, and Field Supervisor. He is currently Acting Area Supervisor in Gas Construction and Maintenance. His responsibilities include managing a staff of 50 that are dedicated to the installation and maintenance of the natural gas transmission and distribution system in the Queens-Nassau Division. Philip has recently been promoted to the position of Regional Engineer. Philip is the head to the Gas Construction and Maintenance Truck Committee, and is the head of the Queens- Nassau Division Culture Committee. The culture committee has held food and clothing drives for the local community, they have visited a United Way social center for disadvantage youths in Hempstead, and they attended a transportation day at a local child care center. Philip has organized divisional barbecues and holiday lunches to celebrate our ethnic cultures and recognize personnel achievements in the division.

In 1984, Philip was also commissioned as a Naval Reserve Officer. He has been actively drilling for the past 15 years, and he has risen to the rank of Lieutenant Commander. He has served on numerous naval exercises in the U.S. and abroad including England, Singapore, Italy, Panama, and Canada.

Philip is a graduate of the United States Merchant Marine Academy at Kings Point. He resides in Great River with his wife Denise and son Andrew.

Jorge Figueras

Jorge Figueras began his professional sales career at Colgate-Palmolive in June of 1980 and he has held several positions of increasing responsibility and leadership up to his most current position of Regional Marketing Manager.

Jorge is a key member of the Southern Region team that helped lead the region to four consecutive quarters of exceeding the assigned volume and net dollar sales quota during 1998.

Jorge's leadership in managing the Region's $40+ million trade marketing budget resulted in improved spending efficiencies and a financially balanced trade spending budget for the full year of 1998.

Jorge's significant contributions to the Southern Region and to the US Customer Development Organization resulted in "Manager of the Year" recognition in 1998.

In addition, Jorge's involvement in the development of the US Company's "Import Brands" business strategy and the successful execution of the same resulted in the Colgate Chairman's "You Can Make a Difference" award recognition.

Juan Flores
JCPenney Company, Inc.

Juan Flores is the Store Manager in Pikeville, Kentucky. After joining JCPenney in 1979, he has held several positions ranging from Merchandise Manager to Store Manager. As manager of a $10 + million store, he was most recently named "Store Manager of the Year" out of 28 stores in his district.

His positive attitude is consistently present as he strives to motivate and build his team, as well as support the community. Juan's district often refers to him a "Mr. Positive".

Dr. Cesar A. Gonzales

Dr. Gonzales manages the research and development organizations of the Digital Video Products Group, a 100 people business unit that develops technology and applications for digital TV. In particular, he has led IBM's development of chips and systems that implement the MPEG-2 standard for digital television. Dr. Gonzales is an expert in image and video processing and compression; his experience spans the development of algorithms, chip and system architectures, and multimedia applications. He is a co-inventor of various still-frame and motion video compression techniques that IBM contributed to the JPEG and MPEG international standards. He has a number of patents and publications related to these techniques. While at IBM, he received multiple Outstanding Achievement awards, including a Corporate level award for his contributions to IBM's MPEG products. In June of 1998 Dr. Gonzales was named an IBM Fellow. He is also a member of IBM's Academy of Technology, and has twice been named Master Inventor for his contributions to IBM's patent portfolio. Prior to coming to IBM, Dr. Gonzales worked on radar signal processing and physics of the ionosphere at the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico.

Dr. Gonzales received his BS and engineering degrees from the University of Engineering (UNI) in Peru and his Ph.D from Cornell University, all in Electrical Engineering.

Brenda Calderon Griebert

Brenda Calderon Griebert joined TIAA-CREF in November of 1987. She began her career in the Retirement Services division. She counseled College and University Administrators in upstate New York on pension plan design issues while also marketing TIAA-CREF products and services. Brenda was instrumental in creating statewide community seminars for TIAA-CREF institutions to explain changes in federal law that affected individuals savings for retirement.

In 1998, Brenda joined the newly created Tuition Financing Division to market and encourage employers to participate in New York's College Savings Program, a state program designed to encourage individuals to save for higher education. Brenda assisted in creating the final presentation to the State of New York which led to TIAA winning the bid to be the sole Administrator and Investment Manager for the Program.

Richardo Hernandez
DaimlerChrysler Corporation

Ricardo Hernandez began his career at DaimlerChrysler (formerly Chrysler Corporation) in 1983 as an Investment Analysis Supervisor for Chrysler de Mexico (a subsidiary of Chrysler Corporation). In 1987, he accepted a position as a Corporate Finance Analyst in the United States primarily to improve communication between Chrysler de Mexico and Corporate Finance. Since that time, he has held a number of increasingly responsible positions including, in 1989, becoming the first finance member of the newly created Truck Platform Team for the launch of the 1993 Dodge Ram Pickup Truck. Shortly after, he transferred back to Mexico and had responsibility for all financial activities related to the launch of the Ram Truck, Neon, Stratus and Cirrus for the Mexican Market and the Sebring Convertible for export to the North American Market. His return to Detroit, Michigan in 1995 placed him in charge of implementing Activity Based Costing (ABC) models at all manufacturing and assembly plants in the United States and Canada. Currently, he is a Senior Manager, Minivan Product Financial Analysis. He is an outstanding coach and mentor at work and regularly shares his knowledge and experience in ABC as a guest speaker in MBA classes at Wayne State University. Mr. Hernandez received his MBA from the Institut Supeneur des Affaires in Jouy-en-Josas (ISA), France in 1983 and is fluent in Spanish, English and French. His contributions to the cost, investment and profitability of current and future products are evident of his thorough understanding of the automotive business and commitment to continuous improvement.

Orlando D. Montan
Bell Atlantic

Orlando is a Senior Specialist for Network Services, Quality Metrics, Bell Atlantic, New York. The impact that Orlando has on Bell Atlantic is that the successful accomplishments of his responsibilities are critical to our entrance into the Long Distance Market. In addition, Orlando's voluntary work with the Hispanic Support Organization at Bell Atlantic, Dominican American Chamber of Commerce, Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers and Junior Achievement reinforce his commitment to the community that we serve. But more importantly emphasizes Bell Atlantic's role as a Good Corporate Citizen.

Leon A. Moreno

Leon A. Moreno is an Agricultural Investments Consultant with MetLife where he began employment on January 15,1990. He currently works out of the Western Regional Office in Fresno, California and his primary responsibilities with MetLife include the solicitation and servicing of agricultural investments in the Central San Joaquin Valley and Central Coast of California. Other responsibilities include solicitation and submission of loan proposals of most complex credits, appraisal of farm real estate, the handling of internal and external customer inquires including maintenance of good customer relations, provide recommendations in handling non-performing assets; analyze the acquisition and selling of properties on behalf of the Company.

Dr. Ricardo Ochoa
Pfizer, Inc.

Ricardo became founder and first President of the Hispanic Network Group at Pfizer in 1998. The group has since become involved in community affairs such as mentoring in high schools regarding high achievement; coordinating disaster relief funds for residents of South America; and influencing balanced work force efforts within the division by participating in University visits and hosting high school students for an on-campus visit complete with a tour and guest speakers about career opportunities at Pfizer.

Dr. Claudio Ortiz

Dr. Claudio Ortiz is a Technical Associate in the Global Mennen Technology Organization. He joined Colgate in advanced technology soap bars in August, 1992 and transferred to Underarm Protection (UAP) technology in early 1995. Claudio is highly regarded as an extremely astute, dedicated scientist who remains composed even under stressful circumstances. He is an excellent communicator and role model, and often mentioned as a good example for others. His outstanding capacity for leadership, project management and proactivity has been demonstrated in many different areas

Andres Otano
Pfizer, Inc.

In 1991, Andres joined Pfizer as representative with the newly formed Pratt division in the Great Lakes Region, and was promoted to Cardiovascular Specialty Representative in 1994 in Newark New Jersey. In 1995, another promotion brought him to Dallas -Ft. Worth as the Assistant to the Regional Manager for the Cardiovascular Group. A year and a half later he was promoted to Mid-Atlantic District Manager for the Cardiovascular Group. And was promoted to his current position as Associate Director of Sales Operations, Specialty Division Oct 1998. He has achieved numerous annual and quarterly sales awards during his 8 years with Pfizer.

Janet C. Rodriguez
Pfizer, Inc.

Janet has a high degree of "Integrity" and she always tries to do the "right thing". Her "Leadership" has served her well as an IHR for the Labs Manhattan district, Labs Northeast Region ARM, and Labs Long Island District Manager. In her current position she has quickly earned respect from her Healthcare Representatives and they have responded by assisting Janet to first District Manager VPMC Award, a true reflection of solid "Performance". Janet demonstrates her "Respect for people" in many ways. This includes her daily coaching for improving performance, to her support of individual goals, which included a transfer to the Ped Field Force for her IHR, a promotion for an HR to IHR for another District, and a promotion of a senior representative to SPHC.

Janet also effectively utilizes the talents of her 3 "Masters" to assist her leadership efforts in the District.

Valerie Santiago
United Parcel Service

Operations Manager

Dora L. Torres
Bell Atlantic

Dora is the Staff Manager for External Affairs - Community Affairs, Bell Atlantic - New York. Dora manages numerous admin. functions, supports 20+ field managers, manages computer/technical needs, oversees database functions and serves as expert for foreign language translations.

Dora has become our goodwill ambassador, not only to the Hispanic Community but to seniors, people with disabilities, low income and new emigrants. Dora represents the best of Bell Atlantic.

Cesar Valenzuela
Federal Express Corporation

Cesar Valenzuela began his career with Fedex in 1975 as a Ramp Agent/Courier. Since then he has held positions as an operations manager in 1981, senior manager stations operations, 1982, senior manager/management preceptor in the FedEx Leadership Institute, 1989, senior manager, station operations, 1990. Currently he is managing director, Alamo District where he is responsible for ground operations in South and Central Texas.