Chairman and CEO
Ben Gutierrez was the sixth child of 13 children born into a migrant family during the Great Depression. Ben learned quickly that he had to contribute to the well being of his family and began his first job at the age of 5 as a shoeshine boy. Throughout his childhood and teen years he worked multiple jobs simultaneously while attending school in order to contribute to the well being of his family.
Prior to entering the business world, he served in World War II in the U.S. Army Air Corps, 33rd Squadron, 22nd Bomb Group, Fifth Air Force, and received an honorable discharge, becoming a service-disabled veteran as a result of his service time.
He worked his way up from the Ford Motor Co. production lines to multiple engineering/purchasing management positions over 29 years while pursuing an engineering degree at the University of Michigan. During this time he began supporting and sponsoring minority small businesses by helping to source business to them.
He later began a very successful manufactures’ representative organization as the CEO of Global Trading Group, where he represented many minority small businesses and helped them to grow. He also created multiple small businesses over the next 30 years and consistently hired minorities to mentor them.
At the same time Mr. Gutierrez worked closely with the U.S. Office of the Secretary of Foreign Relations under the Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush administrations assisting Mexican and Hispanic American companies in their business endeavors.
Mr. Gutierrez was founder and president of the Michigan Tri-County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, which later became the Michigan Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. He was also a founding member of the U. S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Six years ago, his company, Gutierrez-McMullen Industries, became the fi rst Hispanic company to sponsor a major meal event at the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce National Conference by contributing $150,000 and setting an example for all other Hispanic companies in the future.
Ben is now 90 years young and is still helping to mentor minority businesses. He currently serves as senior advisor to David Segura, CEO of VisionIT, one of the largest and fastest growing Hispanic businesses in the nation. He has helped VisionIT establish multiple business offices in Mexico City, and also establish a world-class technical office in Puebla, Mexico.
Known as “Tio Ben” (Uncle Ben) by the many friends and family he has mentored, Mr. Gutierrez will tell you he looks forward to continuing to contribute during the next 10 years by mentoring minority businesses.
Ben currently lives in Au Gres, Mich., with his wife Frances.
George C. Fraser founded FraserNet company some 20 years ago with the vision to lead a global networking movement that brings together diverse human resources to increase opportunities for people of African descent. He is considered by many to be a new voice for African Americans and one of the foremost authorities on economic development, networking and building effective relationships.
While Mr. Fraser’s accomplishments are significant, his beginnings were very humble. He was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., into a family of 11 children. He was orphaned at 3 and spent 14 years in foster homes. Growing up on the streets of New York he had little hope and no expectations.
Ignoring the advice of a guidance counselor to drop out of high school, he graduated with a vocational diploma in woodworking because the school system did not consider him college material. He mopped floors on the midnight shift at LaGuardia Airport, while paying his way through college, and.the rest is history.
Mr. Fraser went on to leadership positions with Procter & Gamble, the United Way, and Ford Motor Company, eventually becoming the author of three critically acclaimed books: Success Runs In Our Race; The Complete Guide to Effective Networking in the African American Community, Race For Success; The Ten Best Business Opportunities for Blacks In America and the most recent, Click: Ten Truths to Building Extraordinary Relationships.
Mr. Fraser is also the publisher of the award-winning SuccessGuide Worldwide: The Networking Guide to Black Resources. He is the founder of the annual PowerNetworking Conference, where thousands of African American professionals, business owners, and community leaders gather to discuss and do business with each other.
Mr. Fraser is the chairman of Phoenix Village Academy, a compilation of three afro-centric charter schools that serve Cleveland and Akron inner city children. A popular speaker and author, George C. Fraser’s inspiring talks on success principles, effective networking, wealth creation, business ethics, and valuing diversity, are as popular among corporate professionals as they are among college students.
Media as diverse as CNN and the Wall Street Journal solicit his views. Over the past decade, the prestigious publication, Vital Speeches of the Day, has selected, reprinted and distributed worldwide, five of Mr. Fraser’s speeches-a first for any professional speaker in America, regardless of color.
UPSCALE magazine named him one of the Top 50 Power Brokers in Black America. Black Enterprise Magazine called him Black America’s #1 Networker and featured him on a cover issue. Personal growth “guru” Stephen Covey called Mr. Fraser a “masterful teacher.”
TV host and journalist, Tavis Smiley called him a “visionary with the rare combination of leadership and management skills.” Mr. Fraser was featured in the New York Times-bestseller, Masters of Networking, along with former Secretary of State Colin Powell. He was awarded an honorary doctorate degree of humane letters from Jarvis Christian College
Mr. Fraser has been married to Nora Jean for 35 years. They have two sons, Kyle and Scott.
National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC)
A native of Louisville, Kentucky, Al Dawson received his undergraduate degree from Virginia State University and his master’s degree from the University of Louisville. He served as an officer in the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers in Germany from 1960 to 1963.
As one of the founding members of the National Minority Supplier Development Council, he served in virtually every position of leadership in the organization until his retirement after 25 years in 1997.
Those positions included president and chief executive offi cer of the New York/New Jersey Purchasing Council; vice president of Northeast Region, NMSDC; a member of National Board of Directors and the Executive Committee; chairman of the General Assembly of Councils; and chairman of the Orange County Regional Purchasing Council (California).
When the NMSDC was formed in Washington, D.C. in 1974, Mr. Dawson drafted its first charter or Scope of Work, which guided the activities of all councils.
Newport Beach, Calif., which later merged with Lockheed Martin Aerospace. His program received the rating of “Outstanding” for 16 consecutive years by the U.S. Small Business Administration. In 1984, Mr. Dawson received the Small Business Administration Corporate Leadership Award from President Ronald Regan at the White House, Washington, D.C.
Today, Al is retired and resides with his wife Lee in Aliso Viejo, Calif. He has one daughter, Raven (Jessica) Dawson who lives in San Clemente, Calif.
President and CEO
Linda Alvarado heads Alvarado Construction, Inc., a commercial general contractor, construction manager, development, design/build, and property management firm. Based in Denver, Colo., the company has offices in several states. Alvarado Construction has successfully developed and constructed projects across America and internationally.
Ms. Alvarado is a founding member and past chairman of the board of the Denver Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and has served as a commissioner of the White House Initiative for Hispanic Excellence in Education.
In keeping with breaking non-traditional roles, Ms. Alvarado made history as the fi rst Hispanic (male or female) owner of a Major League Baseball Franchise. As an owner of The Colorado Rockies, her role is also signifi cant, as it marks the first time any woman was involved in a bid for ownership of a major league baseball team.
Linda Alvarado is a member of the boards of 3M Company and Pitney Bowes. She previously served on the board of directors of Pepsi Bottling Group, Lennox International, Qwest Communications, Cyprus Amex Minerals and the United Banks of Colorado. She has served on the board of trustees of Rose Community Foundation, Qwest Communications Foundation, and Taco Bell Foundation and is a founding member of Colorado Latino Community Foundation.
Alvarado Construction projects include INVESCO Field, the Phoenix and Colorado Convention Centers, the Denver Aquarium, The Bernard Valdez Hispanic Heritage Center and the 37-story Hyatt Convention Center Hotel. Alvarado Construction was the lead construction manager/general contractor for the extensive remodel and restoration of the Pepsi Center, venue for the 2008 Democratic National Convention.
Ms. Alvarado is the focus of many articles in newspapers, books, business publications, educational curriculums, and civics texts. She has appeared on the cover of several national magazines and was featured in numerous media broadcast productions. She has set high standards as a successful business owner, and her accomplishments have opened doors for women and minorities to enter new careers.
Her leadership in business, civic, and charitable organizations has led to recognition with numerous awards. She is a recipient of the Horatio Alger Award and was honored along with U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno and Maya Angelou as a recipient of the prestigious Sara Lee Corporation Frontrunner Award for exemplary achievement and leadership.
Viewers voted her the Most Inspiring Latino in America for the 2009 American Latino Television Awards. She was an inductee in the National Women’s Hall of Fame, and was named one of the 100 Most Influential Hispanics in America by Hispanic Business Magazine and Latino Leaders Magazine. Ms. Alvarado was honored twice as the recipient of the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Businesswoman of the Year and The Revlon Business Woman of the Year. She is a recipient of the National Minority Supplier Development Council Leadership Award, the National Society of Hispanic MBA’s Brillante Award, the Martin Luther King Social Responsibility Award by the Colorado MLK Commission, and the National Association of Minority Engineers Visionary Award.