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U.S. Small Business Administration
Hector V. Barreto is a nationally recognized businessman and community leader. As a young man, he helped his father manage the family businesses. After receiving his bachelor's degree in business administration from Rockhurst University in Kansas City, Missouri, he worked for the Miller Brewing Company as the South Texas Area Manager. In 1986, he moved to California and founded Barreto Insurance and Financial Services.
Appointed by President George W. Bush and unanimously approved by the United States Senate on July 25, 2001, he served five years as the administrator of the U. S. Small Business Administration. During his stewardship, the SBA exceeded all previous records in small-business loans, women and minority-owned business support, disaster relief and private-public sector procurement opportunities.
Notable accomplishments include serving as the chairman of The Latino Coalition, a national organization representing Latino interests with senior executives of many Fortune 500 companies and government agencies. He has also been elected to the national board of the United States Chamber of Commerce. Founder of "Tributo a mi Padre, Tequila" in honor of his late father Hector Barreto Sr., he is also the founder and president of Barreto Associates, a Southern California-based international business consulting firm developing relationships among major corporations, government agencies and small businesses.
In addition, Mr. Barreto was the founder and former chairman of Business Matchmaking, a leading non-prof it small business procurement program. Business Matchmaking brings together countless entrepreneurs, including women-, minority- and veteran-owned small business owners with procurement representatives of federal and local government agencies and several hundred major corporations. Since its inception, Business Matchmaking has been responsible for over 80,000 face-to-face meetings and facilitated the granting of more than $80 billion in verifiable contracts for small firms.
Mr. Barreto is the former vice chairman of the United States Hispanic Chamber (founded by his father, Hector Barreto Sr.) and the past chairman of the board of the Latin Business Association in Los Angeles. During his term, he increased membership by 50 percent, doubled revenues and substantially increased procurement opportunities for entrepreneurs.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger appointed him to serve as commissioner on the California Commission for Economic Development. In addition, he has received special recognition from the U.S. Congress, the California State Senate and Assembly, the County of Los Angeles, the YMCA and the American Red Cross. In 2006, President Vicente Fox of Mexico honored him with the prestigious Aguila Azteca award, the highest recognition bestowed to a citizen of another country. He is frequently identified in key publications as one the most influential Hispanic business leaders in the country.
His book, The Engine of America provides motivation and inspiration for entrepreneurs through the stories and ideas of business leaders.
Mr. Barreto resides in Southern California with his wife Robin, son and two daughters.
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.
Tobin & Associates
Patricia “Pat” Tobin founded Tobin & Associates in 1983 and with her vision, commitment and unique brand molded it into one of the most prominent African-American, woman-owned public relations firms in the nation. A media and community relations icon, Tobin started the agency after she realized both the impact and the power of the African American consumer when few major advertisers of corporations were acknowledging this segment of the population.
Her entrepreneurial spirit propelled her from a one-woman shop run from a kitchen table into a multifaceted enterprise. Tobin & Associates marked its silver anniversary in 2008, the year of Tobin’s untimely death.
A stalwart activist, Tobin was enthusiastic about causes surrounding minorities, women and youth and consequently helped to create opportunities for underserved consumers and communities that brought about corporate investment and philanthropy for important causes.
What set Tobin & Associates apart was Tobin’s outstanding combination of expertise in multicultural markets and skills in public relations, marketing, community outreach and event coordination. She was the co-founder of National Black Public Relations Society, which nurtured careers of many other minority men and women who would follow.
In an industry where few minorities had found success, Tobin understood the difficulty lay in winning clients and helping them understand the value of seeking the expertise of a specialty firm that could expand their image, reputation and sales among ethnic consumers.
“Public relations is a highly competitive industry, and it is hard to win new clients,” Tobin explained. “Many large corporations are expanding their internal community and public relations departments and many do not, or choose not, to see the value an outside agency.”
However, two decades ago Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. saw the benefit of a business association with Tobin & Associates that would help them develop a significant level of brand loyalty within the black community. That relationship proved to be lasting and genuine, with Tobin & Associates continuing to consult with Toyota on the community and public relations activities among African Americans.
The firm’s past and current client list includes Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.; Nestlé U.S.A.; Reebok International, Ltd.; 100 Black Men of Los Angeles; filmmakers Spike Lee and Kevin Hooks; Judge Mablean Ephraim of TV's “Divorce Court”; Walt Disney Feature Animation; and Sony Music Entertainment Inc. She also managed political and corporate clients like Rep. Maxine Waters, D-CA; Fitzgerald’s Casino owner Don Barden and the late Johnnie Cochran.
Founder and Chairman Group O
Business leaders who know the “who’s who” in the business world understand that Robert “Bob” Ontiveros is an American success story hailed by communities of color and mainstream business leaders from across the country.
Since founding Group O in 1974 in Milan, Ill., Ontiveros has built a company with a global reach focused on putting the customer first in every area of Group O’s operations. This focus on excellence has allowed the company to grow three separate divisions, Group O’s Packaging Solutions, Supply Chain Solutions and Marketing Solutions.
Leading a business like Group O, with over 1,300 employees and multiple locations, requires courage, hard work, commitment, discipline, passion and a belief in teamwork — all attributes associated with Bob Ontiveros as a person, husband, father, grandfather and community leader.
Ontiveros’ character and success were developed by the events that transpired during his formative years. The seeds of his capabilities were sown when he was a young boy from a large family growing up in Moline, Ill.
At the age of 12, he sold fragrant sachets that people would put in their dresser drawers to add a scent of quality to their homes. Early on, he said, “I was always in the streets looking for opportunities to sell goods people would buy.” Ontiveros added to his street smarts by acquiring a formal education, attending the local community college and then received further education from the University of Cincinnati. Upon completion, he went to work at Dun and Bradstreet where he sold credit and collection services.
After successfully selling goods for other companies, the entrepreneurial nudge claimed his working identity. In 1974, with the support of his wife, Blenda, he founded Group O’s Bi-State Packaging at the height of a global oil crisis. The Oil Embargo of 1974 taught Ontiveros not to worry about global events that were out of his control. He knew he could control how hard he worked, how to prepare and how to focus on the needs of his customers, employees and family.
Family is a key value to Ontiveros. He sees the value of providing for his immediate family and has helped his sons become business leaders in their own right. He also sees that same family value in his company, community and customers.
The entrepreneurial prosperity that Ontiveros has experienced through the years has allowed him to transfer his business leadership into community leadership for the benefit of others. He has been instrumental in founding and developing the local Boys and Girls Club, Junior Achievement and the Greater Quad Cities Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. On a national scale Ontiveros has provided business insight on national policies for elected and appointed officials.
The business and community accomplishments of Robert “Bob” Ontiveros reflect the collective mission and commitment to excellence of the Minority Business Hall of Fame, UCLA’s Anderson School of Management and that of Minority Business Hall of Fame’s founding sponsor PepsiCo. Group O’s success is an American Success.
Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation
Urban Entrepreneur Partnership
The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation was established in the mid-1960s by the late entrepreneur and philanthropist Ewing Marion Kauffman. Based in Kansas City, Mo., the Kauffman Foundation is among the 30 largest foundations in the United States with an asset base of approximately $2 billion.
Its vision is to foster “a society of economically independent individuals who are engaged citizens, contributing to the improvement of their communities.” In service of this vision, and in keeping with the founder’s wishes, it focuses its grant making and operations on two areas: advancing entrepreneurship and improving the education of children and youth. The foundation carries out its mission through four programmatic areas: entrepreneurship, advancing innovation, education and research and policy.
Decision-makers at Urban Entrepreneur Partnership (UEP) Inc. believe the entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well in every American community, even long-neglected and economically underserved urban areas. Yet research indicates minority populations start and grow businesses at lower rates than other demographic groups, and on average, minority-owned businesses tend to be smaller and less profitable than other businesses.
Acting in direct response to these findings, the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation consulted with academic and business experts across the country to design an educational model addressing key elements of entrepreneurial success. In 2005, partnering with the White House and the Business Roundtable, an association of leading CEOs, Kauffman launched the Urban Entrepreneur Partnership with the specific goal of fostering minority entrepreneurship in urban-core communities.
Following the devastation of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita later in 2005, the UEP added a specially tailored version of its program – the UEP Gulf Coast Inc. – to help revitalize economies and rebuild communities affected by the storms. In response to the fallout in the auto industry, UEP developed a program in Detroit – UEP 150 – that works with minority auto suppliers to help them retool to manufacture products for new industries.
The resulting UEP centers provide business education and personalized one-to-one coaching, as well as access to financing and procurement opportunities for new and existing minority and urban businesses. UEP leaders believe that this unique program will increase the number of profitable, sustainable minority-owned businesses in urban neighborhoods, creating the wealth and jobs needed to strengthen the economy. The Kauffman Foundation empowers individuals to attain economic independence by advancing educational achievement and entrepreneurial success.
Founder and Publisher
Ginger Conrad founded MBE (Minority Business Entrepreneur) magazine in 1984.The Los Angeles-based bimonthly magazine has grown from a circulation of 12,000 to its current distribution of 40,000 to minority and women business owners nationwide, as well as to readers in corporations and government agencies who are concerned with minority/women enterprise development.
MBE examines procurement and contracting programs in the public and private sectors and features success stories of entrepreneurs whose accomplishments may serve to inspire others.
Conrad has more than 40 years of experience in magazine publishing and is the sole proprietor of MBE. Prior to starting MBE, she worked in the publishing industry in various key positions, which include associate publisher for Showcase USA (an export trade publication) and the IEEE Computer Society’s publications.
A recognized expert on business development issues, Conrad has appeared on nationally syndicated television and radio programs. She has been a panelist or speaker at events sponsored by numerous organizations that include the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Institute for Supply Management, the National Association of Minority Contractors, the National Minority Supplier Development Council, the Minority Business Enterprise Legal Defense and Education Fund and the New Ventures Conference 2000.
Highly regarded as a dedicated media advocate for minority and women’s enterprise development, Conrad has been honored by the public and private sectors for her many efforts and outstanding achievements. She’s received awards from the Small Business Administration, the National Minority Business Council, the National Association of Purchasing Management and the U.S. Minority Business Development Agency, among others.
Conrad is actively involved in leadership positions in various organizations, including the board of directors for the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council and the Institute for Supply Management’s Supplier Diversity Group board of directors. She is a former member of the Minority Business Resource Advisory Committee for NASA.
She has a bachelor of arts degree with a major in theatre from Valparaiso University, Valparaiso, Indiana.
Wayne State University
Timothy Bates, an authority on minority business development and entrepreneurship, formerly served in a joint appointment as professor of economics and professor of labor and urban affairs at Wayne State University in the College of Urban, Labor and Metropolitan Affairs.
Bates has written several landmark books on minority business, including Race, Upward Mobility and Self-Employment and Banking on Black Enterprise (now in its fifth printing). Recent shorter monographs include Evaluating the Performance of the Minority-Oriented Venture Capital Industry and Venture-Capital Investments in Minority Businesses.
He earned doctoral and master's degrees in economics from the University of Wisconsin and a bachelor's degree in economic history from the University of Illinois. He chaired the economics department at the University of Vermont and served as chairman of the urban policy analysis graduate program at the New School for Social Research in New York City. Bates has also held short-term appointments at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.
Often sought out by national media for expert comment, Bates has been published in numerous journals including the recent article, “Utilizing Affirmative Action in Public-Sector Procurement as a Local Economic Development Strategy” for Economic Development Quarterly, and a forthcoming article titled, “Alleviating the Financial Capital Barriers Impeding Business Development in Inner Cities,” for the Journal of the American Planning Association.
Bates was elected to membership at the Academy of Scholars, Wayne State, in 2002, and has received research grants from such agencies and organizations as the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation; U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division; the U.S. Small Business Administration; the Chicago Transit Authority; the State of New York and the Ford Foundation.
He is a consultant to many government agencies including the U.S. Department of Justice, Chicago Public Schools, the White House Conference on Small Business and the Governor's Commission on Discrimination in Public Procurement, State of New Jersey. He is a member of the Scholars Network, Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies; Minority Enterprise Development Advisory Council for the U.S. Secretary of Commerce; and the President's Task Force on Small Business.