ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN NEWS) – The Hispanic Business Initiative Fund of Florida, Inc. (HBIF) and the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metro Orlando (HCCMO) hosted the 18th Annual Don Quijote Awards gala last Saturday night, held at Epcot´s World Showplace Pavilion. Each year, the Don Quijote Awards recognize business excellence and outstanding professionalism in Central Florida’s Hispanic community.
“The 2015 Don Quijote Awards’ winners and finalists are a great reflection of Central Florida’s business and Hispanic talent,” said HBIF’s President & CEO Augusto Sanabria. “We hope their stories inspire strength, courage, conviction and determination in more people, so our community can continue to grow and succeed.”
“Saturday’s Don Quijote Awards gala was a proud achievement for our community. This annual ceremony allows us to celebrate and recognize the success and impact of our outstanding business and civic leaders. Each of the winners serve as a prime example of what our community has to offer,” exclaimed Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metro Orlando President Diana Bolívar.
The Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to the Honorable Mel Martinez in recognition for his contributions to the development and empowerment of the Hispanic community in Central Florida. Elected as Mayor of Orange County (Orlando, FL) in 1998, U.S. Senator representing Florida in 2004, and recently serving as Chairman of the Southeast U.S. & Latin America for JP Morgan Chase & Co, his influence and contribution span over both the public and private sector.
“I am grateful to have received this honor. The size of the event and the broad participation from so many local businesses is a demonstration of how much our Hispanic community has grown and the important place it occupies in the Central Florida region. HBIF and HCCMO are great organizations and both do so much to help start and grow small businesses,” stated Senator Martínez.
In addition to the Lifetime Achievement Award, the Hispanic Community Champion Award was also given that evening. This award recognizes a non-Hispanic individual who has supported, promoted the advancement, and demonstrated leadership or involvement for the benefit of the Hispanic community in Central Florida. Aaron Hill, General Manager for Reed Nissan, is the recipient of this award in recognition of his generous spirit and his passion for the community.
The Don Quijote Awards winners were selected in four additional categories. This year, 299 nominations were received by the selection committee and twelve finalists were chosen to continue on. However, at the Don Quijote Awards, only two individuals and two businesses could be selected as winners for this prestigious award.
The recipients of the 18th Annual Don Quijote Awards by category are:
Hispanic Business of the Year, 5 Years or Less:
Hispanic Business of the Year, More Than 5 Years:
Albu & Associates, Inc.
Professional of the Year:
Karla Radka, GoodWill Industries of Central Florida
Shawn Seipler, Clean the World Foundation
“I am proud to be a part of two vibrant and growing organizations, such as HBIF and the HCCMO, which support our business community in Central Florida,” said David Ruiz, President of UPS Florida and this year’s Chair of the Don Quijote Awards Steering Committee.
The Don Quijote Awards serves three strategic objectives:
- To recognize top Hispanic entrepreneurs, professionals and leaders of our community
- To be the premier business recognition event for the Hispanic community of Central Florida
- To serve as a key fundraiser for HBIF and the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
Press Release by HCCMO