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Don Quijote Awards

Finalists For The 25th Don Quijote Awards Announced

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ORLANDO, FL — Excitement builds for the 25th Annual Don Quijote Awards as the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metro Orlando (HCCMO) and Prospera revealed the finalists of the four categories, along with this year’s Lifetime Achievement and Hispanic Community Champion award recipients, during a press conference that was held at the Orlando Museum of Art. The press conference was sponsored by Walt Disney World Resort and Wells Fargo.

Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metro Orlando Announces 25th Don Quijote Awards Finalists
Photos by Harry Castiblanco/Florida National News

The Don Quijote Awards recognize businesses and individuals committed to excellence and the development of Central Florida’s Hispanic community. The winner of each category will be announced at the 25th Don Quijote Awards Celebration on Saturday, December 10, 2022, at Epcot’s World Showplace Pavilion from 6:00 pm to midnight.

Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metro Orlando Announces 25th Don Quijote Awards Finalists
Photos by Harry Castiblanco/Florida National News

The 2022 Don Quijote Awards finalists are:

Hispanic Business of the Year, Five Years or Less:

  • Guacamole Mexican Grill, Inc, represented by owners Diego Rojas and Gustavo Aristizabal
  • Samantha’s Walls, LLC, represented by owner Samantha Senf
  • Unik Title, LCC, represented by owner Lynette Quinones

Hispanic Business of the Year, More than Five Years:

  • Competitive Edge Partners & Consulting, represented by owner Debbie Rodriguez
  • Lim Law, PA, represented by owner Henry Lim
  • SkyBuilders USA, represented by company owners Marcela Restrepo and Juan Velez

Professional of the Year:

  • Dr. Adriana Cadilla, Infectious Disease Physician at Nemours Children’s Hospital
  • Migdalia Figueroa, President and General Manager for Telemundo Orlando at NBCUniversal Telemundo Enterprises
  • Luis Nieves-Ruiz, Director of Economic Development at East Central Florida Regional Planning Council

Excellence Award:

  • Josephine Balzac Arroyo, Esq., Assistant Professor of Social Entrepreneurship at Rollins College
  • Former State Representative Bob Cortes, Senior Administrator for Government Affairs for the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office
  • Major Carlos Torres, Uniform Patrol Division at Orange County Sheriff’s Office

The Hispanic Community Champion and Lifetime Achievement awards recipients are uniquely chosen by the Don Quijote Awards Selection Committee.

Hispanic Community Champion Award

This award is given to a non-Hispanic individual who has led by example in supporting the progress of the Hispanic community in Central Florida. The recipient of this award is chosen by the Don Quijote Awards Selection Committee, focusing on contributions to the Hispanic community; evidence of promoting Hispanic professionals, executives, and board members within the nominee’s respective organization and in the general community; demonstrated leadership or community involvement to benefit the Hispanic community; and honors or awards.

The winner of the 2022 Don Quijote Hispanic Community Champion Award is Dr. Michael Burkett, President at Florida Technical College (FTC) – one of Florida’s largest trade schools with seven campuses across the state and its sister school Dave School, ranked as one of the top schools in the state for animation, visual effects, and game design. FTC is a Hispanic-owned institution that offers diplomas, associate and bachelor’s programs designed to assist the adult learner.

Lifetime Achievement Award

This award recognizes an individual who has made significant and lasting contributions to the development and empowerment of the Hispanic community in Central Florida. The Lifetime Achievement this year goes to Modesto Alcala, Senior Vice President of Global Restaurant Development and Placemaking for Universal Creative at Universal Orlando Resort.

For more than three decades, Modesto has been a catalyst in the global hospitality and restaurant industry. His national impact began when he was part of the ideation and development of Barnes & Noble’s 600-unit café business, including an early partnership with Starbucks. In 2012, he joined Universal Parks and Resorts. As a senior executive at Universal, Modesto leads the efforts to establish new supplier diversity programs to help diverse-owned businesses gain more access to contracts.

The Don Quijote Awards are made possible thanks to the support of Walt Disney World Resort, Wells Fargo, AdventHealth, Bank of America, Universal Orlando Resort, PNC, 1st SOS Staffing, Florida Blue, Orlando Health, OUC- The Reliable One, Travel & Leisure, Cypress Bank and Trust, Orlando Magic, JPMorgan Chase, 26Health, University of Central Florida, iHeart Media, Telemundo 31, Florida National News, La Prensa Newspaper, El Osceola Star, Univision Orlando and El Nuevo Zol 95.3 FM, among many more. For more information on the Don Quijote Awards, please visit www.donquijoteawards.com.

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Don Quijote Awards

2023 Don Quijote Awards: Winners and Highlights

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ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN) – Central Florida Hispanic business leaders held its biggest awards night of the year, as entrepreneurs, professionals and community leaders attend the 2023 Don Quijote Awards at the Walt Disney World Epcot’s World Showplace Pavilion, Saturday, December 9.

For 26 years, the Hispanic Chamber of Metro Orlando and Prospera have brought together the Central Florida community to celebrate the incredible contributions of Hispanic business leaders in our region and beyond, according to Yamile Luna, Chair of the 26th Don Quijote Awards and Chief Operating Officer at AdventHealth.

Don Quijote Awards Winners and Honorees

Hispanic Business of the Year​ Award (Five Years or Less)

  • Winner! Ana Carolina Salazar, owner, BOLD Hispanic Marketing Agency

Hispanic Business of the Year Award (More than Five Years)

  • Winner! Debbie Rodriguez, owner, Competitive Edge Partners & Consulting

Professional of the Year Award

  • Winner! Dr. Cyndia Muñiz, Senior Director of Hispanic Serving Institution Initiatives and Partnerships at the University of Central Florida

Excellence Award

  • Winner! Dr. Maria Vázquez, Orange County Public Schools Superintendent

Hispanic Community Champion Award

​The 2023 Don Quijote Hispanic Community Champion Award winner is Jeff Hayward, President and CEO of Heart of Florida United Way (HFUW) – Since 2016, Jeff has led HFUW Central Florida’s largest supporter of local health and human service agencies. He oversees more than $50 million in total resources invested in the community to provide support in education, health, financial stability, and basic needs. Immediately after Hurricane Maria, Jeff established a close working relationship with his counterpart at Fondos Unidos de Puerto Rico. In response to the needs identified, HFUW sent 5,000 solar lights, 3,000 reusable water filtration units, and 1,000 solar phone chargers. A Welcome Center was established at Orlando International Airport, and HFUW and about a dozen other organizations greeted and assisted evacuees, with 1,800-2,000 arriving every day. HFUW provided transportation, emergency housing, security deposit fees, and utility deposits.

Lifetime Achievement Award

This year’s Lifetime Achievement goes to Jan Aspuru, Retired Orlando Utilities Commission Senior Executive.
As the first Hispanic to serve on the C-level suite of the Orlando Utilities Commission, Jan Aspuru has paved the way for many Hispanic professionals in the utility industry. As Vice President of Electric and Water Generation and then Chief Operational Officer, he designed, developed, and implemented OUC’s innovative Fuel Price Hedging Program, which manages market price volatility of OUC’s $300 million to $400 million annual fuel budget. He oversaw the construction and commissioning of the $220M Stanton Unit B project that began as a coal-gasification plant and turned into a 300-megawatt natural gas-fired combined cycle facility, and he enhanced and expanded OUC’s generation portfolio and set in motion the methodical growth of the chilled water operations while improving OUC’s water quality and control, and management, among many more accomplishments.

​Event Sponsors:

The Don Quijote Awards are made possible thanks to the support of Walt Disney World Resort, Wells Fargo, OUC- The Reliable One, 1st SOS Staffing, AdventHealth, Bank of America, Duke Energy, Florida Blue, Universal Orlando Resort, Orlando Health, Travel and Leisure, VyStar, Greater Orlando Aviation Authority, Ana G. Mendez University, JP Morgan Chase, The Catholic Foundation of Central Florida, Neurology One, Orlando Magic, iHeart Media, Florida National News, El Osceola Star, Orlando Business Journal, La Prensa Newspaper, Telemundo 31 and Univision Orlando, among many more.

For more information on the Don Quijote Awards, please visit www.donquijoteawards.com.

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Don Quijote Awards

Superintendent Maria Vazquez winner of 2023 Don Quijote Awards for Excellence

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ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN) – Dr. Maria Vazquez, Superintendent of Orange County Public Schools winner of the 2023 Don Quijote Awards for Excellence .

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Don Quijote Awards

VIDEO: 2022 Don Quijote Awards Interview – Lifetime Achievement Award Winner: Modesto Alcala, Universal Parks & Resorts

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Modesto Alcala, Senior VP of Global Restaurant Development and Placemaking for Universal Creative at Universal Parks & Resorts, receives the 2022 Don Quijote Lifetime Achievement Award. Photo: Shreyank Tripathi/Florida National News.
Modesto Alcala, Senior VP of Global Restaurant Development and Placemaking for Universal Creative at Universal Parks & Resorts, receives the 2022 Don Quijote Lifetime Achievement Award. Photo: Shreyank Tripathi/Florida National News.

ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN) – Modesto Alcala, Senior VP of Global Restaurant Development and Placemaking for Universal Creative at Universal Parks & Resorts, talks with FNN News after receiving the 2022 Don Quijote Lifetime Achievement Award during the 25th Don Quijote Awards gala, presented by the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Metro Orlando and Prospera USA, at Epcot Showplace Pavilion Saturday.

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