ORLANDO, Fla. (FNN) – The Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metro Orlando (HCCMO) and Prospera co-hosted the 24th Annual Don Quijote Awards gala on Dec. 11 at Epcot’s World Showplace Pavilion. The top sponsors of the prestigious awards ceremony were Walt Disney World Resort and Wells Fargo. The Don Quijote Awards is the premier event for the region’s Hispanic business community, where businesses and individuals are recognized for exemplifying qualities of the classic Don Quijote literary character: vision, courage, and community impact.
Last Year’s Winners Get Their Trophies in Person
Given an unprecedented 2020, last year’s winners were honored virtually and specially recognized again at Saturday’s sold-out event, in the traditional atmosphere, grandiose setting, and to grand applause celebrating their achievements. The winners of 2020’s 23rd Don Quijote Awards were Lifetime Achievement: Betty Martinez Lowery, Professional of the Year: Emmy Award-winning anchor and Spectrum News 13 reporter Ybeth Bruzual, Excellence: Heart of Florida United Way Chief Operating Officer Graciela Noriega Jacoby, and Hispanic Community Champion: Lui Damiani, Executive Director at the Victim Service Center of Central Florida.
The 2021 Don Quijote Award Winners
For the 2021 Don Quijote Awards, a selection committee chose winners among community nominees, based on professional accomplishments, financial success and growth, innovation, contributions to their industry and community, demonstrated leadership, and professional honors and recognition.
Hispanic Business of the Year, Five Years or Less: Capella Immigration Law, PLLC, Represented by Attorney Camila Pachón Roldán
Hispanic Business of the Year, More than Five Years: Castillo Engineering Services, LLC, Represented by owners Richard and Christopher Castillo
Professional of the Year: Diana Almodovar, Deputy Director and County Engineer at Orange County Public Works Department
Excellence Award: Orlando Rolón, Chief of Orlando Police Department
Hispanic Community Champion Award: Clint Bullock, General Manager and CEO at Orlando Utilities Commission – OUC The Reliable One
Lifetime Achievement Award: Paul Gamache, Emmy Award Winner, Univision Orlando Senior News Director & Producer
“I have been honored to serve as Chair of this year’s Don Quijote Awards, and I thank you all for embracing the missions and efforts of HCCMO and Prospera,” said the 24th Don Quijote Awards Chair Elisha Gonzalez, VP of Government Affairs and Community Relations of Fairwinds and 2014 Don Quijote Professional of the Year winner. “Based on my experience, I can say that these awards are more than recognition; they inspire each winner to strive for more, to continue to dream and work for the benefit of our community.”
This year’s event theme was inspired by Hispanic end-of-year traditions and the melting pot of cultures and societies that are highlighted during the holidays. Attendees entered the cocktail reception on the red carpet, enjoyed the program and fabulous multi-course dinner prepared by Walt Disney World’s culinary experts, and danced to the music of Pancho Irizarry, Victor Espinola, Ramses Araya, Magic of Bronze, Sambatu Batucada Orlando, and DJ Frankie G.
“We are grateful for the privilege to gather with all of you today to celebrate the excellence in our Hispanic business community and the collaborative spirit of our Central Florida community,” said Gaby Ortigoni, President and CEO of HCCMO. “Today, we also celebrate that according to the 2020 Census, Hispanics are the engine of our state and nation’s economic growth, with a 14.6% growth in Florida’s total population between 2010 and 2020.”
“Funds raised through the Don Quijote Awards will help us continue empowering individuals and families in Central Florida to provide for themselves, create jobs for others, and achieve greater prosperity for our region,” said Prospera Regional Vice President Katia Medina. “The 2021 winners and finalists deserve the recognition for their courage, achievements, and demonstrating great qualities of our Hispanic community.”
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, Florida Blue, Orlando Health, PNC Bank, VyStar Credit Union, Duke Energy, Orlando International Airport, Fairwinds, JPMorgan Chase, Kidsville Pediatrics, Orlando Magic, Nemours Children’s Hospital, T&G Constructors, Travel & Leisure, Heart of Florida United Way, Valencia College, Addition Financial, The Trentham Santiago Group, University of Central Florida, Visit Orlando, Telemundo, iHeart Media, Univision Orlando, La Prensa, El Osceola Star, and Florida National News, among others. For more information on the Don Quijote Awards, please visit www.donquijoteawards.com.
About the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metro Orlando
The Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metro Orlando (HCCMO) is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to drive economic growth by strengthening Hispanic business in Central Florida. Since 1993, HCCMO is an epicenter for business acceleration – and a place where commerce happens every day. Members have access to exclusive benefits, programs, and events focused on three pillars – Commerce, Coaching, and Community Building. With more than 1,450 members, this chamber is one of the largest in the region and one of the most-recognized Hispanic chambers in the nation. For more information about the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, please visit www.hccmo.org or call 407-428-5870.
Prospera is an economic development, nonprofit organization established in 1991, whose mission is to help start, sustain, and grow Hispanic-owned businesses to achieve community prosperity. In the last five years alone, Prospera has facilitated over $73 million in loans, trained over 18,000 entrepreneurs, and helped consulting clients create or retain nearly 17,000 jobs. It currently serves Florida, North Carolina, and Georgia. For more information, visit www.prosperausa.org or call 407-428-5872.