ROCHESTER — The Rochester Hispanic Business Association celebrated its 25th anniversary as well as honored this year’s Hispanic Business Person of the Year during its annual luncheon.
More than 200 people attended the Sept. 25 event, which was held at the Rochester Riverside Convention Center, said Hiram Hernández Jr., the RHBA chairman. This year’s honoree was Mauricio Riveros, vice president of project controls for The Pike Co. ‘Born leader’ receives business award
Riveros was chosen for his work in raising the profile of the Latino community, especially with his role in creating La Cumbre, Hernández explained before the luncheon. The organization provides a forum for local leaders to collaborate on how to improve the lives of local Latinos in such areas as education, government and economic development.
"He has really made noise," remarked Hernández. "And this is the most important thing for us."
Riveros’ work fits in with the mission of the association to increase the visibility of Hispanic business owners and professionals in the community, he said.
And the association’s anniversary marks "a quarter century of providing a meeting place and sharing our ideas and culture," remarked Hernández.
This year, the association enters a new chapter, as he will be the first chairperson to also serve on the Rochester Business Alliance board.
"I am honored to serve as an advocate in this setting," he said. "Inclusiveness is of utmost importance."
In her keynote speech, Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren also spoke of the importance of working together to address the urgent need of pulling people out of poverty.
And she recognized Larry Glazer, the owner of Buckingham Properties who recently died in a plane crash with his wife, Jane, for his vision in investing in Rochester and creating hope for a revitalized downtown.
Hope brought her family to Rochester — "a great city to the north" — decades ago, she said. Her father was born in Trinidad.
Rochester "was a city where if you worked hard enough, you could be prosperous," Warren said. "Today, how many people in our most challenged neighborhoods see Rochester this way? … It is up to us to show the most challenged among us that there is hope."
She then outlined a five-step "stairway" to self-sufficiency model, which includes: stabilizing families, improving youth programming, offering entry-level jobs, providing job training and creating jobs.
"The steps are not easy, but the path is clear," she said.
For the plan to work, however, city residents in challenging situations also must possess the drive to strive to be better, Warren noted.
"This is not about charity or a handout," she said. "Every single one of our residents can achieve prosperity. …even if (they) start in poverty."
Riveros applauded the mayor’s plan and said that it represents a move in the right direction.
"This place has a hope … if every single one of us is willing to invest of yourself," he said. "If we don’t work together, we will be seeing more problems, more difficulties."
Thanks to the mentors in his own life, Riveros said that he has found success as an attorney and government official in Bolivia and later as a construction professional in Rochester.
He said that the RHBA award belongs to those mentors, beginning with his father, who was a businessman in Riveros’ native La Paz, Bolivia. His father taught him three principles that continue to guide him through life: have a vision, maintain one’s faith and have passion.
"This award goes to every person who believed in me," Riveros said. "They believed in me and gave me the opportunity to be who I am."