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The Nation's Hispanic Power Hitters
By Bruce E. Phillips
Feb 5, 2003, 10:42

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The recent U.S. Census paints a picture of the changing face of America, with statistics that clearly show Hispanics are the fastest-growing minority group in the nation. But this growth in numbers has not been matched by acceptance into the upper echelons of corporations, government agencies, or academia. Indeed, it is well-documented that U.S. Latinos and Latinas lag significantly in graduate and professional school enrollment and that they make up a disproportionately small percentage of the work force in engineering, science, and technology, to name areas of special concern to us.

A growing number of Hispanics, however, are making their presence felt in the highest ranks of their professions, proving every day that barriers can be overcome with hard work, education, and determination. That is the human story behind the numbers, and in this issue of HE&IT, we strive to put a human face on excellence.

Last fall, we invited businesses, government agencies, and educational institutions to tell us about Hispanics whose work is making a contribution toward building a stronger, better educated, and healthier America. We asked them to tell us about women and men who are demonstrating outstanding performance, leadership, and vision within their organizations and their communities. The response was overwhelming: While we initially expected to profile a few Hispanic leaders, we have decided instead to introduce nearly three score of them.

We call them "Hispanic Power Hitters." Whatever you choose to call them, they are demonstrating the qualities that will shape America's future. These men and women are leaders in a wide variety of professions, but they share common roots and have faced many of the same social, financial, and language difficulties to overcome hardship, stereotypes, and sometimes outright bias. They demonstrate the simple truth of the adage that hard work may not guarantee success, but it is a requirement for success. They are living proof that America's future depends on making full use of the talents of all of its citizens. That, after all, is the promise and the challenge of diversity.

2002 Hispanic Power Hitters

Business and Industry

As engineers, computer scientists, and managers, Hispanics are making an impact on the way America does business, not just as customers but as decision makers.

Tonia Arrington
Account Development Executive
Blackwell Consulting Services

Isabel Berry
Senior Project Engineer
Blue Cross & Blue Shield of South Carolina

Patricia Romero Cronin
Vice President, Global e-Business Services and Integration
IBM Corporation

Gustavo de la Torre
Worldwide Diversity Manager
Intel Corporation

Ralph de la Vega
President, Latin America Operations
BellSouth Corporation

Margarita N. Dominguez
Vice President and Chief Information Officer
Tampa Electric Company

Michael L. Escobar
Assistant Vice President, Information Technology
Allstate Insurance Company

Robert R. Granados
Virologist and Charles E. Palm Scientist
Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research

Thomas L. Hernandez
Vice President, Energy Delivery}
Tampa Electric Company

Luis A. Jiminez
Senior Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer
Pitney Bowes, Inc.

Oscar Limpias
Director, Engineering
Entergy Nuclear Northeast - James. A. Fitzpatrick

Ray Magrans
Southeast Texas Plant Engineering Manager

Placido J. Martinez
Vice President, Strategic Initiatives
Entergy Services, Inc.

Marcos Matos
Senior Network Administrator
C.H. Guenther & Son, Inc.

Charles Montenegro
Director of Spanish Language Initiatives
Sears Roebuck

Julio Navarro, Ph.D.
Associate Technical Fellow - Phased Array Antenna Design
Boeing - Phantom Works

Manuel Perez
Staff Systems Analyst

Patricia S. Pineda
Vice President of Human Resources and Legal Corporate Secretary
New United Motor Manufacturing, Inc.

Damián Planas
Manager, Claims Adjudication
Blue Cross & Blue Shield of South Carolina

John B. Ramil
Tampa Electric Company

Michael J. Rodriguez
Research Scientist
Eli Lilly & Company

Jesus Unzueta
Director of IT Operations
Peregrine Systems, Inc.

Jorge Valdes
Vice President of Engineering
Advanced Fibre Communications, Inc.

Roberto L. Vasquez
Director, Design Center
Boeing Satellite Systems

Maria C. Villar
Vice President, e-Business Transformation Planning and Strategic Alliances
IBM Corporation

Angie Wiskocil
Vice President - Network Engineering
SBC - Pacific Bell

Irving Wladawsky-Berger
Vice President, Technology and Strategy, IBM Server Group
IBM Corporation

Sergio Zamora, M.D.
Chief, Division of Plastic Surgery
Halifax Hospital System

Education and Research

Careers in higher education appeal to many Hispanics, where they help prepare future leaders while pursuing original research in some of the nation's finest labs.

Renato Aguilera, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Department of Molecular, Cell and Developmental Biology
University of California, Los Angeles

John F. Alderete, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Microbiology
University of Texas Health Science Center

Pedro Barbosa, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Entomology
University of Maryland

Gerardo R. Camilo, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Department of Biology
Saint Louis University

Carlos Castillo-Chavez, Ph.D.
Professor of Biomathematics
Cornell University

George Castro, Ph.D.
Associate Dean, College of Science
San Jose State University

Carlos E. Catalano, Pharm.D., Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Biochemistry
University of Colorado Health Sciences Center

John V. Cortinas, Jr., Ph.D.
Assistant Director/Research Scientist, Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies
University of Oklahoma

N. Joseph Espat, M.D., F.A.C.S.
Assistant Professor of Surgery and Pharmacology
University of Illinois at Chicago

Frank A. Gomez, Ph.D.
Professor of Chemistry
California State University, Los Angeles

Carlos J. Gutierrez, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Physics
Southwest Texas State University

Theresa Maldonado, Ph.D.
Professor, Electrical Engineering Department
University of Texas, Arlington

Leticia Márquez-Magaña, Ph.D.
Research Professor of Microbial Genetics and Molecular Biology
San Francisco State University

Cleopatria Martinez, Ph.D.
Professor of Mathematics
Phoenix College

Alfonso Ortega, Ph.D.
Associate Professor; Director, Experimental and Computational Heat Transfer Group
The University of Arizona

Eloy Rodriguez, Ph.D.
James A. Perkins Endowed Professor of Environmental Studies and Biology
Cornell University

Joaquin Ruiz, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of GeoSciences
The University of Arizona

Frank Talamantes, Ph.D.
Professor of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology
University of California, Berkeley

Richard A. Tapia, Ph.D.
Noah Harding Professor of Computational and Applied Mathematics
Rice University

William Y. Vélez, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Mathematics
The University of Arizona

Lydia Villa-Komaroff, Ph.D.
Vice President for Research and Chief Operating Officer
Whitehead Institute

Luis P. Villarreal , Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry
University of California, Irvine 

Maria E. Zavala , Ph.D.
Professor of Biology
California State University - Northridge

Martha Zuñiga, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology
University of California, Santa Cruz

Public Sector

At all levels of government, highly trained Hispanics are finding that their skills are in demand.

Jo-Ann Bentz, Ph.D.
Research Entomologist
U.S. Department of Agriculture

Francisco A. Figueroa
Vice President and Chief Financial Officer
Sandia National Laboratories

Leo S. Gomez, , Ph.D.
Radiation Biologist
Sandia National Laboratories

Ernest D. Márquez, Ph.D.
Associate Director for Special Populations
National Institute of Mental Health

Elvia Niebla, Ph.D.
National Coordinator, Global Change Research Program
U.S. Forest Service

Sonia Ortega , Ph.D. 
Program Director and Marine Biologist
National Science Foundation

Fernando E. Vega, Ph.D.
Insect Biocontrol Researcher
U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service

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