The Hispanic Business Alliance Achievers Awards luncheon will honor local businesses, professionals, volunteers and nonprofit organizations on Tuesday.

The annual event started seven years ago to recognize Hispanic-owned businesses that have been successful in their respective industries. There are 16 finalists in eight award categories this year.

"We have a very good pool of nominees this year," Juan Martinez, chairman of the board for the Hispanic Business Alliance, said. "All nominees are outstanding in their fields," he added.

Awards are given to an established business, micro-business, restaurant, women-owned business, contractor, professional and nonprofit organization. This year, the Community Impact Leader Award has been added to honor an individual who has gone the extra mile to help out the Hispanic community, he said.

Richard Montanez, marketing and sales executive for PepsiCo North America, will be the keynote speaker. He started his PepsiCo career at Frito-Lay in 1976 as a janitor and went on to create Flamin Hot Cheetos. He helped influence Hispanic products and marketing promotions for KFC and Taco Bell.

The event is set for 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday at Green Acres Baptist Church CrossWalk Center. Tickets to the luncheon are available at

Award nominations for each category were paired down to two finalists by a nominating committee.

RESTAURANT: Mariscos DJ, 1201 E. Erwin St.; and La Plazita, 11980 Texas Highway 64 West.

ESTABLISHED BUSINESS: Daniel's Automotive, 630 E. Gentry Parkway; and Chema's Auto and Tires, 1634 S. Vine Ave.

MICRO-BUSINESS: Mechanical Transportation Systems LLC, 15789 Texas Highway 64 East; and Rocks Pools, 11812 Farm-to-Market Road 14.

WOMEN-OWNED BUSINESS: Maria Avelar, Avelar Bail Bonds, 215A E. Ferguson St.; and Marseline Soto, Crystal Clear Insurance Co.

CONTRACTOR: Palacios Custom Cabinets, 119 W. Oakwood; and AP&M Construction, 8933 County Road 384.

PROFESSIONAL: Walter Perez, Tyler Independent School District; and Dr. Hector Ochoa, The University of Texas at Tyler.

COMMUNITY IMPACT LEADER: Gilberto Avila, pastor of Una Nueva Creacion; and Christina Mennella Fulsom, East Texas Human Needs Network.

NONPROFIT: Bethesda Health Clinic; Literacy Council of East Texas.






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