Last year, close to 1,000 packed a convention center for the Tyler Hispanic Business Alliance’s Hispanic Achievers and Business Leaders Awards. While the HBA event this year was virtual for the HBA and limited to the award winners, the work of Hispanic entrepreneurs and their message was heard.

HBA President and CEO Nancy A. Rangel talked about the hit businesses took during the pandemic and said the services and resources provided by the chamber are needed more than ever.

Rangel also pointed out revenue of Latino-owned companies has jumped 61% between 2017 and 2020 in the country.

“I believe as the economy emerges, so will our Hispanic businesses and owners and they will become a forefront of this economic rebound,” said Rangel.

Here is a look at the winners:


“This award means a lot to me because it’s a recognition of the service that I’ve been providing to the community, not just as a business owner but the community in general,” said Juan Martinez, who has taught tax, accounting and business classes for the HBA and is a past chairman of the board.

“I’ve been heavily involved in the Tyler Hispanic Business Alliance and it’s an honor to see how busy they are and how my service has impacted the community.”

“It tells me whatever I’m doing is making a difference in the community and I would not be able to do this on my own. I am surrounded by great friends, co-workers and peers such as Nancy Rangel and the entire staff of the HBA,” Martinez continued. “My family and friends and co-workers give me amazing support and allow me to give back to the community.”

Martinez said he remembers when the HBA was just an advisory committee to the chamber.

“Now, the HBA is helping ‘business owners’ become ‘successful business owners.’ Nancy is heavily involved with the literacy council and provides one-on-one coaching and in general, just helps businesses,” he said. “She has brought the small businesses who are a part of the Tyler HBA in front of bigger companies and organizations in our area. She has been that cornerstone to allow the HBA to connect to the rest of our community.”

Martinez is also proud the HBA has a separate ceremony to recognize women who have brought positive results to the region as well.

Rangel said Martinez has made a positive contribution and made an impact within the Hispanic and Latino community.

His award is for contributing to the improvement of the quality life of its community and for making an outstanding contribution to the community.

“He exemplifies extraordinary achievement and leadership and is considered as a trusted leader within our community,” said Rangel. “Aside from managing his own business on a daily basis, he serves the community in many other platforms, including community boards such as the Tyler HBA, East Texas Workforce Solutions and more.”


Ropa Tradicional Juanita is the Hispanic Emerging Business of the Year as the category honors a new start-up business, under 5 years old, that has translated an idea into a successful business venture.

Owner Juanita Alfaro has provided entrepreneurial leadership required for long-term success, offered and innovative products and services, experienced steady employment and/or sales growth and contributed toward the advancement of the Hispanic community and the larger community.


Adriana Valdivia of Ximena’s Furniture and Muebleria was honored as the HBA Small Business of the Year.

Rangel said the award recognizes a business that has maintained consistent growth and strong financial performance, understands its customer, has engaged the workforce with effective leadership, and is continually innovating to support future growth.


Rangel said, “Female Hispanic Business Owners are fueling the economy. Latina-owned small businesses are the fastest-growing segment of the business community – and not only in Tyler, the East Texas Region, or the State of Texas, but the fastest-growing segment in the entire country and United States.”


The East Texas Food Bank played a vital role in providing meals to families throughout our region, Rangel said, and because of this was named Nonprofit Business of the Year.

“This year, due to the pandemic, and more than ever before, nonprofit organizations had to step up to help our community who was under one of the largest crises and pandemics it had seen in a long time,” she said. “Nonprofits had to care for our communities and ourselves. Many nonprofits stepped up in Tyler and East Texas, and so many truly made an impact and difference in our communities during a moment where it was needed the most.”

East Texas Food Bank CEO Dennis Cullinane accepted the award, and was praised for feeding families when schools closed and families were “left wondering how they would feed themselves.”


The Construction Business of the Year award went to Custom Black Stallion Homes with Gerardo Garay.

“Gerardo Garay has shined above the rest for its corporate integrity, commitment to its professional development, safety of its employees, dedication to expert craftsmanship, and high esteem in the industry at large,” said Rangel.


“They exemplify extraordinary achievement and leadership, provide quality food and high standard of customer service, exceptional all-around dining experience, and more,” said Rangel. “They are both very well-known for their extraordinary leadership, innovation, and service to our community.”


The Hispanic Professional of the Year went to Roseann Estrada with New York Life Insurance. Estrada is a registered insurance agent with NY Life Insurance Company and has won multiple awards and recognitions for her work within her industry.

Rangel said Estrada has built relationships with business partners within the community and has exemplified achievement within her career and industry.

The Tyler Hispanic Business Alliance board directors are Emanuel Flores, Elena Gómez, April Muñoz, Esmeralda Delmas, Marseline Pérez, Chair Elect, Nancy Rangel, President/CEO, Nidia Hassan, Executive Treasurer, Erika González, Chair, Dolores Price, Past Chair, Maritza Bedolla and Henry Bell.

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John is a two-time national columnist of the year. He has earned top AP awards for news, videos and sports writing and won the Thomas J. Bulson Investigative Journalism award. He has appeared on CNBC's American Greed, FOX News and CNN.

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