October 11, 2017

RHBA Member re-elected to MCC Board of Trustees

RHBA member, Grace Tillinghast, was re-elected as vice-chair to the Monroe Community College Board of Trustees. Congratulations Grace!

Martinez wins consultant award

RHBA board member Luis Martinez was honored recently with the Consultants Consultant award by the Rochester Professional Consultants Network. [Read more…]

RHBA Member Inducted into Hall of Fame

Sergio Esteban, RHBA board member and Hispanic Business Person of the Year in 2012, was inducted on October 5th into the Business Hall of Fame. [Read more…]

RHBA Member Speaks at Local School Assembly

Local middle school holds first assembly recognizing Hispanic Heritage Month with members of the Rochester Black Bar Association and RHBA.

localschool2016On Monday, Sept. 26, the Rochester Academy Charter School’s middle school celebrated Hispanic Heritage Month during an assembly with successful members of our community.

Dean of Academics Jennifer Doyle reminded students at the start of the assembly of the many important contributions that Latinos and Latinas in our country and here in Rochester have made for us all. Doyle inspired them with a simple challenge, to “go to college, get an education, and improve your neighborhood.” Regardless of our cultural backgrounds, we all have a responsibility to better ourselves and our community around us.

The Rochester Academy Charter School (RACS) community expressed gratitude that members of the Rochester Black Bar Association could present and discuss their passion for law, their upbringing and their journey to success.

Aaron Frazier, an attorney from Harris Beach, began the presentation “Black & Latino Attorneys in Roc & Beyond” by introducing all other members of Monday’s assembly. Frazier spoke about his life as a student, growing up in the very same community as the RACS school, and the experiences that shaped him to become an attorney in commercial litigation. Frazier told the students to remain passionate and hopeful about the future because “where you start does not determine where you finish.”

Also from Harris Beach, RHBA member Luis Ormaechea, a native of Argentina, spoke about his passion for intellectual property litigation, engaging RACS students with questions about the types of symbols we see on products we like and buy. Ormaechea’s background as a biology teacher and hi interest in the growing field of genetics ultimately led him to a career in law protecting the ideas of innovators.

From the Monroe County Public Defender’s Office, the last two guests were Attorney Michael Lopez and Family Court Judge candidate Maritza Buitrago.

local-students2016Michael Lopez is an attorney in criminal law, representing people who have been arrested and cannot afford a lawyer. Lopez immediately asked the students, “Do you like to argue?” Hands shot up into the air! Lopez confessed that he was never the perfect student; however, his love of arguing led him down the path of law. With hard work and determination, each one of the RACS students “have the ability to be a lawyer,” said Lopez.

Maritza Buitrago, a native of Puerto Rico, is an attorney of family law and a candidate for Monroe County Family Court. There has never been a Hispanic judge elected to serve on Family Court in Rochester.

Buitrago spoke about her unique perspective of the courtroom, growing up as the daughter of a judge. She mentioned a tragedy of domestic violence in her community that cemented her journey for law. Like Ormaechea, Buitrago was also a teacher before attending law school. She now represents clients in domestic violence and divorce cases. Buitrago urged RACS students to pursue their goals no matter what obstacles may be in the way. “A friend told me, you’re going to fail, and I made it.”

To learn more about the school, visit the website here.

Colombian Racing Champion Juan Pablo Montoya To Compete At The Glen

Juan Pablo Montoya, Colombian racing driver champion

Juan Pablo Montoya Roldán, the adept Colombian racing driver champion, will be competing on the INDYCAR Grand Prix at The Glen this Sunday, September 4th.

Juan Pablo started at an early age in the art of motorsports with kart racing, by the hand of his father Pablo. A beloved icon in South America, Juan Pablo is now an international champion with loyal fans all over the world.

While most drivers are happy to specialize in one circuit, Montoya is a crossover race winner with titles in Formula 1, Formula 3000, CART Championship (Indycar), Daytona, Indianapolis and NASCAR. He is the only driver to have won the premier North American open-wheel CART title, Indianapolis 500, 24 Hours of Daytona, Grand Prix of Long Beach and the Italian Grand Prix all at the first attempt.

Juan Pablo Montoya currently competes in the Verizon IndyCar Series driving for Team Penske. You can read his complete bio and learn more about his career, stats and his latest activities on his website jpmontoya.com.

This week before the race Montoya kindly gave an interview for the Rochester Hispanic Business Association and RHBA Board member Luis Martinez had the opportunity to talk with Montoya about his career, the race at The Glen and being a Latino car racing driver. This was particularly a special treat for Luis because he is not only a successful leadership coach and business adviser but also a Certified Track Instructor, and a big fan of Juan Pablo Montoya.

Luis and I will be at The Glen this weekend so stay tuned for our follow-up articles where he will share more details about his interview with Juan Pablo and I will capture more images of him and the INDYCAR Grand Prix!

Juan Pablo Montoya, Colombian racing driver champion


Watkins Glen International (The Glen) is a premier racing facility located in the Finger Lakes at 1hr 45 minutes from Rochester, NY. The Glenn, as it is known in the racing circles, is New York’s only home to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. In addition to holding major NASCAR and SCCA events, Watkins Glen International also hosts one of the nation’s premier vintage events, the U.S. Vintage Grand Prix.


RHBA Board Member Re-elected to MCC Board

Grace TillinghastRHBA board member Grace Tillinghast was reelected vice chair of the Board of Trustees at Monroe Community College. She was first appointed by the Monroe County Legislature by unanimous vote in 2009 and re-appointed –again by unanimous vote- two years ago.
In 2013, Grace was named New York State Woman of Distinction, and she received the NYS Community Colleges Leadership Award.

RHBA member collaborates on “Separate Is Never Equal” play

The Rochester Latino Theatre Company recently staged three sold-out performances of a play that focuses on the true story of struggles to desegregate schools in California.

Annette RamosRHBA member Annette Ramos, who is the executive director of the Latino Theatre Company in Rochester, collaborated with Donald B. Bartalo and his BART Productions to adapt the book “Separate Is Never Equal” into a play that the theater company performed June 10-12.

Ramos and Bartalo received permission from Sylvia Mendez of Fullerton, Calif., to make the adaptation, according to the Democrat and Chronicle. The book “tells the true life story of Sylvia Mendez, a child of Mexican and Puerto Rican descent growing up in the 1940s, and her family’s struggle, along with four other families, to desegregate schools in California,” according to the newspaper.

Mendez flew to Rochester to attend the opening night performance at MuCCC Theater. The show had a cast of 23, including nine children.

RHBA Members Interviewed by El Poder

RHBA Board members were recently featured in part of a series of interviews on the program “Emprendedores Latinos/Latino Entrepreneurs”—a weekly business show hosted by The Pike Company’s Chief Innovation Officer, Mauricio Riveros, and Vice President of Corporate Development at Dale Carnegie, Herb Escher.  The program airs on Saturdays at 9 a.m. on El Poder Latino 97.1 FM.

Luis Ormaechea

Luis Ormaechea

Luis Ormaechea, a native of Argentina, discussed his background and education.  In addition to his role with the RHBA, Ormaechea is an attorney with Harris Beach PLLC, participates in the community group La Cumbre, and is active with a variety of other organizations.  Ormaechea’s practice includes matters related to intellectual property and business. business entities, patents, trademarks, copyrights, litigation and other legal matters were among the topics discussed.

Esteban, CEO of LaBella Associates and a native of Spain, holds a master’s degree in civil and transportation engineering from the University of Madrid.  He joined LaBella as a civil engineer in 1981.  He is an active member of our community, recognized as the Civil Engineer of the Year (1993), Hispanic Business Person of the Year (2012), and the Greater Rochester Awards Community Champion (2014), among other accomplishments.

Sergio Esteban

Sergio Esteban

Esteban’s leadership helped LaBella finish 2015 hiring over 100 staff members, being recognized as a Top 100 fastest growing company in Rochester, and as a Rochester Top Workplace.  Esteban explained his professional trajectory at LaBella and discussed his management principles and values that have helped his company to succeed.

RHBA members Al Burgos, Erica Hernandez Cornier, and Hiram Hernandez, Jr. were also interviewed.

El Poder Latino 97.1 FM went on the air on November 30, 2015. The radio station is owned and operated by The Ibero-American Action League.


RHBA Member Wins Humanitarian Award

Bera.jpgRHBA member, and 2002 Hispanic Business Person of the Year, Bera Jurado, won the 2016 Father Tracy Humanitarian Award.

Bera is involved in charity work in the community and has participated in missions to Cuba, Bolivia and Peru. He also visits the Monroe County jail twice a month and ministers to inmates.

Congratulations, Bera!

Top 100 Companies

RHBA congratulates La Bella Associates and his CEO, RHBA board member Sergio Esteban,  and The Pike Company, and RHBA member Maurico Riveros, for being included in the 2015 list of the Top 100 Companies in our area.
The list is complied annually by the Rochester Business Alliance.

RHBA Member Jere Fletcher Featured in Rochester Poets Reading Series

Jere FletcherRHBA Member Jere Fletcher is the featured poet/writer for October of the  Rochester Poets Reading Series.

This monthly reading features guest poets and writers and is followed by an open mic session, where short fiction writers, musicians, singers, comics and even dancers are welcome to participate.

Founded in 1922, Rochester Poets is the oldest literary organization in the upstate New York Region.

Rochester Poets Reading Series

Sunday October 18 – 1:30-3:30 p.m. 
Brighton Library – Learning Center meeting room 
2300 Elmwood Avenue. Rochester, NY 14618.
Free admission.

About Jere Fletcher

Ever since Jere studied writing in college with E.L. Doctorow and June Jordan, he wanted to write in the worst way. Friends and family were quick to tell him he already did.

Persevering, he got his work rejected by The New Yorker magazine, more than once, along with rejections from several other literary publications. Nonetheless, people have come out to hear him read, even repeatedly.

Jere informally edited poetry for about 16 years, and twice visited (but did not study at) a writers’ conference in Vermont. He has attended numerous readings by other poets and writers, including Louis Simpson, Bill Matthews, Carolyn Forché, Dorianne Laux, and Nin Andrews.

Various Rochester professionals and health care facilities have purchased his landscape photography.

Jere also served in the Rochester Hispanic Business Association Board of Directors for several years.

A former trial lawyer, Jere continues to represent and advocate for people in other capacities.


El Mensajero Celebrates Ten Years

El Mensajero Celebrates Ten years.
Three RHBA members are highlighted in a video celebrating ten years of El Mensajero. Hilda Rosario Escher, Mauricio Riveros and Grace Tillinghast talked about the paper and what it means to the local Hispanic community. All three are from different countries:  Bolivia, Puerto Rico and Argentina.

Board of Trustees at MCC

Grace TillinghastGrace Tillinghast, RHBA vice chair of the board, has been re-elected vice chair of the Board of Trustees of Monroe Community College at the their August meeting. The Monroe County Legislature appointed her to the board in 2009, and reappointed her for a term to expire in 2020.
Grace was also re-elected Chair of the Board of the Arts and Cultural Council for Greater Rochester.

Randy Phillips Apodaca

Randy Phillips Apodaca (El Mensajero Catolico)Randy Phillips Apodaca, a longtime member of RHBA, passed away this week.

Randy worked for El Mensajero Catolico, the Spanish-language version of the Catholic Courier, the newspaper of the Diocese of Rochester. He attended our networking events, Annual Gala and business lunches.

Randy will be buried in Denver, Colorado, where his parents and the rest of the family lives.


Our thoughts and prayers are with Randy and his family.




RHBA Vice Chair Re-Elected Chair of ACC

Grace TillinghastGrace Tillinghast, RHBA vice chair of the board, has been re-elected chair of the board of the Arts and Cultural Council for Greater Rochester. The results of the election were formally announced at the Council’s Annual Meeting held on June 10th.


The Council is an umbrella organization whose mission is to strengthen arts, culture and education in the ten-county Rochester region.


Grace has been a supporter of the ACC for many years and is the first Hispanic to chair the ACC board.