Pennsylvania Commission on Latino Affairs

About the Pennsylvania Commission on Latino Affairs
Commissioners
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About the Pennsylvania Commission on Latino Affairs

Established by Executive Order 2015-08, the Governor’s Advisory Commission on Latino Affairs (GACLA) is dedicated to advising the governor on policies and legislation that impact Latino American communities. GACLA and its commissioners have proficiently served Pennsylvania’s growing Latino community since 1971. Our aim is to contribute to the governor’s goal of government that works, schools that teach, and jobs that pay.

The commission is composed of twenty volunteer members appointed by the governor for a term of two years.

Commissioners

Luz Colon – Executive Director
María Teresa Donate – Commission Chair
Amaris Hernandez – Commission Vice Chair
Lenín Agudo
Pedro Anes
Guillermo Barroso
Aida Ceara
Iris M. Cintrón
Sonny Concepción
Betty Cruz
Nelson Diaz
Jose Giral
Arturo D. Gomez-Rubio
Juvencio Gonzalez
Carlos Graupera
Amaris Hernandez
Carolina Martinez
Angie Merchant
Carol Obando-Derstine
Natalia Ortiz
Joanna Otero-Cruz
Jesús Peña
Ana Saiz-De la Peña
Gloria Santiago
Antonio Fiol Silva
Michael Toledo
Francisco Aranda Torres
Lorna Velázquez

Lenin AgudoLenin Agudo

Lenin Agudo has been recognized as a high performance motivator focused on big challenges.

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A former senior consultant, university administrator, professor and small business development center director, he now focuses his energy on revitalizing communities by creating and implementing public policy for job creation and economic growth. He is an economic development expert, with over 10 years of experience in promoting economic growth in the areas of community development, small business growth, housing development projects, urban redevelopment and education. Lenin serves as Director of the Widener University Small Business Development Center and in the past he served as the Director of Community and Economic Development for the City of Reading. Lenin is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania’ Fels institute of Government were he obtained a degree in Economic Development and Growth. He also holds a master in business administration degree from Kutztown University.

 

Pedro AnesPedro Anes

Pedro Anes, a native of Puerto Rico, brings 10+ years’ experience as President of the Latino American Alliance and Chairman of the Scranton Human Relations Commission.

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Pedro is a Business owner, US Army Retired Veteran, holds a Master’s Degree in Management and is working on a Ph.D. in Human Development.

 

Guillermo A. BarrosoGuillermo A. Barroso

Guillermo Barroso is the Chief of Executive Officer/Chief Academic Officer of La Academia: Partnership Charter School. He oversees in the charter school of enrollment of 200 students 6 th grade to 12 th grade and 30 employees.

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Prior to his current position, Mr. Barroso was the Dean of Students of La Academia. In addition to his employment at the Charter School, Mr. Barroso worked as Academic Advisor/Mentor for the Momentum Program at Elizabethtown College. He also spent 15 years with Dauphin County Children and Youth services as Case manager. In August 2015, he was appointed by Governor Tom Wolf to serve in the Governor’s Advisory Commission on Latino Affairs as Commissioner of Lebanon County. Mr. Barroso has received several awards for his service in education as the Carole Isaak “Nexus” Award 2011-2012 for excellent mentorship in Momentum Program, Elizabethtown College and 2008 Governor Edward G. Rendell/Governor Advisor Commission on Latino Affairs Award for outstanding service and leadership.

He has served in various community organizations as board members. He is member of National Secondary School Principal, Lancaster Chambers of Commerce and National Honor Society. In 2013-14, Mr. Barroso was selected to participate in Pennsylvania Inspire Leader Fellowship Program for educational leaders. He is a native of Caracas, Venezuela. He holds a master’s degree in Educational Leadership K-12 Principal Certification from Edinboro University. He also holds a master’s degree in Leadership and Business Ethics from Duquesne University. Currently, he resides with his wife in Palmyra, Pa and have two wonderful grandchildren.

 

Aida Ceara

Biography to come.

 

Iris M. CintrónIris Cintron

Mrs. Iris M. Cintrón is a graduate of West Chester University where she earned her Bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts. She graduated from Lehigh University with a Master’s degree in Secondary Education.

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She has recently retired from the Bethlehem Area School District where she served for 37 years as a teacher, counselor, school social worker and administrator. She held the position of supervisor of minority affairs, governmental programs and grants for the last 18 years. Mrs. Cintrón has always been active in community organizations such as the Hispanic Center LV formally the Council of Spanish Speaking Organizations, Community Services for Children – Head Start, Northampton County Children and Youth, the Puerto Rican Cultural Organization, Northampton County Interim Board of Health, Neighborhood Health Centers of the Lehigh Valley (FQHC), and Puerto Rican Beneficial Society. She was the recipient of the United Way of the Lehigh Valley Lifetime Service Award, Lehigh University Lamp and Learning Award, Northampton County Community College award for Distinguished Service to the Community, the National Coalition of Title I Parents VIP Award for Exemplary Service to Title I Children, Bethlehem Partnership for a Healthy Community Recognition for Outstanding Support to the Partnership, and the Puerto Rican Beneficial Society award for Dedicated Community Service.

 

Luz ColonLuz B. Colon

Luz B. Colon epitomizes integrity, hard work and passion for service in every detail of Community Service for the last 15 years for the City of Philadelphia in various city council roles.

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Luz grew up in North Philadelphia, in the Kensington section, the very same community in where her roots were planted and continues to serve. Luz’s cultural background and focus on community collaboration has led her to a number of volunteer opportunities and community leadership roles. For the last 8 years, Luz has worked under Councilman William K. Greenlee where she works as a Community Liaison. Her position has allowed her to service her constituent’s needs and bridge the gap between city council and the community. Luz also has had the pleasure to work for other city council members such as the former Councilman Angel L. Ortiz and current Councilwoman, Blondell Reynolds Brown.

Luz has participated on the creation of the Philadelphia 76ers La Liga Del Barrio Basketball League Organization, where William K. Greenlee sponsored a resolution and press conference to honor La Liga’s 15th Anniversary and its many years of service to the community. In 2014, Luz organized a meeting with Council President Darrell L. Clarke and Councilman Squilla to meet with Javier Suarez, the Executive Producer of the Hispanic Choice Awards where he summarized all the accomplishments of the Hispanic Choice Awards Organization. As a result, Councilman Greenlee was honored to be a presenter in the Hispanic Choice Awards in 2014. Through the office of Councilman Greenlee, Luz has organized many community events all over the city to bring resources to help families, including other districts belonging to Councilwoman Jannie Blackwell, 3rd District and Councilwoman Maria Quinones Sanchez, 7th District.

As a Latina, Luz represents the Latino Community and she assumes personal responsibility to bring forth and showcase what the Latino community is doing in a positive light. She is a current member of the National Conference of Puerto Rican Women (NACOPRW). She’s also dedicated 15 years as a committee chairperson for the 20th Ward and 10th Division. And in 2014, Luz was invited to sit on the Philadelphia Fight Advisory Board.

Luz is the proud mother of two little boys, Joseph, age 11 and Sebastian, age 5. Because Luz is so passionate about growth and knowledge, she is currently enrolled in Community College of Philadelphia pursuing a degree in Political Science.

 

Sonny Concepcion Sr.Sonny Concepcion Sr.

My name is Sonny Concepcion Sr. I am a native of Carolina Puerto Rico and moved to Erie Pennsylvania in 1991. I have been an active advocate for the Latino Community since 1993.

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Presently I am Coordinator for High Impact Prevention , Northwest Rural Aids Alliance here in Erie and also the Pastor for Iglesia Bautista El Calvario FG also the Western District Overseer for the Full Gospel Baptist Church Fellowship International . My professional experience has led me from Drug and Alcohol Counseling to Youth Behavioral Specialist and Employment Specialist for at-risk Teenagers. My experience with community forums includes the PA State Latino Commission, PA Department of Health HIV Planning Committee, President of Parent Education Committee for the PA Migrant Education Program, Erie Latino Task Force and Secretary of The Latino Tri-State Pastor Association.

 

Betty CruzBetty Cruz

Deputy Chief of Special Initiatives, Betty Cruz, manages a number of mayoral priorities for Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto, including Welcoming Pittsburgh, an immigrant and Latino integration strategy.

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Through her deliberate implementation of each initiative, Pittsburgh has been recognized as an emerging model city. Betty has extensive experience in public relations, events, partnership and program management – spanning more than 15 years. She holds a BA in History from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania and an MPA from the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public and International Affairs.

 

Nelson A. Diaz

Nelson A. Diaz, has over 30 years of engineering, project management, construction, real estate and property management experience.

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As an individual owner and founder of Mi Casa Properties, he is responsible for the acquisition and management of single, multifamily, and commercial properties in Pennsylvania, and Florida. Current company emphasis is on property management and the acquisition of properties requiring rehabilitation in urban areas of Lehigh County, Pennsylvania.

Nelson worked for PPL Electric Utilities in Allentown, Pennsylvania for over 20 years. He was a Project Manager in the Nuclear Department and managed the design and installation of modifications to the Susquehanna Steam Electric Station, a dual unit nuclear facility. These modifications which ranged from $1.0 million to $100 million in cost, included enhancements to the plant’s reliability, operability, and safety functions.

The Minsi Trails Council Boy Scouts of America awarded Nelson the “Good Turn Award” for working with the youth of the Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania and establishing an educational partnership between PPL Electric Utilities and Allentown’s inner city schools.

Nelson holds a Civil Engineering degree from Rutgers University and is on the Board of Directors of Sacred Heart Hospital, Hispanic American Organization, and Allentown Chamber of Commerce. He was appointed by Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski to the Allentown Neighborhood Improvement Zone Development Authority. Nelson also served in the Governor’s Advisory Commission on Latino Affairs under Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett.

Born in Cardenas, Cuba; he immigrated to the United States at the age of 13 and is fluent in Spanish. He is married and has three children.

 

María Teresa DonateMaria Teresa

María Teresa Donate, Professor of Counseling, joined the Northampton Community College staff in 1992 as Director of Admissions. Her success in academia and her desire to support others have led her to be a compassionate support for students and a valuable asset to the community.

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Professor Donate previously served as Student Affairs Coordinator at the University of Central Florida and Director of Admissions at Inter American University in Puerto Rico. Obtained a Master’s degree in Guidance and Counseling from Inter American University and a Bachelor degree in Social Sciences from the University of Puerto Rico, where she graduated Magna Cum Laude.

The number of committees and organizations to which Professor Donate belongs or chaired are staggering. Among the professional organizations joined are the following: Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society, Phi Delta Kappa Society, National Association of College Admission Counselors, and American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Counselors. Served as president of Latino Leadership Alliance of the Lehigh Valley and former Chair of Latino Economic Council of LVEDC. Appointed to the Bethlehem Area School District Diversity Committee; Co-Chair of Northampton Community College’s (NCC) Diversity Committee; served on the Board of Governors of the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce and is currently a Board member of United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley.

Her passion for education served as a driving force to establish several scholarship funds to assist Latino students in pursue of higher education. Among them are: establishment of the Blanca Smith Scholarship Fund; Mario José Donate Torres Memorial Endowment and Hispanic Caucus Dreamers Scholarship Endowment; advocated for the creation of NCC – Latino Leadership Alliance full tuition scholarship. During her tenure as President of the Latino Leadership Alliance established the organization’s scholarship endowment, securing a permanent funding source that will benefit many Latino students in the future.

She was instrumental in the organization of the Pennsylvania Statewide Latino Coalition (PSLC) group. As a result of her leadership and fundraising initiatives, Lehigh Valley was selected as the site for the 2003 PSLC Conference. The Lehigh Valley Convention and Visitor’s Bureau awarded her the Zenith Award for “an outstanding contribution through involvement with a convention in the Lehigh Valley”.

She was recognized at NCC as Club Advisor of the Year. During her tenure as Chair of the NCC Hispanic Caucus, the group received the “Chairman’s Award” for the efforts in starting a scholarship fund for students of color.

The former Hispanic Business Council of the Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce recognized her with the “Good Turn Award” for dedicated commitment to the youth of the Lehigh Valley. Was also recognized by The Council of Spanish Speaking Organizations of the Lehigh Valley with the “2003 Educator of the Year” award for “leadership, dedication, and compassion to inspire, encourage, and assist others achieve their dreams and goals through higher education”. Professor Donate also received the Penn State University Lehigh Valley’s OLEAD Program award for her leadership role in the field of education; for commitment and service to the Latino population, and vision for empowering Latinos as an economic growth strategy for the region’s prosperity.

Leadership Lehigh Valley recognized her with the 2011 Paragon Alumni Award, an award of excellence established to honor an outstanding graduate of the leadership program whose efforts have improved the quality of life in the Lehigh Valley through leadership and commitment to the community. Was selected for this award because of her leadership and efforts to inspire and assist others to achieve their dreams and goals through education.

Latino Leadership Alliance of the Lehigh Valley recently awarded her “Lenses of Knowledge Education Award” for a leader who has walked the extra mile to ensure that Latino children can view the world through lenses of knowledge. Most recently the American Association of University Women awarded the “Gateway to Equity Award” for her vigorous advocacy on behalf of the Lehigh Valley Latino community.

In 2006, she was one of eleven individuals across the state chosen by former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell to serve on the Governor’s Advisory Commission on Latino Affairs (GACLA); appointed to serve two terms. Additionally, was appointed as Co-Chair of the Summit Planning Committee of the PA Committee on Educational Excellence for Latino Students.

Most significantly, Teresa is recognized on campus and in the community as a vigorous advocate for the rights of people of color. Her initiatives have generated interest and open dialogue about issues of diversity, bilingualism, hiring practices, scholarship fundraising and others.

She is married to Ricardo Orench and has three children: Teresita, Assistant Chief Counsel of the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission; Ricardito who recently started his career as Chemical Engineer and Ivette, currently pursuing an RN degree and employed by Lehigh Valley Health Network.

 

Jose GiralJose Giral

Jose Giral is a native of Puerto Rico and was raised in Brooklyn NY. He attended and graduated from William H. Maxwell Career and Technical school. After graduation he entered the workforce where he gained irreplaceable knowledge, wisdom and valuable lessons. Relocating to the Philadelphia region in 1999 he brought his wealth of business experiences which catapulted his success as a 16 year business owner.

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Jose’s interest in community engagement, government and policy lead to his appointment by Governor Tom Wolf to serve as a commissioner in the Governor’s Advisory Commission on Latino Affairs where Jose assisted Latinos with having gain full access to all opportunities afforded to citizens of the commonwealth. Jose is an elected Democratic Committeeman in the Philadelphia Democratic party and appointed to serve as a board member to ASPIRA, inc., a leading organization dedicated to Hispanic education in the nation.

 

Arturo D. Gomez-Rubio

Chemical industry professional with broad experience in Product Management, Business Development, Supply Chain, Logistics, Technology, Operations, Maintenance and Project management with 30 years of International experience in high hazard chemical plants.

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Assignments in the United States, Mexico, Spain and the Netherlands. Leadership of Nonprofit organizations.

 

Juvencio GonzalezJuvencio Gonzalez

Juvencio Gonzalez is a Special Assistant for Lieutenant Governor Mike Stack representing Veterans, Community Outreach, Latino Affairs and International Relations.

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He serves on the Congressional Gold Medal National Initiative for the Borinqueneers and Latin American Post 840 of the American Legion. Juvencio is a Vietnam Era US Marine Corps Veteran.

 

Carlos Graupera

Helped organize the Spanish American Civic Association and have been its Executive Director since 1973.

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Organized the Centro Hispano in Lancaster, November 1973. Opened Nuestra Clinica bilingual mental health and drug and alcohol outpatient clinic. During my tenure with the organization, I have overseen the creation of SACA Development Corporation- a housing development corporation dedicated to home ownership opportunities for inner city residents. SACA Development has rehabilitated over 100 single family units for sale to low and moderate income first time home buyers.

 

Amaris HernandezAmaris

Amaris Hernandez is an Information Systems professional, working out of the Delaware Valley for over 13 years. She is a Philadelphia native, and participated in the Pennsylvania Ballet for ten years in productions throughout the city. Amaris attended Central High School, and then earned a Bachelors of Science in Information Systems and Technology from Drexel University.

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Amaris started her professional career as a Data Manager with the School District of Philadelphia. At the District, she worked with the Even Start Family Literacy program where she oversaw the client management system for state funding and facilitated technology courses to parents in the community. After serving 8 years with the District, Amaris began consulting for Bank of America as a Systems Administrator. At Bank of America, Amaris managed the production and job tracking system for an internal advertising agency.

For the last 9 years, Amaris has been an active member of the National Conference of Puerto Rican Women, a national organization that serves the community through workshops, mentoring, scholarships and leadership development. Through NACOPRW, she volunteers in the local Latino community and partners with countless organizations throughout the city. One of her goals is to raise awareness for women in S.T.E.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) fields. Amaris is currently the President of the Greater Philadelphia chapter.

In January 2014, Amaris joined Philadelphia Energy Solutions, as a Senior Systems Analyst overseeing HR and contractor management systems.
In 2010, she was nominated by Impacto Newspaper as one of the “40 Most Influential Leaders in the Delaware Valley”. In 2015, Amaris was selected to attend Google’s National Women’s Day in New York with women from around the nation working in technology positions. She continues to advocate for more young women to enter technology fields and serves as a mentor to high school students in the city.

 

Carolina MartinezCarolina Martinez

Carolina Martinez, has considerable experience leading non-profit organizations and multicultural teams in North and South America.

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She received her Bachelor’s degree of Industrial Engineering from Universidad de los Andes, Colombia and her MBA from Universidad del Norte, Colombia. Ms. Martinez has worked with many entrepreneurs in the development and execution of their business plans. In Colombia, she worked with vulnerable communities to help them identify business opportunities and develop strategic and marketing plans to capitalize on those opportunities.

In 2011, she joined CADCB, where she taught the Start Your Business course and, in one year, provided consulting services that resulted in 12 new businesses opening. In 2012, she became the director of the Kutztown University Small Business Development Center’s Latino Business Resource Center (LBRC). The LBRC provides blended consulting and in-class learning opportunities to Latino entrepreneurs. In 2015, she returned to CADCB as the Director, providing support to the economic development of south Bethlehem and coordinating Southside Vision 20/20, the 6-year plan to revitalize the area.

 

Angie Merchant

Biography to come.

 

Carol Obando-Derstine

As of February 1, 2016, Carol Obando-Derstine is the new Regional Affairs Director at PPL Electric Utilities.

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Prior to her current position, she worked for U.S. Senator Bob Casey as his Regional Manager in Berks, Carbon, Lehigh and Northampton Counties as well as his statewide Latino Affairs Advisor from 2011 until January 2016. In August 2015, Carol also became a member of the Governor’s Advisory Commission on Latino Affairs.

 

Dr. Natalia OrtizDr. Natalia Ortiz

Dr. Natalia Ortiz is the Chief of Consultation and Liaison Psychiatry for Temple University Hospital and Associate Professor of Clinical Psychiatry for Lewis-Katz Temple School of Medicine.

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She is a fellow to the American Psychiatry Association, Academy of Psychosomatic Medicine and The Philadelphia College of Physicians. She is board certified in Psychiatry and Psychosomatic Medicine. She is a board member to Philadelphia Medical Society and has served as a Delegate to Pennsylvania Medical Society. She is the current President of Society of Ibero Latin American Medical Professionals for the Delaware Valley. She is also a commissioner to the Governor’s Advisory Commission for Latino Affairs in Pennsylvania. Her area of expertise is the manifestation of stress through physical symptoms and the diagnosis and treatment of behaviors due to medical conditions.

 

Joanna Otero-CruzJoanna Otero-Cruz

Joanna Otero-Cruz serves as Deputy Managing Director for the Community Services cabinet. Within this post, Mrs. Otero-Cruz leads and oversees’ operations for 311, the Office of Immigrant Affairs, the Community Life Improvement Program (CLIP), and the Office of Civic Engagement and Volunteer Services and Town Watch Integrated Services.

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Prior to coming to the City she served in key leadership roles for organizations that serve and meet the needs of Philadelphia’s most vulnerable.

Most recently, Mrs. Otero-Cruz led Pennsylvania’s oldest Latino non-profit organization, Concilio, since 2010, serving as community leader and voice for the needs of women, children, and families across the state. As the Executive Director of Concilio, she oversaw the organization’s foster care services, youth development programming, and children’s health work. She also led the organization and Latino community’s historic events – the Hispanic Fiesta and the Puerto Rican Week Festival culminating with the Latino Parade on Philadelphia’s Ben Franklin Parkway.

In 2014, she led the relocation of Concilio from its home of nearly 45 years to a brand-new 30,000 square-foot facility in the Hunting Park neighborhood. She is credited with bringing Concilio into a position of strong financial health, as well as building on the capacity and goodwill of the organization among the civic and public leaders of the city and state, and the community members that utilize its services.
Mrs. Otero-Cruz is an active and respected voice for equity and access at the city and state level.

She serves as Pennsylvania Commissioner for the Governor’s Advisory Commission on Latino Affairs, is a member of the Board of Directors of the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence and currently serves on the CEIBA Coalition where she has held various officer positions over the past five years. Her leadership in the area of victim’s services earned Concilio the new appointment of East Division Victims Services’ provider by the City of Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office.

Mrs. Cruz is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Community Impact Award from the Hispanic Choice Awards, Philadelphia’s Business Journal 40 Under 40 Award, KYW Women’s Achievement Award, and Aetna Healthcare – Latina Leadership Award.
Mrs. Otero-Cruz holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Peirce College in Business Administration with a concentration in management.

 

Jesús Peña

Biography to come.

 

Ana Saiz-De la Peña

Biography to come.

 

Gloria A. SantiagoGloria A. Santiago

Gloria A. Santiago grew up in Erie, Pennsylvania being the second oldest of 4 children. She was the first in her family to attend college and received her BA in Criminal Justice from Gannon University in 2010.

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Following her BA from Gannon, she received her Master in Administration of Justice from Mercyhurst University in May of 2014. Gloria’s passion to make a change and lend a helping hand is demonstrated throughout her 20+ year experience in the Criminal Justice and Social Service field. Her newest development is the Miss Erie Belleza Latina Annual Pageant in which the 1 st Latina queen of Erie was crowned in August 2014. She is the mother of two young men, Jorge and Brandon, one of which is a business owner; and a proud grandmother of their children. Gloria continues to reside in Erie, Pennsylvania.

 

Antonio Fiol-Silva FAIA, AICP, LEED AP BD+CAntonio Fiol-Silva FAIA, AICP, LEED AP BD+C

Antonio, a nationally recognized leader in sustainable planning and design, is the Founding Principal of SITIO architecture + urbanism.

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He serves as: Commissioner of the Delaware River Port Authority, District Council Chair of ULI Philadelphia, and board member of the Central Philadelphia Development Corporation, National league of Cities’ Rose Center for Public Leadership, and the Center for Architecture + Design.

 

Michael ToledoMichael Toledo

Michael is the Executive Director of the Centro Hispano in Reading PA. In this role, Michael oversees and is responsible for overall operations and strategic direction of the organization.

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Michael’s commitment to the community that he lives, works, and raises his family in is evident in his community engagement.

He is a School Board Director in the Fleetwood School District, a Trustee at Reading Area Community College, and is a member of the Community Advisory Board for Alvernia University, Albright College, and Penn State Berks. Michael professional career includes sixteen years of professional banking experience in Greater Reading.

Michael has a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Finance from Shippensburg University of PA. He interned at the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

In 2011, Michael was invited by the White House Office Of Public Engagement to participate in the first ever White House Hispanic Policy Conference on Winning the Future: President Obama’s Agenda and the Hispanic Community. There Mr. Toledo met President Obama and members of his senior team to discuss ways to engage urban communities like ours.

In 2012, Michael was a graduate of the American Express Leadership Academy at the Center for Creative Leadership. The Center for Creative Leadership is a top-ranked, global provider of executive education that develops better leaders through its exclusive focus on leadership education and research.

In 2013 and 2014, Michael served as the Pennsylvania State lead for the National Council of La Raza (NCLR) affiliates in advocacy work on Capital Hill focused on providing the Latino perspective on issues including education, the federal budget, and workforce development.

In 2014 Michael was named as a Greater Reading Rising Star by the Greater Reading Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Michael was also named to the inaugural class of the Presidential leadership Scholars program led by the Clinton and Bush Foundations.

 

Francisco Aranda TorresFrancisco Aranda Torres

Mr. Torres-Aranda has over 15 years experience in engineering research and development of high performance safety and building products. He has served as President/CEO of Advanced-Tec Materials since 2007 after his father’s untimely passing.

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In 2012 and then again in 2014 his company’s product development work has been highlighted by the Marcellus Shale Coalition as being showcase technology for its cutting edge innovation in the oil,natural gas, and energy industry. Prior to serving as President/CEO, he served as Vice President of Product Development for ATM, spearheading projects which included a research and development program with the prestigious Penske racing organization based in Mooresville, NC. Prior to working at Advanced-Tec, Mr. Torres-Aranda, was co-founder and served as Vice President of Innovative Ash Applications Corp., a company that worked with several power utility companies including UGI Utilities Inc. in order to find beneficial uses for the coal- combustion by-products generated at their power plants. While still in college, Mr. Torres-Aranda worked with the US Department of Health and Human Services as a liaison between the immigrant community and various regional health organizations.

His territory included all of Northeastern Pennsylvania, from the northern tier counties to Williamsport, and east to the New Jersey border. His research interests include the beneficial utilization of coal-combustion byproducts, high-performance automotive/racing technology, and astronomy (his research into quasar theory won an international award and was published in a European science journal when he was still in eight grade.) His educational background includes Pre-Med, (with an emphasis on biochemistry and biology) and Mechanical Engineering. Currently, Mr. Torres-Aranda serves on the board of Hazleton Integration Project (HIP) a non-profit founded by Joe Maddon, coach of the Chicago Cubs, that is focused on the strengthening of community relations in Hazleton and its surrounding communities. He is fully fluent in both business and conversational English and Spanish. Additionally, he maintains residences in both Northeastern Pennsylvania (Eagle Rock Resort), and Quintana Roo (Cancun), Mexico.

 

Lorna Velazquez

Lorna Velazquez became the Executive Director of the Hispanic Center Lehigh Valley in 2011. She is married to Jorge Velazquez and they have three delightful daughters.

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Lorna is a native of Brooklyn, New York. She has lived in what she calls paradise, Bethlehem, for the past 17 years. Lorna is a veteran of the US Army, and the vast majority of her career and passion has been working in the social services field. Lorna has used her life experiences as the catalyst for being a model of how a person can overcome obstacles and work hard to be at their best.

She has been the driving force in continuing to develop new and existing partnerships. Lorna has led our center to embrace a new paradigm. Her strong leadership has led to the development of the Hispanic Center’s Food Pantry and the growth of the Hispanic Center’s fundraising efforts. Lorna has worked hand in hand with community partners on projects that have resulted in a beautiful Senior Center garden, the addition of a mural in the Senior Center, and the forthcoming renovation of the Center’s Fowler building into the Fowler Hispanic Center for Integrative Health. She is determined to listen to our community and work with partners to build a strong, vibrant center that empowers and offers clients the opportunity to be all they can be.

 

Contact Us

For more information about the Governor’s Advisory Commission on Latino Affairs, please contact:

Luz B. Colon / Executive Director
200 South Broad Street 11th Floor
Philadelphia, PA 19102
215-560-2640