Mendez, Frank S. (1925-). Born of Mexican migrant parents, Mendez grew up in Lorain, Ohio. He joined the armed forces during World War II and eventually became the director of the U.S. Army Tropic Test Center in the Panama Canal Zone, reaching the rank of colonel. His biography, publish by Kent State University Press, provides a window into growing up Latino in Ohio during the early twentieth century.
Guzman, Henry (1946-). In 2007 Governor Ted Strickland named Guzman director of the Ohio Department of Public Service. He came to Ohio at the age of five from Puerto Rico, when his father moved to Youngstown to work in the steel mills. After graduating from high school and serving a tour of duty in Vietnam, where he received the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star for Valor, Guzman began an organization in Youngstown that addresses Hispanic American culture.
Alvarado, Alicia (1948-). Sister Alicia Alvarado was born in Puerto Rico and moved to Cleveland in the early 1950s, when her father came to the United States. A member of the Dominican Sisters, she has worked as director of the Cleveland diocesan Office of Hispanic Ministry. She has served as member of the board of trustees of Tri-C and Esperanza Inc. She was named Madrina (Godmother) of the Year at Cleveland State University. She is currently working with Councilman Joe Santiago as his assistant.
Lopez, Al (1948-). Lopez is a cofounder and president emeritus of Esperanza Inc., an organization that promotes education, provides tutoring services for students and helps the local school districts understand the needs of Latino youth. He is also the founder and officer of the Hispanic Roundtable, an organization created to unite and empower the Hispanic community to play a larger, more active role in the economic, educational, civic, political, and social life of Greater Cleveland.
Martinez, Luis (1948-). Martinez is a cofounder and president emeritus of Esperanza Inc. and the organizer of the Viva la Salsa festival. He has worked for the City of Cleveland since the 1970s.
Pagan, Natividad (1949-). Born in Cleveland, Ohio, to Puerto Rican parents, educator Pagan is a graduate of West Technical High School. She is the principal of Joseph Gallagher School, in the Cleveland Public School District. She was also the director of the Multicultural and Bilingual Program of the Cleveland Schools, and she is one of the founders of the Julia de Burgos Cultural Center, located in Cleveland.
Feliciano, Jose (1950-). Born in Yauco, Puerto Rico, Feliciano is an active trial lawyer with 30 years experience in complex commercial and employment litigation. His experience includes business litigation, product liability, construction, shareholders’ rights, contracts, eminent domain, and commercial and personal torts. Feliciano was elected to the American College of Trial Lawyers in 1995, and he is a life member of both the Judicial Conference and the Eighth Judicial District. He is the founder and chairman of the Hispanic Roundtable, former chairman of the Hispanic Leadership Development Program, founder of the Hispanic Community Forum, and a founder of the Ohio Hispanic Bar Association, where he served as vice president.
Villanueva, Jose A. (1951-). A judge for the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court, Judge Villanueva is a graduate of West Technical High School in Cleveland. He has a BA from Cleveland State University and a law degree from Georgetown University. He was a staff attorney at the Cleveland Legal Aid Society (1979-1988), a commissioner at the Ohio Civil Rights Commission (1985-1988); a legal intern at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (1978-1979), and a legal intern at the Community Legal Clinic at George Washington University (1978-1979).
Alfonzo, Alma (1954-). Alfonzo is the owner of Lelolai Bakery & Cafe, opened in March
2001 as a retail bakery specializing in Spanish desserts, pastries and other delicacies, including the popular flan. In April 2002, Alfonzo received the Entrepreneur of the Year Award by the Cleveland Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. In October 2002 Gourmet Magazine recognized Lelolai Bakery & Cafe as one of the top 200 restaurants in the nation.
Pagan, Angel (1964-). Pagan is a former director of the Ohio Office of the Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration. He worked at Cleveland State University as the Hispanic Retention Initiative coordinator, providing assistance to Latino students. His posts as a teacher in Puerto Rico and Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in the early 1990s convinced him of the important role of education in community empowerment. In December 1994, he obtained his BA from Universidad Central de Bayamon in Puerto Rico with a concentration in English literature and linguistics. He received his master’s degree in philosophy from Cleveland State University.
Escudero, Ezra (1974-). An Ohio native and a graduate from Ohio State University (1996), Escudero is the director of the Commission on Hispanic/Latino Affairs.