Date ArticleType
4/19/2012 Press Release
AZHCC to Honor Business Award Winners at 54th Annual Gala

AZ Hispanic Chamber to honor business award winners at 54th annual gala

May 4-5 symposium features free business workshops, release of DATOS: Focus on the Hispanic Market (2012), and a community town hall featuring U.S. Senate candidate Richard Carmona

54th Annual Black & White Ball and Business Awards caps groundbreaking, two-day business symposium 

CONTACT: James E. Garcia, 623-252-2772, Headshots of business award recipients available upon request

PHOENIX (April 19, 2012) The Arizona Hispanic Chamber’s 2012 business award recipients will be honored May 5 at this year’s 54th Annual Black & White Ball and Business Awards.

This year’s theme for the awards ceremony is “Arizona Latinos: A Centennial Legacy”. The gala caps off a first-of-its-kind, statewide Latino business symposium – "Transforming Arizona's Economy” – at the Phoenix Convention Center, May 4-5.

"This year’s recipients of the Chamber’s business awards reflect the growing and historic impact of the state’s Latino business community, and the influence our community is having on every facet of society,” said Gonzalo de la Melena, president and CEO of the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. “As our 2012 DATOS report shows, the future of the economy in this state and across the country depends more every day on the economic contributions of the Latino community.”

Here’s a list of the AZHCC 2012 Business Award recipients: Woman of Year, Bettina Nava, FirstStrategic; Man of the Year, Ernest Calderón, Calderón Law Offices; Entrepreneur of the Year, Luis de la Cruz, Andale Construction; Corporation of the Year, APS (Arizona Public Service); Community Advocate of the Year, Phil Gordon, former Phoenix mayor; and Legacy Award, Eddie Basha. (Full bios of award recipients below.)

Highlights of the “Transforming Arizona’s Economy” May 4-5, 2012 business symposium:

- Free business workshops (May 4)
- The release of the 16th annual, DATOS: Focus on the Hispanic Market (May 4)
- Community town hall, featuring U.S. Senate candidate Richard Carmona (May 4)
- The 54th Annual Black & White Ball and Business Awards (May 5)

More than 3,000 people are expected to participate in the two-day symposium, the largest gathering of Latino community and business leaders in the state. The University of Phoenix is the 2012 presenting sponsor for the business symposium. Other major sponsors include Cox Communications, SRP, Univision and Republic Media.

"It is a pleasure to be the presenting sponsor of the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce's inaugural business symposium. The Hispanic chamber provides a wide range of support for Latino business leaders as they continue to lead extraordinary business growth in the state," said Dominique K. Brown, corporate diversity officer of Apollo Group, Inc., the corporate parent of University of Phoenix."

"Our state's economy is on track for recovery," said AZHCC Board Chairman Tony Astorga, "and the community's corporate and political leadership should know that building a strong economy will require a better understanding of the impact of Latino business community and our population's fast-growing buying power."

Among the highlights to be released in this year’s DATOS: Focus on the Hispanic Market report:

- Latino consumers purchase an estimated $40 billion in goods and services in Arizona every year. By 2015, the figure could rise to $50 billion.
- There are more than 60,000 Latino-owned businesses in the state, 20,000 of which are Latina owned.
- Nationwide, Latinos account for $1.2 trillion in total annual purchasing power and experts say that figure could increase to $1.5 trillion by 2015.

The Southwest is in the midst of an unprecedented cultural, demographic and economic shift. Cities such as Phoenix, San Antonio, Albuquerque and Los Angeles, local combined minority communities account for a majority of the population in those cities. In one decade, Phoenix will be majority Latino. In one generation, Arizona will be majority Latino. Most of this extraordinary change is driven by the fast-expanding Latino business and consumer market. U.S. Census figures show Arizona's Latino population grew 46 percent since 2000.

For information about purchasing individual tickets or tables for the DATOS luncheon or Black & White Ball and Business Awards, please contact Norma Macias, (602) 294-6081, or

About the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (AZHCC)

The AZHCC is a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting the efforts of the local business community, especially small business owners. Furthermore, the AZHCC provides a voice for Hispanic businesses in the Valley through advocacy efforts at the local, state and national level.

AZHCC 2012 Business Award Recipients’ Biographies:

Bettina Nava is a Partner in the firm FirstStrategic, Communications & Public Affairs, joining in 2003 and becoming a partner in 2008. Nava leads the firm's community, non-profit and business outreach efforts.
Most recently before becoming a partner at FirstStategic, Nava worked as one of eleven Regional Campaign Managers for the McCain 2008 Presidential Team across the country. As the Campaign Manager for the Southwest Region, Nava was in charge of all hiring, managing and implementation of campaign strategies and communications for the region for four states including Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and Utah. Prior to this responsibility, Nava was Director of Fundraising for McCain 2008 in Arizona. She also served as a Presidential Elector for the State of Arizona in 2008.
Nava also served as the State Director for Arizona Senator John McCain’s three offices for over two and a half years. Additionally, Nava was also employed by McCain during his 2000 Presidential bid to direct and enhance his coalition building efforts and strategic outreach activities. Nava also worked for Governor Fife Symington as his Director of Community Relations and later as the Governor’s Director of all of Arizona’s Boards and Commissions.
A graduate of the University of Arizona, Nava has an extensive background in political and community strategic planning with an emphasis on coalition building statewide. She currently serves on the board of the United Way, Child’s Play and on the public policy committee for First Things First. More importantly, Bettina is a wife and mother of three truly beautiful and precocious children ages 12, 10 and 5.


Ernest Calderón is the son of the late Albert & Nellie Calderón of Morenci. He is a sixth generation native of what was once New Mexico Territory. Ernest was the first Hispanic to serve as president of the State Bar of Arizona and is completing an eight plus year term on the Arizona Board of Regents where he served 165,000 students as its president. He has been advocate for the disadvantaged in changing education policy for over twenty years. He serves on the Council of Board Chairs of the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges (“AGB”). He has served as adjunct faculty at Northern Arizona University, Arizona State University and Phoenix College (part of the Maricopa County Community College District). He served on former Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano’s School Readiness and P-20 councils. Ernest is an active board member of the Northern Arizona University Foundation and is a member of the WESTEd educational laboratory board of directors.

Having practiced law for 29 years, Ernest is the principal in his own law firm. He is a member of the prestigious American Law Institute and is an “AV Preeminent” rated lawyer as noted in the Martindale-Hubbell directory. Prior to going into private practice, Mr. Calderón served as corporate counsel to Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Arizona and Arizona Public Service Company after serving as law clerk to Senior U.S. District Judge Walter E. Craig. He was named Latino Lawyer of the Year by the Hispanic National Bar Association and also served as a delegate in the American Bar Association House of Delegates.

Ernest is a past Chairman of the Catholic Community Foundation and is a past member of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix Finance Council. He is a Knight Commander with Star in the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem. Ernest has served as president of Valley Leadership and as a board member of numerous nonprofit organizations including the American Red Cross (Arizona Chapter), American Diabetes Association (Arizona Affiliate), Valley of the Sun United Way and as a member of the Arizona Commission on Appellate Court Appointments. Ernest serves on the corporate boards of SCFArizona, EPCOR Arizona Water Company, the Tax Free Trusts of Arizona, Colorado & Utah and on the Cancer Treatment Centers of America Western hospital. Ernest has just completed a ten year term as General Counsel to the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
A graduate of Northern Arizona University, he also attended the University of Arizona College of Law and has done executive graduate work at Northwestern University. Ernest is the father of four children. Two are graduating from high school in May of 2012, one is a student in the Maricopa County Community College District and the fourth is serving with the United States Air Force in Afghanistan. His children are his greatest achievement and subject of his pride.

Luis De La Cruz is a native of Southern California and began his construction career as an 18-year-old laborer in Los Angeles. He soon took on new challenges in order to become a better provider for his family. In November 2006, he launched Andale Construction, Inc. (ACI) with two Partners, Jesus Aguilar and a shareholder, Agustin De La Torre.
His visionary leadership and business acumen allowed him to grow his company’s opportunities and revenues by obtaining Small Business Administration SBA 8(a) certification in 2010; which, in turn, led to ACI’s two, current federal projects totaling $80 Million at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina –part of a Joint Venture/Mentor Protégé relationship with Sundt Corporation.
Andale Construction Inc.’s stellar business reputation over the past five years has earned the company a wide range of certifications, which allows ACI to compete for construction projects nationwide. ACI holds the following small business certifications, including U.S. SBA 8(a), National Minority Supplier Development Council, Inc., Grand Canyon Minority Supplier Development Council Inc. (Ethnic-Minority Business Enterprise-MBE), and Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE).
ACI has received several prestigious awards: Minority Business Development Agency 2008 Minority Contractor of the Year; Arizona Department of Transportation 2009 DBE Contractor of the Year; Associated Minority Contractors of America 2010 Minority Subcontractor; 2011 United Latino Business Coalition 2011 Small Business of the Year; and Minority Economic Development Week & AZ Hispanic Chamber of Commerce 2011 Minority Firm of the Year.

For decades, Luis’ easygoing but contagiously energetic personality has inspired an attitude of team-work among his colleagues and his own active support for other small businesses. ACI and its partner’s believe in building “old fashioned relationships” by embracing the following pillars of success: Safety, Quality Workmanship, and Professional Standards.
Luis has been married to Cynthia De La Cruz for more than 35 years. They have two daughters and four beautiful and spoiled grand-children.


Making Phoenix better has been the central focus of Phil Gordon’s life for more than two decades. Born in Chicago to Sid and Judy Gordon, he is the oldest of three children and the only one to venture into public service.
He attended the University of Arizona and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in history education. Gordon attended Arizona State University School of Law and graduated cum laude.
A schoolteacher, lawyer, small businessman and a leader in the movement to revitalize and preserve central Phoenix, Gordon served on the Madison Elementary School Board and as chief of staff to Mayor Skip Rimsza before seeking public office in 1997.
As a two-term member of the Phoenix City Council, Gordon spearheaded Shannon's Law, making it a felony to randomly discharge a firearm within city limits. He also co-founded and chaired the Slumlord Task Force, which produced legislation to aid in the fight against neglectful and criminal landlords.
Gordon was elected Mayor of Phoenix in 2003, garnering 72 percent of the vote. He won 77 percent of the vote during his re-election in 2007.
Under his leadership, the City increased public safety spending and added hundreds of new police officers and firefighters. In 2010, the city’s crime rate reached a 20-year low.
Gordon’s leadership led to unprecedented public-private partnerships and the evolution of downtown Phoenix into a hub of education activity. Downtown is now home to Arizona State University and the University of Arizona, and features a biomedical campus housing the Translational Genomics Research Institute and other cutting-edge research.
Among his other major accomplishments as mayor: unveiling and implementing a 17-point Green Phoenix plan; launching the City’s light rail system in December 2008; and the revitalization of downtown Phoenix, which attracted more than $4 billion in investment.
In 2008, Gordon was named the Best Mayor in North America by the London-based World Mayors Project. He served as chairman of the U.S. Conference of Mayors’ Task Force on Comprehensive Immigration Reform. Under his leadership, Phoenix was dubbed “A 21st Century City” and named an “All-American City” for the fifth time in its history. Gordon is the father of four children.

Eddie Basha is a man with deep roots in Arizona. Born and raised in the community of Chandler, Basha has dedicated most of his life to making Arizona a better place to live. His advocacy for children and education is legendary.
Eddie is the great-grandson of settlers who came to America in 1884. His grandparents were Arizona pioneers who opened a general store in the mining community of Ray, Arizona, in 1910, two years before statehood. Today, Bashas’ is the only family-owned supermarket chain in Arizona. Currently there are 128 stores.
Eddie continues to be an outstanding citizen who has donated his leadership, time and financial support to community projects of all types across the state. Eddie is a leading proponent of quality education. His appointment to the Arizona Board of Regents by Governor Rose Mofford in 1990 concluded in January of 1998. Eddie also served a thirteen-year term on the Chandler School Board. Additionally he was appointed by Governor Bruce Babbitt to the State Board of Education where he served for two consecutive, four-year terms.
Eddie has devoted countless hours toward the plight of the homeless and hungry, health care issues, as a proponent of the arts, numerous political referendums and many other community and civic projects as well.
Eddie and his wife, Nadine Mathis Basha, have passed this strong sense of community and commitment on to their family of six sons.
Honors and Awards (Partial List):
2012 Az Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Legacy Award
2010 Victoria Foundation: Edith Sayre Auslander Award for Outstanding Support of Hispanic
Issues in Higher Education
2010 City of Chandler Parks & Recreation; Tumbleweed Park/Celebration Plaza – Community Service Award (05/29/10)
2010 Chandler Historical Society; Pioneer of the Year Award (4/24/10)
2010 Women’s Board/Steele Children’s Research Center Panda Luncheon Honorees (4/10)
2009 Boy Scouts of America Community Champion Award (10/09)
2009 Az Center for Afterschool Excellence Community Champions for Children Award (10/09)
Nadine/EB were both honored with the award.
2009 Social Venture Partners AZ – Social Entrepreneurs of the Year Award – Nadine/Eddie both were honored for their innovative and philanthropic efforts (04/24/09)
2009 Copper Sword Award / AZ Veterans Hall of Fame (2/09)
2008 75th Anniversary Catholic Community Services Foundation of Tucson; Nadine/EB both were honored with a “Diamonds of our Community Award” (11/14/2008)
2007 Arizona Culturekeeper Award (9/07)
2007 Valle del Sol – Hall of Fame Award Recipient (9/07)
2005 New Directions Inst. (Infant Brain Development), Science of Early Learning Award (5/05)
2005 ASU Martin Luther King Servant Leadership Award (1/27/05)
2004 East Valley Partnership, Dwight Patterson Lifetime Achievement Award (11/16/04)
2004 Arizona Education Foundation, Presidential Award for Excellence in Education (11/10/04)
2004 Rotary International District Conference – Four-Way Test Award (June 25, 2004)
2001 Retailer of the Year Award; Arizona Food Marketing Association (November 2, 2001)
2001 Governor’s Arts Award; Corporate Category; (March 7, 2001)
2001 AZ Historymaker, AZ Historical Society/AZ Historical League (Feb. 24, 2001)

Since 1886 Arizona Public Service (APS) has met Arizona’s growing energy needs. Today, more than 6,000 employees work together to provide safe, affordable and reliable electricity to 1.1 million customers. The company is Arizona’s largest and longest serving energy provider, with customers in 11 of Arizona’s 15 counties.
APS has always understood the direct relationship between success and the strength and vitality of Arizona. From employee giving and volunteering to supplier diversity programs, APS works to improve the lives of everyone who calls Arizona home.
Last year, APS invested more than $7.8 million in organizations and programs while APS employees volunteered more than 157,000 hours. Working with strategic partners such as the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Chicanos Por La Causa, Friendly House, Valle del Sol, Aguila Youth Leadership Development and others, APS’s philanthropic work is making a difference in improving the socio-economic conditions of Hispanics in Arizona.
The Hispanic community also benefits from APS’s focus on creating a positive experience for all customers. For those who wish to conduct business in Spanish, APS offers a Spanish-language bill and Spanish-speaking call center and office associates.
APS understands the importance of supplier diversity, not only as a good business strategy but also as a way to help grow state and local economies. It’s Supplier Diversity and Development Program is a standard other companies look to emulate. Through this program, each year, the company spends nearly $70 million with women and minority-owned businesses.