Co-founders of this year's No. 1 Inc. 500 company, Alexander Anthony and Albert Fernandez are both of Cuban descent. Fernandez was born in Havana and immigrated to the U.S. with his family at age four. Anthony was born in Newark, N.J. shortly after his family arrived in the U.S. from Cuba in 1964. Before starting Northern Capital Insurance together in 2003, they ran a 900-person security-guard company, which they sold once they realized there was a greater need for quality insurance carriers in hurricane-battered Florida.
The daughter of a Mexican immigrant mother and American father, Mary Ellen Trevino grew up in Port Isabel -- a town on the Texas-Mexico border -- under difficult financial circumstances. Her father was a stroke victim and unable to work, so Trevino studied hard in high school and earned a scholarship to attend college at St. Mary’s University. She went on to get her MBA and began a career in the federal sector. She started P3S Corporation in 2005 to provide a variety of business solutions to the federal government.
Born and raised in Brazil, Bruno Almeida came to the United States during high school when his father got transferred to Miami for his job. He graduated from the University of Miami and became interested in the field of media planning. Although Almeida didn’t return to his native Brazil as he had once hoped, US Media Consulting keeps him close to his roots. The company provides advertising and consulting services to clients trying to reach the Latin American and Hispanic markets.
Michael Cabrera was born on an Indian reservation in Toppenish, Wash.; his parents were migrant farm workers from Mexico. The second of eight children, Cabrera had to work in the fields to help support his family. Later, he put himself through college and received a degree in electrical engineering. After 20 years of working in the industry, Cabrera decided to branch out on his own and started C&I Engineering in 1999.
Tony Jimenez’s Hispanic identity has always played a central role in his career. MicroTech, which Jimenez started in 2004 after a celebrated 24 years of service in the military, has received numerous awards, including being named the fastest-growing Hispanic-owned private company by Hispanic Business. Staying true to his veteran roots, MicroTech provides a variety of IT and technical services to federal government and private sector clients. Jimenez was born in the U.S., but traces his ancestry to Spain, Puerto Rico, and Cuba.
Growing up, Jose Caballer lived in both Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. He went to college in the U.S. at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, Calif., where he helped found the first Hispanic student union at the school. Pursuing his passion for design, he founded The Groop, a digital design agency that creates marketing products for PCs, mobile devices, and TV.
Daniel Sandoval is a New Mexican native with Hispanic heritage. His ancestors first settled in New Mexico in 1598 and many descendants of the family still live there today. Sandoval started Source Technologies out of his home in 2004 providing commercial engineering services. Today, the company is a recognized Hispanic-owned company and has expanded its services to include energy services and alternative fuels development. It is headquartered in Albuquerque, New Mexico, with offices in Dallas, Houston, and Bakersfield.
From his first trip to the U.S. at the age of 16, Thiago Davila knew he wanted to immigrate to the country. As soon as he turned 18, Davila left his small hometown near Sao Paulo, Brazil and started college at The University of Central Florida. During that time, he began working as an installer for aluminum contractors, which ultimately led him to start US Aluminum Services, his own installation business at the age of 22.
When Jose Villa started kindergarten in the U.S., he didn’t speak any English. The son of Cuban immigrants who fled Castro’s regime in the 1960s, Villa’s family had nothing when they arrived in the country. Villa went from humble beginnings to becoming a graduate of Harvard University and receiving his MBA from Wharton. Now he runs Sensis, a full-service advertising agency that he started in 1998, and uses his Cuban-American background to bring a fresh perspective to the advertising industry.
Wil Martinez grew up in a small town in Puerto Rico and moved permanently to the U.S. when he got accepted to MIT. JB Aleman was born in the U.S. to Cuban immigrants and attended college at the University of Florida. Both Martinez and Aleman settled in the Miami community, where they founded Meridian Partners together, a company that helps public sector organizations manage IT functions. Martinez and Aleman also serve as mentors to Hispanic-American youth in the Miami area.
Growing up in an impoverished area of Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, Hiram Machado started working at age 13 to help support his family and pay for school fees. He learned first hand the drive of an entrepreneur while working for his uncle in the auto repair shop he owned. Later, while attending university in Brazil, Machado took night classes to learn English so he could land his first real job as a software localization engineer. That job eventually led him to a lucrative position at Microsoft and ultimately to the decision to start AdaQuest, where Machado works with IT companies to adapt their products to non-English-speaking markets.