The 2010 Inc. 5000: Top 10 Latino- and Hispanic Entrepreneurs
Michael Evangelista-Ysasaga, CEOMaria Vogt, CEOMarie Diaz, CEOGuillermo "Bill" Calvo, CEOAnthony "Tony" Jimenez, CEORamiro Zeron, CEOModesto "Moe" Flores, CEOJordan Guernsey, CEOMary Ellen Trevino, CEOArt Hurtado, CEO
The Penna Group
2009 Revenue: $15.5 million
Three-Year Growth: 9,524.7%
Evangelista-Ysasaga's mother is a Mexican immigrant, and his father comes from a Spanish Basque family that can trace their New World roots back to 1506. Evangelista-Ysasaga started a general contracting firm at just 18 years old to pay his way through college. While practicing law for 12 years, he developed a specialty for construction law and used that knowledge to start The Penna Group, which manages construction projects for government and military customers.
2009 Revenue: $20.1 million
Three-Year Growth: 7,443.8%
Vogt (left) was born in the United States, but she comes from an Ecuadorian family of entrepreneurs. Her father grew his aerospace business here into a $200 million company, and Vogt caught the entrepreneurial spirit working there for nine years while attending college at night. She later founded Ayuda Management, a general contractor that provides environmental engineering and remediation service for government clients, in 2002. The company is 100 percent woman-owned, with her partner Sonia Youngerberg (right).
Pursuit of Excellence
2009 Revenue: $10.7 million
Three-Year Growth: 7,054.4%
Diaz (center), whose company, Pursuit of Excellence provides HR outsourcing, is of both Spanish and Mexican descent. She is an advocate for early childhood education in the Hispanic community and sits on the board for the national organization Pre-K Now, where she works on raising funds for disadvantaged families. She also founded an after-school program called Making of Champions, which promotes leadership skills in middle- and high-school students in the Dallas area.
2009 Revenue: $8.8 million
Three-Year Growth: 6,140.1%
Calvo (center left) was born in Lima, Peru, and immigrated with his parents to the Washington, D.C. area when he was two years old. His father owned multiple retail stores, including a beauty salon that his mother ran. Before eventually founding Provideo Management, Calvo worked as a consultant for the Department of Defense, where he saw that many services provided to the government lacked proper planning and execution. He set out to change that with Provideo, named for a Latin term meaning to provide advance planning.
2009 Revenue: $185.3 million
Three-Year Growth: 4,200.4%
Jimenez followed in the footsteps of his father, of Puerto Rican descent, and joined the military. After retiring as a Lieutenant Coronel in 2003, he took the knowledge he acquired serving in the Pentagon to start MicroTech, which provides IT systems integration services to the federal government. His parents, neither of which graduated from high school, preached to Jimenez the value of education. Jimenez took the lesson to heart, earning two master's degrees in acquisition management and information systems. He is an active member of the community, serving on the board of sixteen not-for-profit organizations, including the American Legion and the Red Cross.
2009 Revenue: $59.1 million
Three-Year Growth: 3,466.6%
Zeron immigrated to the United States from Nicaragua when he was 29 years old. Although he didn't speak any English when he arrived, Zeron later earned an MBA and worked his way up from a clerical position at AT&T to an executive director. In 2005 he founded Zempleo, a staffing and HR company that also provides consulting for business process outsourcing, working nights and weekends while he was still at his former employer.
2009 Revenue: $4.2 million
Three-Year Growth: 3,440.6%
Flores grew up in Chihuahua, Mexico, but moved to El Paso, Texas in 1984. His entrepreneurial break ironically began when he was fired from a casino job in Las Vegas for speaking out for employee benefits. He later started working part time at a small insurance office. His boss quickly saw Flores’ potential and offered to sponsor Flores so he could earn his own insurance license. Flores took his compassion for people to Ensurity Group, which sells life and annuity insurance, with a focus on the Hispanic community. "While the market was in a big downturn during the last few years, I didn't even think about cutting staff," he says.
Revenue: $7.6 million
Three-Year Growth: 3,384.4%
Guernsey's mother is of Mexican descent, and though his father was American, he also spoke fluent Spanish. Guernsey earned a ballroom dancing scholarship to Utah Valley University, but later dropped out and started his own business in his mother’s basement when he was just 21. The inspiration for Molding Box came from working at a company looking to outsource its fulfillment. Guernsey simply offered to become the company’s vendor. Molding Box has since grown to provide packaging, printing, shipping and CD and DVD duplication services.
2009 Revenue: $17.9 million
Three-Year Growth: 1,950.3%
Trevino's Mexican mother, who immigrated to the United States from Vera Cruz, and American father raised her in the border town of Port Isabel, Texas. After working in the Department of the Treasury for 12 years and gaining a perspective of what the government was looking for, Trevino (right) started her own company, P3S, to provide services to the federal government ranging from IT to program management. She took to her company the sense of compassion and hard work she learned from her parents, making it a priority to take care of her customers and her employees.
2009 Revenue: $34.4 million
Three-Year Growth: 1,628.8%
Hurtado (right) was born in a small town in New Mexico, the son of a Bolivian immigrant father and a Swedish mother. After a 26-year career in the Army and a civilian career working in advanced systems and telecommunications implementation, he used those experiences to found Invertix in 1999. The company provides technological research, development, and engineering services to the federal government. Hurtado is committed to recruiting talented young Hispanic engineers and computer scientists, and a large part of his workforce is Hispanic, women, and other minorities.