Statewide HISPANIC CHAMBER OF COMMERCE announces Winter Gala

Lyndhurst, NJ — The Statewide Hispanic Chamber of Commerce will hold its Annual Winter Gala on Saturday, December 7th, 2019 at Hudson House in Jersey City. The event will kick off with a fantastic cocktail reception followed by an awards presentation honoring the remarkable contributions made by the business, civic and community leaders.

“It has been an amazing year of many milestones for our Chamber, and we are excited to celebrate with all who contributed to our familia’s success” said Luis De La Hoz, Chairman.

The Winter Gala will celebrate another strong year for the fastest-growing minority business group in the state. The chamber will present special awards & recognition to the following Hispanic leaders:

Lifetime Achievement Award | Judge Jose Linares, Partner at McCarter & English
The Honorable Jose L. Linares chairs McCarter’s Alternative Dispute Resolution practice. He served as Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey, having been nominated to the bench by President George W. Bush in 2002. Prior to joining the United States District Court, he served as a superior court judge in Essex County, New Jersey.

Judge Linares’s experience, acquired over forty years in judicial service and private practice, offers clients a unique perspective on litigation and a deep understanding of dispute resolution. Over the course of his career, he has developed the exceptional skills and ability to resolve complex disputes, relying on his extensive experience as both a judge and trial lawyer.

Judge Linares is highly experienced in the life sciences and financial services industries, having handled more than 50 patent cases in the past six years—many involving high-stakes disputes between generic and branded drug companies. In addition, he has presided over numerous major bankruptcy appeals, class actions, multidistrict litigations and securities fraud cases.

An acknowledged thought leader, Judge Linares lectures nationally on litigation and patent cases. He is an adjunct professor at Seton Hall School of Law. He led the New Jersey District Court 2017 Sentencing Symposium and the 2018 New Jersey District Court National Opioid Symposium, and is a fellow of the American Bar Association. He has been honored with the New Jersey State Bar Distinguished Judicial Service Award and the James J. McLaughlin Professionalism Award presented by the New Jersey State Bar Association.

Breaking ground as the first Hispanic to serve as Chief of the United States District Court of New Jersey and the first Cuban-born District Court Chief in the United States, Judge Linares champions diversity and inclusion, and has helped change the face of the federal court. He has received the Hispanic Bar Association Trailblazer Award, the Trailblazer Award from the Rutgers School of Law–Newark Association of Latin American Law Students, the Essex County Bar Association Civil Trial Attorney Achievement Award, Seton Hall Law School Latino Students Role Model Award, and the National Hispanic Bar Association Lifetime Achievement Award. Judge Linares is actively involved in numerous civic and nonprofit activities. He volunteers in youth athletic programs and dedicates time to mentoring students who are interested in pursuing a career in law.

President’s Award| Juan Gutierrez, Chairman of JAG Companies, Inc.
Juan was born Camaguey, Cuba in 1948 and migrated to the United States as a child. Juan was 13 when he arrived in New York in 1962 as part of “Operation Pedro Pan” to live with his grand-uncle in Whitestone, Queens. In New York, Juan finished grammar school at Saint Lukes and went onto attend St. Helena High School, run by the Marist Brothers in the Bronx. When his parents and young brother arrived from Cuba in 1966 in the Freedom Flights he was reunited with them, and the family moved to Paterson, NJ. Juan attended Newark College of Engineering.

After three years of working for the City of Paterson and seven years with Cruz Construction Company, in 1978 Juan founded his own civil construction company, performing work in sewer and water pipelines throughout the State of New Jersey. Over the years, the company has expanded its capabilities and geographic reach and acquired additional construction companies. Today, Juan is the Chairman of JAG Companies, Inc., whose entities include Northeast Remsco Construction and Caldwell Marine International, both based in Farmingdale, New Jersey; Huxted Tunneling, based in Palmetto, Florida; and ECI Drilling International based in Conroe, Texas. The companies perform a variety of civil construction work including pipelines, tunnels, bridges, highways, treatment plants, rail stations and specializing in the installation of submarine cables. These companies presently work throughout North America and the Caribbean.

Juan has served as past President and Executive Board Member of the Utility and Transportation Contractors Association of New Jersey; former Regional Vice President of the National Utility and Transportation Contractors Association; Executive Committee member of the General Contractors of New York; and as a member of The Moles. Juan is also Vice-Chairman of the Cuban American National Foundation.

Rising Star of the Year Award| Lilia Rios, Co-founder of La Providencia
Originally from Tamazula de Gordiano in the state of Jalisco, Lilia Rios is the co-founder of La Providencia, a company established in 2005 in Passaic, New Jersey. La Providencia has a national presence in supermarkets and restaurants in more than 22 states; its line includes ethnic kitchenware, arts and crafts, cleaning and party supplies. Rios graduated from The University of Guadalajara, with a bachelor’s degree in law.

Rios is a strong consulting professional with an EPI from Rutgers Business School and has 15-years’ experience working in the wholesale industry. Rios is skilled in supplier performance, purchase orders, low-cost sourcing from other countries, and wholesale sourcing. Rios has participated as a speaker, a panelist and as a keynote speaker for Mexican business and community affairs.

Latina Trailblazer of the Year Award | Katiria Soto, Co-anchor for Noticias Univision 41

Special Guest Recognition | Ramiro Cavazos, (USHCC President & CEO)

Ramiro Cavazos is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Previously, he served as the President & CEO of the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce for 10 years. With his expertise in economic development, he has served as the Director of Economic Development for the City of San Antonio, Director of Research and Economic Development for the UT Health Science Center, and as the Global Public Affairs Manager for the Levi Strauss Company and Foundation for the Texas, Mexico, and Latin America region.

Ramiro has a Masters of Public Administration from St. Mary’s University and holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Government from The University of Texas at Austin. A native of Weslaco in the Rio Grande Valley, he is a 7th generation Texan. Ramiro and his wife Christa are parents of two boys, 13 and 10 years-old.

“The SHCCNJ presents these prestigious awards each year to extraordinary and visionary persons, as well as corporate and government advocates,” Medina said. “The awards are based on those who have contributed to and who have demonstrated exemplary excellence and leadership in their professions,” indicated Carlos Medina, Esq., SHCCNJ President & CEO.