CANTON – The Latino Business League on Saturday, as part of Hispanic Heritage Month Commemoration, honored local business owners, officials and a volunteer it said had helped developed the local Latino business community and further its mission.
About 30 people met at Sol Mexican Restaurant at 1916 Cleveland Ave. NW for a buffet luncheon to watch business owners and officials be presented with plaques or a bouquet of roses.
The league was founded in 2013 to encourage local Hispanic residents to develop their own businesses and encourage cross-cultural exchanges.
Akron-Canton Airport CEO Renato Camacho received a plaque his “ability to inspire and exemplary leadership.”
Camacho told the attendees he was the youngest of seven children of parents from Puerto Rico. He grew up in the Bronx and went on to work for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, John F. Kennedy International Airport and later Cleveland Hopkins International Airport in 2007. He oversaw regulatory compliance for airport construction projects as the chief of planning and engineering before he landed the job as Akron-Canton Airport’s CEO in 2018.
“This is a wonderful community. The Canton and Akron community have accepted me with open arms as a Latino. At the airport, I am one of three minorities. And the only Hispanic and Latino at the airport. So we know we have a lot more work to do when it comes to diversity, equity and inclusion at the airport,” Camacho said, adding that he wants to add more Latino employees to the airport staff.
Canton Treasurer Kim Perez, the grandson of immigrants from Spain, was presented with a plaque for his “commitment to support the Hispanic community.” He talked about what his office is doing to help business owners including Latino business owners meet their city tax obligations.
He told the attendees that sometimes the Latino Business League founder Alfredo Carranza would come into the city tax department office with a Latino business owner and would act as a Spanish/English interpreter.
“We’d sit down and we’d work with them and get them back on their feet. Get their taxes paid up and I’d waive the PMI, the penalty and interest in order to get them gone and understanding how they got to do things in the future. We just don’t do it for the Latino. We do it for anybody who comes into the office. If you’re willing to help yourself, we’re willing to help you. But the tax obligation is an obligation nobody can get around,” said Perez.
Also receiving plaques were:
- Arlene Franco-Ramos, of Canton, who grew up in Puerto Rico before moving to Stark County 14 years ago who founded the Great Lakes Community Action Partnership, which provides Head Start education to children in Hartville. She was recognized for her “dedication and support to the Hispanic community.”
- Alfredo Villatoro, of Canton, who founded recently in Canton the roofing company Alfredo Construction. He was honored for his “support to the Hispanic community.”
- League volunteer Ed Davila, of Jackson Township for his “outstanding service to the Hispanic community.”
Marisol Alvarez, of Massillon, who owns Sol Mexican Restaurant with her husband, was presented with a bouquet of roses for her support of the league, which has included hosting many of the league’s events.
Reach Repository writer Robert Wang at 330-580-8327 or [email protected] Twitter: @rwangREP.