Tampa, Fla. (July 31, 2014) – The Board of Directors of Tampa Hispanic Heritage, Inc. proudly announces the selection of Evelio Otero as the 2014 Hispanic Man of the Year and Maria del Pilar Ortiz as the 2014 Hispanic Woman of the Year.
Tampa Hispanic Heritage, Inc. will honor the continuing contributions of Evelio Otero and Maria del Pilar Ortiz to our community during the 27th Annual Tampa Hispanic Heritage, Inc. Gala at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, October 4, at the Hilton Tampa Downtown, 211 N. Tampa Street, Tampa.
The gala is part of the festivities that will take place during Hispanic Heritage Month, and it unites important people in the community with the purpose of raising funds towards scholarships for deserving and financially needy Hispanic students.
These annual awards honor Hispanics who have contributed significantly to the success of our community. They are Hispanic men and women who have excelled in their endeavors to advance, promote, maintain, and enhance our Hispanic heritage and who, by their outstanding contributions, have improved the quality of life in the Tampa Bay Hispanic community.
About Evelio Otero
Evelio Otero was born in Puerto Rico. The son of a Cuban father and a Puerto Rican mother, he has had an illustrious career in the military and beyond.
As a Colonel in the United States Air Force, Evelio held many positions of great importance and responsibility. At the US Head Quarters Central Command, MacDill AFB, Tampa, Florida, he was the Chief of the International Engagement Division. As such, he was in charge of implementing official strategy and policies for engaging with partner nations, based on regional U.S. military policies, the needs of potential partner nations, and status of the National War on Terror. Before this, Evelio was Chief of the Coalition Intelligence Center, and Chief of the Intelligence Operations Division.
Now retired, Colonel Otero brings 29 years of executive level experience in international diplomacy. He is skilled in negotiating partnerships and agreements with foreign governments, including Poland, Colombia, Brazil, Ecuador, Jordan, France, and others. He is also a Recognized expert in coalition development and intergovernmental policy development and implementation, having lectured on the topic before academic and international audiences
Evelio is the Chairman/Founder of the Course of Action Foundation, dedicated to expanding economic ties with Latin America through Tampa Bay, to provide research support and provide policy recommendations in support of protecting Tampa Bay’s, and Florida’s west coast economy. He is also the Founder of Otero International LLC, organization dedicated to pursue international initiatives for the development of US defense industry and expansion of US economy.
Evelio has worked closely with veterans to help them fight for their rights and has served as an intermediary between veterans and Congress. He has also worked extensively with the Hispanic community in the Tampa Bay Area. At present, he is acting as an assessor to Movimiento Organizado de Venezolanos en el Exterior (MOVE). He is also well known for promoting education as a means of growth among minorities.
Evelio has received numerous recognitions for his work. He was awarded the Presidential Gold medal from Ana G. Mendez University (2012), The Defense Superior Service Medal (2010), Nominated for Polish Government Gold medal (2009), Defense Meritorious Service Medal (2005, 2002, 2001, 1997), Air Force Commendation Medal (1991, 1986), Air Force Expeditionary Service Award (Combat Zone Gold Frame) and the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal.
Evelio holds a Bachelor of Arts in political Science and Journalism from Iowa State University, Ames, IA, a Master of Arts in International Relations from Troy State University, Troy, a Master of Science in National Strategic Policy from Air War College, Montgomery, AL (In Residence).
About Maria del Pilar Ortiz
A media expert and TV talent, Maria del Pilar Ortiz was born in Colombia and arrived in the United States in l998.
Pilar has dedicated over 23 years to help viewers, followers and clients to be informed, make better decisions, build their self esteem and overcome fears. As the main anchor of Univision Tampa, she increased her ratings to compete with the English language news stations driving incremental revenue to the Sales Department. Her portfolio includes working with Univision, CNN, CBS Telenoticias, Caracol, RCN, New York Life, Herbalife, Schneider, McDonalds, Dunnhumby and other top corporations.
Pilar has more than 20 years of experience as a reporter, main anchor (11 years as the News Anchor at Univision Tampa), producer and news director in networks such as CBS Telenoticias, Univision, Caracol, RCN and 24 Horas. She hosts a TV segment called Positive Attitude (Actitud Positiva) in CNN Latino helping viewers to have a better quality of life. In the last four years, Pilar Ortiz has built a successful business as a inspirational speaker and author, Pilar Ortiz Enterprises LLC.
Pilar also writes a weekly column in 7 DIAS, a well known Spanish Newspaper in the Tampa Bay area as well as in El Punto News. In 2013 she published her first book, “On the Road to Success. Everybody Starts Somewhere.”
Pilar has been involved in her community in many different ways and especially with two special causes: Alzheimer’s awareness among Latinos, helping the community to take better care, not only of the patient but of the caregiver/son or daughter at home. Pilar speaks for free about this topic and is always looking for opportunities to reach out through interviews, to keep the public informed about the options, educational resources and help available. The second cause is the mentorship program for Latino women through the Hispanic Professional Women’s Association in Tampa Bay where she has been a member for several years and served as President during 2013-2014. As president of the organization, Pilar and her team of volunteers re-launched the mentoring program helping more women in different fields, increased the membership almost in 100%, and gave three scholarships ($4,500) to Latinas.
Pilar was named Hispanic Woman of the Year in the Media in 2000 by Tampa Hispanic Heritage, Inc., and she was recognized with the most important award in Colombian journalism: Premio Nacional de Periodismo Simón Bolívar (1994). In 2013 the Professional Hispanic Women`s Association recognized her with the Woman in Business Award, and in 2014 the Central Florida chapter of the National Speakers Association chose her among their members as the recipient of the Rosita Perez Spirit Award, recognition given to individuals who have shown generosity and loving service qualities through their speaking career.
Pilar holds a degree in Mass Communications/Broadcasting and Journalism from the Universidad Javeriana, Bogota , Colombia ( 1990) and a TV and Radio Presenter Certification from the Colegio Superior de Telecomunicaciones in Bogota, Colombia ( l992).
For more information about the Hispanic Man and Hispanic Woman of the Year Gala 2013, please call Dr. Luz P. Lono, Gala Committee Chair at (813) 949-9271 or Aileen Rodriguez, Co- Chair at (813) 789-4661. Visit our web site, www.tampahispanic.org and follow us on Facebook.
This event is sponsored by CENTROTampa, The Tampa Tribune, ABC Action News, Univision, , Unimas, BB&T, , Hilton Tampa Downtown, USAmeribank, SEV Incorporated, MDM Graphics Studio, Copa Airlines, and La Maxima 92.5.