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Sanchez, Baker Honored by West Michigan Hispanic Chamber for Economic Development Efforts

Ferris State UniversityGRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Two Ferris State University employees, who collaborated in the development of the university’s Latino Business and Economic Development Center, have been honored by the West Michigan Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

The chamber’s gala was held on Wednesday, April 19 at the Pinnacle Center, in Hudsonville, and LBEDC Director Carlos Sanchez received the Businessperson of the Year Award. Tony Baker, the founding director of Ferris’ Center of [email protected] Studies was presented the Building Bridges Award.

“It’s an honor to be recognized for the efforts that the LBEDC is making in Grand Rapids, and West Michigan,” Sanchez said. “It is important that we continue to support talent development, and learning opportunities for entrepreneurs, in partnership with the chamber and the Hispanic Center of Western Michigan.”

Alan Headbloom, a member of the Hispanic chamber’s awards committee, wrote that Sanchez is “building for the future of our Hispanic community and we are impressed by Carlos’ long-standing commitment to bolstering Latino West Michigan.”

Baker offered similar responses regarding his, Sanchez’s and the LBEDC’s role in supporting opportunities for this community.

“I cannot do much to build bridges on my own, but with Ferris’ interest, and effort in bringing talent development and entrepreneurial support forward, we can do many things well,” Baker said. “We can consistently offer our best because the university is willing to commit resources and make itself accessible to the broader community.”

On behalf of the awards committee, Headbloom wrote that Baker “is working to move institutions out of their silos and into the community, for the benefit of our youth.” Baker is also past president for the Grand Rapids Public Schools Board of Education and currently serves as its treasurer.

A further connection to Ferris, among the Chamber’s award recipients, is found with the Hispanic Business of the Year, which is the El Granjero Mexican Grill, in Grand Rapids. Paola Mendivil serves as the restaurant’s catering manager, as her mother, Mercedes Lopez-Duran, is the owner. Mendivil graduated from the university’s College of Business, in May 2017, and is an employee of Ferris’ LBEDC.

PHOTO CAPTION: Ferris State University's Latino Business and Economic Development Center Director Carlos Sanchez (left) received the Businessperson of the Year Award from the West Michigan Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Also honored, on April 19, was Tony Baker (right), founding director of Ferris' Center of [email protected] Studies, as he was given the Building Bridges Award.