Governor Cooper Proclaims Hispanic Heritage Month, Names Hispanic/Latino Advisory Council


Gov. Roy Cooper today signed a proclamation declaring September 15 - October 15, 2017 Hispanic Heritage Month in North Carolina. In the proclamation, the governor recognized the many contributions of Hispanic and Latino North Carolinians.

“North Carolina is a richer, more vibrant place thanks to countless contributions from generations of Hispanics and Latinos,” Gov. Cooper said. 

Gov. Cooper also signed Executive Order No. 23, establishing the Governor’s Advisory Council on Hispanic/Latino Affairs.

To help advise him on issues important to Hispanic/Latino North Carolinians, Gov. Cooper has appointed the following individuals to the Governor’s Advisory Council on Hispanic/Latino Affairs:

  • Albeiro E. Florez of Hope Mills as an at-large member. Mr. Florez is the Chief Financial and Operating Officer for Walker Florez Consulting Group. He previously served in the U.S. Army, and he currently is President of Latinos United for Progress and a Board Member of the Armed Forces YMCA.
  • Alberto Polloni of Raleigh as an at-large member. Mr. Polloni works as an executive coach and trainer. He is also an international faculty member at the Coaches Training Institute and the President and Co-Founder of Cognizant Coaching, LLC in Raleigh. 
  • Andrés F. Henao of Chapel Hill as an at-large member. Mr. Henao is the Insurance and Billing manager for Triangle Implant Center. Henao previously served on the Advisory Board of St. Thomas Catholic High School in Chapel Hill and on the Board of Habitat for Humanity Orange County. 
  • Astrid Chirinos of Charlotte as an at-large member. Ms. Chirinos is the Chief Development Executive of the Latin American Economic Development Corporation. She was named to the Mecklenburg Times’ “50 Most Influential Women in Charlotte” list in May 2014, and the Charlotte Business Journal’s “25 Outstanding Women in Business” list in 2012. 
  • Daniel Montoya of Fayetteville as an at-large member. Dr. Montoya is an Associate Professor and the current Interim Chair of the Department of Psychology at Fayetteville State University. He is the Chair of the Board of Trustees at the Cumberland County Public Library and serves as a Board Member for the Arts Council of Fayetteville/Cumberland County. 
  • Eligio Peña of Raleigh as an at-large member. Mr. Pena is the founder of Compare Foods, a grocery store chain in the southeastern region of the United States. Mr. Pena serves on the Board of the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce, the Carolinas Food Council Industry Board, the Federal Reserve of Richmond Payments Advisory Council, and the Mecklenburg Citizens for Public Education committee.
  • Francisco Rivas-Díaz of Wallace as an at-large member. Mr. Rivas-Diaz works for Duplin County Schools as a Benefits Specialist. Mr. Rivaz-Diaz previously spent eight years as an interpreter and Medicaid caseworker in the Duplin Department of Social Services. 
  • José F. Oliva of Greensboro as an at-large member. Mr. Olivia is a fellow of the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation and has previously served on the International Advisory Committee for the City of Greensboro. Mr. Olivia has received numerous awards, including the Notable Latino of the Triad Award from the Latino Community Coalition and the Latino Diamante Award for Community Involvement.
  • Lorenzo A. Pedro of Morganton as an at-large member. Mr. Pedro is a Customer Service Specialist for Corning, Inc. Mr. Pedro also works as a freelance photographer/videographer with the Catholic News Herald Publication covering events throughout the Catholic Dioceses of Charlotte.  
  • MaríaRosa Rangel of Durham as an at-large member. Ms. Rangel works for the Wake County Public School System as the Senior Administrator for Family and Community Engagement in the Office of Equity Affairs and Diversity. Ms. Rangel is a board member of the N.C. Society of Hispanic Professionals, the N.C. Adelante Education Coalition, and the Mexican Council.
  • María M. Travers de Paniagua of Winston-Salem as an at-large member. Ms. Travers is a Foreign Legal Consultant for Market America. Ms. Travers is also a member of her Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) and the Local Emergency Planning Committee. 
  • Olma Echeverri of Charlotte as an at-large member. Ms. Echeverri works for FLXON Inc. in Manager-Support Services and Logistics. Ms. Echeverri is the Chair of the Multicultural Advisory Board of Providence Day School and the President of the Democratic Women of Mecklenburg County. 
  • Ricardo Nazario Colón of Waynesville as an at-large member. Mr. Nazario y Colón is the Chief Diversity Officer for Western Carolina University. Nazario y Colón also is a member of Western Carolina University’s Cherokee Center Advisory Board, and he has previously served in the U.S. Marine Corps. 
  • Ricardo D. Robles of Charlotte as an at-large member. Mr. Robles works for the Center for Intentional Leadership as a Senior Consultant. Mr. Robles is the Co-Leader of the Charlotte Hispanic/Latino Employee Network and a member of the Board of Directors for A Child’s Place and Urban Promise. 
  • Tulia A. Pascht of Raleigh as an at-large member. Ms. Pascht is the Latino Outreach Coordinator for Project Enlightenment, which is a part of Wake County Public School System. Ms. Pascht has more than 16 years of experience working with-high risk families in the school system and more than 20 years of experience working in the Early Childhood field.