The Fort Worth Business Press honored 16 members of the business community at its second annual Minority Leaders in Business Awards luncheon Dec. 14 at the Fort Worth Club.
John J. Hernandez, president of John Sons Press, was honored with the 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award.
Hernandez is known as a leader and mentor across both the Hispanic and non-Hispanic communities. Now 85, Hernandez was born in Fort Worth where he attended Laneri Catholic High School before beginning his work in the printing industry.
He established John Sons Press in 1988. He’s still president of the company, which is now managed by his four sons: Philip, Edward, Adrian and Marc. Hernandez was part of a group of leaders who established the first Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in Fort Worth more than 40 years ago.
Hernandez was unable to attend the event and the award was accepted by his daughter, Teresa Montes. One of last year’s honorees, John X. Hernandez, the current CEO of the Fort Worth Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, spoke on Hernandez’s behalf.
“I have the distinct pleasure of introducing this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award winner, but, more importantly, I get to introduce a great Fort Worthian,” he said.
John X. Hernandez said that honoree Hernandez and his family have always been and will always be integral to the Fort Worth community and the city’s Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
“I went out to his community and I asked several people to just describe Hernandez,” he said. The response was “grandfather, father, husband, innovator, mentor, entrepreneur, visionary.
“And one that kind of stuck out to me was ‘connector.’ He connected people, whether you were Hispanic or not.”
The 2017 Legend Award was presented to Roy C. Brooks, Tarrant County Commissioner for Precinct 1. Besides serving as a county commissioner since 2005, Brooks is a longtime community volunteer and served three terms on the Forest Hill City Council.
“I never feel like I’m old enough to be a legend at anything. But as soon as I get to feeling too young and too frisky along comes an award like this one,” Brooks said. “Whether I’m working on health care or providing economic opportunities for young entrepreneurs, I thank God for the journey. And I know I could not do one lick of it without my wife … and my staff.”
Norma Roby of RSH Concessions was honored with the 2017 Erma Johnson Hadley Legacy Award.
Richard Connor, president and publisher of the Business Press noted the significance of the award: “Erma Johnson was tireless in her efforts to promote people in the community,” he said. “She gave a voice to people who didn’t have one and made sure people in the minority community got recognized.”
“This is a very special honor for me because those of you who know me well know that Erma Johnson Hadley was a very good friend of mine,” Roby said. “Erma has done so much wherever she put her mind. She is an advocate for minority and women-owned business … and she exemplifies the servant leader. It is a tremendous honor for me to receive an award named after my dear friend.”
Roby is a past chairman of the board of the Fort Worth Metropolitan Black Chamber of Commerce and serves on that organization’s advisory council. She also serves on the boards of Plaza Medical Center, the Fort Worth Promotion and Development Fund and Texas Wesleyan University.
Other Minority Leaders in Business honored at the luncheon:
• Sylvia Alcala, president, J Anthony Group.
• James N. Austin Jr., owner, Austin Company Commercial Real Estate.
• Richard Casarez, vice president/customer operations, Oncor Electric Delivery.
• Joseph DeLeon, president, Texas Health Southwest Fort Worth.
• Yolanda Harper, president, Alpha Discovery Group LLC.
• Alejandro Ralph House, CEO, House Group Inc.
• Sau Le Hudecek, owner, Jerrel James Salon.
• Shay Dial Johnson, vice president/community engagement, Goodwill Industries of Fort Worth.
• Larry Kemp, COO, Kemp and Sons General Services Inc.
• Arturo Martinez, director creative services, Tarrant County College District.
• Robert Sturns, director economic development, City of Fort Worth.
• Benson Varghese, managing partner, Varghese Summersett PLLC.
• Wyntress B. Ware, president/CEO, Ware & Associates Inc.
Event sponsors for the luncheon included: gold sponsor, Kimbell Art Museum; silver sponsor, Rod Patrick Bootmakers; bronze sponsors, TCU Neeley School of Business and Goodwill Industries of Fort Worth; sustaining sponsor, Autobahn Fort Worth.