Hispanic Heritage Month 2023
Latinos: Driving Prosperity, Power, and Progress in America
St. Philip’s College celebrates the cultures and contributions of both Hispanic and Latino Americans in observance of National Hispanic Heritage Month (HHM) from September 15 – October 15.
About Hispanic Heritage Month
HHM dates back to 1968 when Congress authorized President Lyndon. B Johnson issue an annual proclamation designating National Hispanic Heritage Week. Just two decades later, lawmakers expanded it to a month-long celebration, stretching from September 15 to October 15. September 15 was chosen as the starting point for the celebration because it is the anniversary of independence of five Latin American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua whom all declared independence in 1821.
Schedule of Events
Larry Portillo, Artist
Larry Portillo, a talented San Antonio artist, has worked as an art framer for most of his life. Like many Latino artists, Portillo has never been able to earn enough money as a full-time artist, but he considers himself fortunate to work in an art supply and framing store where he is around art materials and interacts with art folks who bring paintings, prints, and photographs to be framed. “Day Jobs,” a Blanton Museum exhibit at The University of Texas at Austin, examines how many famous American artists relied on work related to art to earn a living. The Blanton “Day Jobs” curators noted, “Other employment, however, isn’t always an obstacle to an artist’s career. It can provide artists with unexpected materials and methods, working knowledge of an industry, or a predictable structure that enables unpredictable ideas.”
Portillo had connections to Texas early in life but grew up in New Mexico. His father Simon Portillo, a New Mexico native, served in the U.S. Army and met his wife Isabel in El Paso while stationed at Fort Bliss. After Larry Portillo’s birth, the family moved to Chamberino, a small agricultural community in the Upper Valley of New Mexico. As a young boy, Portillo spent his summers picking crops, principally onions and chiles. Portillo always liked to draw and paint. His second-grade teacher recognized his creative talents and entered him in a school art contest where his painting of the Harlem Globetrotters won first place.
During Portillo’s senior year at his high school in Gadsden, New Mexico, his art teacher invited El Paso artist Luis Jimenez to speak to the class. Jimenez was well-known locally, but not yet famous. A Texas native, Jimenez had been living in New York earning a living as an art teacher in the Bronx. Jimenez left his “day job” after receiving a commission for his construction of “Sod Buster,” a gigantic fiberglass structure for the Main Plaza of Fargo, North Dakota. Portillo was inspired by the work of Jimenez as he learned more about the artist and his sculptures.
Following graduation from high school, Portillo considered enrolling in art programs in California or New York. His father’s death that year led him to pass up those dreams and remain in New Mexico to be close to his grieving mother. In place of formal art education, Portillo took evening classes to learn to paint with an airbrush. He later enrolled in evening classes at El Paso Tech, a vocational school, that taught students how to paint automobiles. He considered working in commercial art but instead applied his expertise in art framing. However, his former high school teacher continued to look after Portillo’s artistic interests and arranged for the young man to visit Luis Jimenez at the Jimenez Sign shop in El Paso where he saw the skilled way the Jimenez family blended art and commercial ventures.
Portillo’s first art break came in 1991 when Leo Tanguma, a Colorado artist, hired him to help paint a mural in the New Mexico Art Museum in Santa Fe. The mural project gave Portillo added confidence in his artistic ability, and he learned from Tanguma, a seasoned muralist, how to paint larger-than-life portraits.
Over the next five years, Portillo received invitations to exhibit in numerous El Paso art galleries. He earned a commission to paint a mural in his hometown’s San Luis Church in Chamberino, New Mexico. At the end of 1997, Portillo and his wife Maria Elena began making plans to move to San Antonio, a larger city that offered expanded art opportunities. San Antonio had dozens of art framing stores where he might find work, and his wife, with a teaching certificate, knew that many school districts in the city had job openings.
We were drawn to Portillo’s work by his excellent layering of basic colors. His paintings glow with reds, blues, and yellows. His paintings are all the more remarkable because he is largely self-taught. It is obvious though that he has studied great paintings. In a conversation with Portillo about which artists inspired him, I learned that we shared a common favorite artist, Vincent Van Gogh. Portillo agreed that in several of his paintings, including the “Red Rooster Cafe,” he painted a Southwestern version of what could be considered the famed sky of Van Gogh’s stunning “Starry Night,” and he often applies thick swirls of paint similar to Van Gogh’s style (Dr. Ricardo Romo, July 21, 2023).
Meet #CPAguy. He supports the micro-small businesses in our community and he's literally everywhere. Through their brand #IhaveaCPAguy, they are disrupting the CPA industry. By being a voice and an advocate for the small business community to fight for opportunities that have been a struggle for many small businesses. Through leadership, mentorship and a personable attitude, #CPAguy is able to help his clients develop a strong entrepreneurial mindset. His dedication and hard work haven't gone unnoticed, either. The San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce awarded him the prestigious Latino Small Business of the Year award for 2022- a testament to his unwavering commitment to the small business community.
Dr. Daniel P. Martinez
Dr. Daniel P. Martinez
Dr. Daniel P. Martinez is proud to devote himself as a servant leader in the role of Executive Director to the Greater San Antonio (GSA) Chapter of the American Red Cross. GSA serves 13 counties and nearly 3 million residents.
Dr. Martinez studied philosophy at the University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome, Italy where he discerned a religious vocation. He received his bachelor’s degree in business administration at the University of the Incarnate Word, his Masters in school leadership from St. Mary’s University completing his studies as a distinguished graduate, and his doctoral degree in educational leadership and administration from Saint Louis University. Dr. Martinez holds certifications in school and organizational leadership and has over 15 years of experience serving non-profit organizations in addition to being a small business owner. Dr. Martinez has served as a teacher, a director of mission effectiveness and campus ministry, executive director of advancement and enrollment, school principal and as a secondary school president. During his career, Dr. Martinez has created strategic partnerships with health care networks and city leaders, led the initiative to become the first school in South Texas to install a state-of-the-art active shooter security system, and had an official Proclamation by the Mayor of Houston declaring August 21st as “Daniel P. Martinez Day.” Dr. Martinez was the recipient of the Archbishop’s Medallion from Archbishop Gomez which is the highest honor that can be bestowed upon an individual by the Archbishop for service to others and recognition as a strong servant leader.
Dr. Martinez has led initiatives to ensure the growth and development of each organization where he has served and has devoted himself to being a well-rounded individual. Outside of work, Dr. Martinez affected positive change serving as the Admissions Committee Chair for the Archdiocese of San Antonio and has assisted on the Hope for the Future Strategic Marketing Committee as well as the Hope for the Future Khaki & Plaid Gala and 5K Committees. Dr. Martinez has volunteered with Adopt a Needy Family; he served on the University of the Incarnate Word Alumni Board of Directors; the St. Anthony Catholic High School Alumni Board, he served as an officer with his Toastmasters club and has been a member of the National Association of Catholic Youth Ministry Leaders. Dr. Martinez is currently a member of the Board of Directors for the Economic Development Corporation for the City of Balcones Heights, a member of Leadership San Antonio, LSA 47, and an adjunct professor within the HEB School of Business at the University of the Incarnate Word. When not at work, Dr. Martinez enjoys traveling to various National Parks around our beautiful country and hiking. Dr. Martinez regularly attends King William District CrossFit, and enjoys challenging himself with Spartan races, mountain biking and cycling. Dr. Martinez enjoys meeting new people and networking. In his spare time, Dr. Martinez cofounded a social club for young professionals in San Antonio to meet and network, has owned two side businesses, serves as a non-profit consultant, and enjoys volunteering.
Dr. Martinez has made it a personal mission to give back to others and to do whatever possible to positively impact the lives of his community. When asked why he serves as a humanitarian leader, Dr. Martinez shared the following: “I am the youngest of three children and was raised by a single parent. The love and dedication of that parent and her commitment to providing the best for us taught me about the importance of sacrifice, hard work, and supporting others in need. I believe in the mission of humanitarian organizations because I have personally benefitted so much from them. I personally received services from the American Red Cross growing up and therefore, have a firsthand understanding of the life changing impact the organization has on so many. I will always work in service to others as long as I am able to do so.”
Meet Jason Massiatte, the esteemed Regional Vice President of Ward North American Van Lines. Born and raised in the vibrant city of San Antonio, Texas, Jason's journey towards success has been fueled by determination and hard work.
Jason's pursuit of excellence led him to the University of the Incarnate Word, where he earned a bachelor's degree in business with honors. As a testament to his exceptional leadership abilities, he was accepted into the prestigious Alexander Briseno Leadership Development Program, graduating as the valedictorian of the Class of 2018.
Throughout his career, Jason's unwavering commitment to personal growth and expertise has led him to excel in various areas within the company, including business development, logistics, transportation, and commercial relocation. Recognizing the paramount importance of delivering outstanding customer service, maintaining quality control, and fostering a positive work environment, he has become a true leader in his industry.
Among his notable achievements, Jason was honored as Ward's Success Story, earning the coveted AMSA Agent of the Year award in 2014. Anchored in the belief that honesty should underpin all endeavors, he consistently upholds integrity, fostering harmony within his team and building lasting relationships with clients.
Beyond his professional accomplishments, Jason is driven by a deep passion for giving back to the community. Ward has afforded him the opportunity to engage in meaningful projects, such as Elf Louis, SAMMinistries Toy Drive, Empty Bowls, and SAHCC CORE4 STEM program. Jason actively serves as a board member of the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Social Venture Partners, a steering committee member for ABLDP, the American Red Cross Board Secretary, and the Board Chair of Ma Hila's Heart Project.
In every aspect of his life, Jason Massiatte exemplifies what it means to be a visionary leader with a heart for making a positive impact. With an unwavering commitment to excellence and compassion, he continues to inspire those around him to strive for greatness and create a better world for all.
Luis A. Rodriguez
Luis A. Rodriguez
Luis A. Rodriguez serves as the President and Chief Executive Officer for Modern Managed IT (MMIT), a newly launched IT company that focuses on providing quality managed-IT services and solutions for small business. Prior to MMIT, he served as the President and Chief Executive Officer for the Greater Austin Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (GAHCC), where he played an instrumental role in leading the organization to major transformational growth with a strong focus on small business, advocacy, economic development and leaderships programs.
Luis has also been heavily involved in the areas of comprehensive community development, strategic market planning, international business, and government affairs.
Luis is an active participant in the San Antonio and Austin communities, serving on a variety of organizations focused on addressing key issues in their communities, including: American Red Cross – Greater San Antonio area (2020-2021 Chairman), San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (2023 Treasurer), Leadership San Antonio (current class #47), Austin Area Research Organization – AARO (Member), Leadership Austin (Executive Board Member), Community Advancement Network – CAN (Board Member), Opening Central Texas for Business Task Force – due to the COVID-19 pandemic (Task Force Member), a past recipient of the San Antonio Business Journal’s “40 Under 40” Award (2017). Luis formerly served as an Honorary Commander for the 502d Air Base Wing and Joint Base San Antonio, and served on the Business Retention and Expansion committee (BRE) for the San Antonio Economic Development Foundation (SAEDF), the San Antonio Health Advisory board on behalf of Humana, the SA Tomorrow Comprehensive Plan, the City of San Antonio’s Tricentennial Partner Adjudication Committee, and was a member of San Antonio Community Actions Committee (SACAC) with the U.S Army.
Luis’ main driving force is his family, he is the proud father of his two beautiful daughters, Ysabella and Madelyn and a loving husband to his wife Yvonne.