2014 Awardee: Marcela Zuchovicki, President and CEO, Jalima and Asscociates
Upon graduating as a mathematician and Actuary in Mexico and studying at UCLA, Marcela became an Assistant Professor teaching Calculus and Linear Algebra at the Universidad Anahuac in Mexico. During that time she also taught financial computer models for executives at IBM in Mexico.
Fluent in five languages, Marcela has managed and developed multimillion dollar programs for the National Institute for the Indians in Mexico, UNICEF in Mexico, USA and Europe, Evaristo Valle Museum in Spain, Florida West Coast Symphony (now the Sarasota Orchestra) in Florida, and the American Field Service Intercultural Programs in NY (AFS).
As a business owner Marcela built an arts management company (EFAL Artists) with a roster of 250 artists from all over the world. In the 90’s while living in Europe she sold her business and came back to the United States to become the Development Director of the Florida West Coast Symphony
Marcela joined AFS for the second time in her career in 2000 as their National Director of Development. At the end of 2004 Marcela created a new mission driven company in the specialty coffee industry, Jalima Coffee. For the past ten years, Marcela has been the owner and CFO of Jalima Coffee(www.jalimacoffee.com) a sustainable, ecological and educational coffee company. Also, while building Jalima Coffee, Marcela became the CFO and Strategic Advisor for Taste of Crete, an importer and producer of specialty Greek food (www.tasteofcrete.com).
Thanks to the counseling and support she received from Entrepreneurship Pioneers Initiative (EPI™)-The Center for Urban Entrepreneurship & Economic Development (CUEED) at Rutgers University in Newark, in 2010 Marcela founded Jalima & Associates (www.jalimaandassociates.com), a virtual CFO/bookkeeping and Strategic Advisory company that provides integrated cost-effective CFO & bookkeeping services as well as strategic planning & counseling to individuals and small to medium size companies worldwide.
Marcela currently manages day to day operations of her business management, bookkeeping and CFO services for Jalima & Associates and operations management for Jalima Coffee as well as teaching webinars for the NJ Small Business Development Center; also she teaches hand on accounting, bookkeeping, strategic planning and finance for the NJSBDC in Newark, NJ and the EPI Program at Rutgers University. In 2012, Marcela was a business plan counselor and business coach for the Obama’s Jobs Act through other SBDCs in NJ. Currently, she is the SBA instructor and business coach for the Emerging Leaders Program in NJ.
In 2013, Marcela received the award Mentor of the Year in NJ. Marcela serves on the Board of the Rutgers University Newark NJSBDC, she is the president of the EPI™ Rutgers University Alumni Association Board, she is a Money Manager volunteer for Senior Services in NJ and also volunteers as a trilingual doctor’s aid for a free health clinic in Phillipsburg, NJ.
2013 Awardee: Louis Rodriguez, Owner, Independent Power Systems Consulting
Louis Rodriguez came to the United States from Columbia in 1961 with a third grade education level. He has provided consulting services to electrical utilities throughout the world in projects funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), World Bank, the International Development Bank (IDB), US Trade Organization and others. He now owns Independent Power Systems Consulting, and his clients in New Jersey have included Jersey Central Power and Light, Washington International Group and Raytheon Engineers and Constructors. Rodriguez has written a number of engineering papers published by IEEE Transaction on Power Apparatus And Systems, The Electrical World, and Transmission and Distribution Magazines. He is also a co-author of the Ebasco Power Distribution Systems Manual, published by McGraw-Hill and used by utilities throughout the world.
Rodriguez has been the volunteer Executive Director of the Latino Chamber of Commerce of Monmouth County since 2005. He organizes educational workshops, seminars, dinners and social events designed to improve the financial and economic efficiency of the Latino business owners. He provides support and guidance to individual business owners, employment leads for unemployed individuals, resume support, and more. He also plans the Latino Chamber’s annual “Celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month” which brings together not only by the Latino business community, but also Monmouth County administration, government officials, business, academia, financial institutions, health care institutions, and non-profits. The event includes folkloric dancers from various countries in an effort to illustrate the diversity of Latino culture. Event speakers have included US Congressman Frank Pallone, Lieutenant Governor and Secretary of State Kim Guadagno, state senators, city mayors, freeholders and others.
Rodriguez is also a Trustee of the Monmouth County Art Council, the YMCA, the Monmouth Medical Center, and the Parker Family Health Center. In addition he serves on the CentraState Children Wellness Committee and the Wilbur Ray Scholarship Committee at Brookdale College, Latinos United in Health Committee, and the Meridian Health Medical Center committee.