Each year, Americans observe National Hispanic Heritage Month, Sept. 15 to Oct. 15, celebrating how Hispanic and Latino Americans have helped enhance communities across the nation with a rich history and culture. And as the nation's Hispanic population continues to grow – surpassing an estimated 62 million in 2020 — so too does its impact within the housing industry.
As we enter the final week of National Hispanic Heritage Month, we'd like to highlight a few outstanding members who have achieved success and continue to push the industry forward.
Angelica Rivera, CEO of Colmex Construction in New Orleans, is a Columbia native who came to the United States in 1997 and moved to Louisiana in 2008. Rivera, with extensive management and mortgage industry knowledge, then joined forces with her husband who had a background in construction to create what became one of the fastest-growing and most successful companies in the state.
Rivera attributes much of their success through networking with other New Orleans-based business organizations. In the process, Rivera discovered a network of other Latino-owned businesses that collaborate and share best practices with each other.
"We always try to work with small minority-owned businesses, especially since there are so many Latinos in construction," Rivera said. "Connecting with others with the same background to grow our industry is something special. And it helps create a welcoming culture to support our diverse workers."
For Sandra Hofmeister, owner of roofing contractor A&S Construction in Frederick, Md., the lessons she learned from her Spanish father and Peruvian mother helped set her on a path to success. Honesty and accountability were two cornerstones of Hofmeister's upbringing that shaped her leadership skills.
Today, Hofmeister is a well-known leader within her community as an advocate for improving access to labor and quality materials. And as one of the few female, licensed general contractors in her region with her background, Hofmeister is a strong believer in supporting workforce development initiatives.
"The U.S. is the country of opportunity — and not just for Hispanic people, but for everyone," Hofmeister said. "Being bilingual and coming to this country gave me so much, and I want to give back. There is no better way to do it than by being involved in the community."
Joshua Correa, founder and owner of Divino Homes in Dallas, also is someone who prides himself on community engagement and fostering a motivated, positive workplace. His father was a plumber who owned a plumbing business, so Correa learned the trades by performing tasks with him, including digging holes and obtaining supplies. A Texas native, his parents moved from Mexico to the United States, though he remains close to family in Mexico.
In appreciation for what the trades have afforded him, Correa continually looks for opportunities to give back through his involvement with the Dallas Builders Association (DBA). Correa has worked with the DBA and visited local, under-funded schools to promote construction as a high-earning career path as an alternative to college.
"Hispanic people are typically some of the hardest workers when it comes to manual labor, and now we're seeing a shift as more of them pursue small business ownership," Correa said. "I've lived where these students have grown up, and I tell them, 'You can make it out, but you have to make that choice.'"
After successfully navigating the early obstacles of building their businesses, Rivera, Hofmeister and Correa ultimately found success through hard work and determination. And each continues to encourage their fellow Hispanic Americans to have pride in their heritage and uplift others to advance the housing industry.
"It makes us feel special," Rivera said. "Nothing makes me prouder to share our history of where we started and where we are today. It shows that with enough determination, anyone can do it."
Learn more about diversity, equity and inclusion within the housing industry at nahb.org.