3rd Annual Bridge Builder Awards

September 25, 2003

2003 Builder Co-Hosts


Arlane RobinsonARLANE ROBINSON
Arlane Robinson is one of five children, born, in Dallas, Texas to the parents of Robert and Mildred Ross. She was educated in the Texas School system, attending Hamilton Park Elementary and High School in Dallas and The University of Houston in Houston. Moved from Dallas in 1969 to Denver, Colorado and from there began a transient life moving to Colorado Springs, Colorado, San Francisco, California; Chicago, Illinois; Portland, Oregon; Albuquerque, New Mexico; Morristown, Bedminster and imageswater, New Jersey and finally, Atlanta, Georgia.

She is married to Ray M. Robinson, former executive with AT&T and mother of two children, Christy and Shane.

Family and company move transitions have been Arlane’s primary responsibility as a housewife and mother. She maintained a connection with the workforce through employment with companies such as Delta Airlines, The CIT Group and AT&T as she moved about the country. She also seized enrichment opportunities through continuing education by acquiring computer skills training at Albuquerque Vocational and Technical Institute and Human Communications training at Kennesaw State University. She is a co-owner of the family business, OCR Trucking, where she carries out the day to day bookkeeping responsibilities.

She has served on various boards and worked with agencies such as Reaching Out to Senior Adults (ROSA), Georgia Ovarian Cancer Alliance (GOCA), Cool Girls, Inc., and Atlanta Technical College.

She has also served on various community and civic organizations wherever she has lived such as leader of her daughter’s Blue Bird and Girl Scout groups as well as Den Mother for her son’s Cub Scout group. She has served on her neighborhood board of directors and worked diligently in her children’s school PTA’s to institute more minority awareness and involvement.

She has maintained an active role in the churches she’s attended across the country as youth leader and coordinator and head of various ministry boards. She is presently a member of Central United Methodist, of Atlanta, Georgia.

Ray RobinsonSAN ZAMARRIPA
Sam Zamarripa is a Founder and Managing Partner of Diaz-Verson Ventures, LLC, which provides investment banking services and holds a financial and strategic interest in multiple companies in the Southeastern United States.

From 1992 to 1997, Mr. Zamarripa was the Chief Marketing Officer and Vice President of Diaz-Verson Capital Investments, Inc. Diaz-Verson Capital is a registered investment advisory firm with over $300 million in assets under management. Mr. Zamarripa was responsible for marketing and business development.

From the fall of 1997 to 2000, Mr. Zamarripa served as the Senior Vice President of Community Development at the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, where he was responsible for developing and managing regional public policy initiatives on transportation, air quality, education, and the arts. In this capacity, Mr. Zamarripa established coalitions between business leaders, non-profit advocacy groups, community organizations and elected officials to create consensus plans for public policy.

In addition to his professional responsibilities, Mr. Zamarripa also serves on the Board of Directors of several companies. He is a Co-Founder and Director of United Americas Bank, N.A., where he currently serves as the Chairman of the Marketing Committee. In 2001 he was selected as a Director of Diaz Foods Inc., which is one of the largest distributors of ethnic foods in the United States.

Mr. Zamarripa received his undergraduate degree at New College in Sarasota, Florida and his Masters in Public Administration from Maxwell School of Citizenship at Syracuse University. He is married to Robin Dorsey Zamarripa and has two children, Eva and Jane.

2003 Builder Honorees


Ann Wilson CramerSARA GONZALEZ
As President and CEO of the Georgia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (GHCC), Sara Gonzalez is committed to the mission of the organization she represents: to support and promote the domestic and international economic development of Hispanic businesses and individuals and to serve as a link between non-Hispanic entities and the Hispanic market. Ms. Gonzalez is dedicated to advancing the interests of the Chamber’s members by advocating for the rights of the Hispanic business community and by pursuing initiatives that shape business-pertinent government policies at the local and national level.

As chief executive of the GHCC, Ms. Gonzalez draws from the experience that comes from a varied and successful career in business and public service. In addition to eight years of business ownership as an Atlanta restaurateur, Gonzalez has served in management and leadership roles in organizations as diverse as the Latin American Association of Atlanta and the organizing committee for the Centennial Olympic Games.

That breadth of experience has served the Chamber well. Since Ms. Gonzalez became its President some seven years ago, the GHCC has grown both in membership and endowment, form 175 members in 1996 to 1,000 members in 2002. Under her leadership, the GHCC offers valuable resources, information, support services and networking opportunities to their members and continues to hold the most successful Gala and awards banquet in history. The GHCC was also the host of the 2001 United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce National Convention and Business Expo. In addition, the GHCC launched the first ever Hispanic business incubation center in Georgia in 2011, the Hispanic American Center for Economic Development (HACED), which continues to grow in its services and outreach.

As a result of accomplishments such as these, Sara has been appointed by Georgia Governor, Sonny Perdue, to the board of directors of Hemisphere Inc., a nonprofit organization composed of Georgia leaders who are to direct the state’s efforts to attract the headquarters of the Free Trade Area of the Americas, a hemispheric free trade zone, to Atlanta.

Khalil Johnson, CFEMICHAEL M. YOUNG
Michael M. Young is Vice President – Community Affairs for Delta Air Lines at its world headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia. He is responsible for Delta’s extensive community support and charitable giving activities worldwide and The Delta Air Lines Foundation which provides financial support to various benevolent organizations.

Mr. Young began his Delta career in 1970 in Philadelphia as a Ramp Service Agent. Promoted to positions of increasing responsibility, in 1991 he was named Manager – Community Affairs and in 1994 advanced to Director – Community Affairs. Mr. Young was promoted to he present position in 1995 and recently elected Vice President of the Delta Foundation.

A native of Philadelphia, Mr. Young was educated at Cheney State College in Philadelphia. Mr. Young also attended Goizueta Business School of Emory where he completed the program for senior managers. He attended Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship and was certified in Community Relations. He received his BBA in Business and Organization from Camimages International University and is an honorary member of the Golden Key National Honor Society. He served four years in the United States Air Force where he received the Air Force Accommodation Medal of Meritorious Service.

Mr. Young serves on the Board of Governors of the 191 Club, The Board of Visitors Foundation of the Centers for Disease Control, the Board of the Atlanta Technical College, is past Chairman of the Board for the Atlanta Urban League and currently serves on the Board of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, DCA. He has served on the Board of Education, and on the Fulton County Red Cross Advisory Council. He is a member of the 100 Black Men of Atlanta and a “93” alumni of Leadership Atlanta.

Mr. Young has received numerous civic, community and professional organization awards and honors, including the Southern Christian Leadership Conference Ella Baker Award, Georgia Good Citizens Award, The National Association of Negro Professional and Business Women Distinguished Citizen Award, the Atlanta OIC Champions Award, United Negro College Fund Distinguished Service Award, and in 1987 he was appointed Lieutenant Colonel, Aide De Camp of the Georgia Governor’s Staff. Mr. Young and his wife, the former Patricia A. Jones, reside in Fairburn, Georgia. He has a son, Tori and a daughter, Leah.

Ingrid Saunders JonesMICHAEL THURMOND
Michael Thurmond was born in rural Clarke County, the youngest of the nine children of the late Sidney and Vanilla Thurmond. He graduated Cum Laude with a B.A. in Philosophy and Religion from Paine College in 1975 and later earned a Juris Doctorate degree from the University of South Carolina School of Law. In 1991, he completed the political executives program at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

In 1978, Michael Thurmond returned to Athens to practice law and took an active role in the city’s civic and political affairs. In 1986, he became the first African-American elected to the Georgia Assembly from Clarke County since reconstruction. During his legislative tenure, he was the only African-American legislator elected from a majority white district. While serving in the General Assembly, Representative Thurmond authored major legislation that has provided over 100 million dollars in tax refunds to senior citizens and low-income working families.

In 1994, then Governor Zell Miller selected Thurmond to direct Georgia’s historic transition from welfare to work. He created the innovative “Workfirst” program, which has helped over 90,000 welfare-dependent Georgia families move into the workforce, saving Georgia taxpayers over 200 million dollars. These savings have been reinvested in childcare, training and other support services.

In 1997, he became the distinguished practitioner/lecturer at the University of Georgia’s Carl Vinson Institute of Government. On November 3, 1998, Michael Thurmond was elected Georgia Labor Commissioner. Thurmond presently chairs the Martin Luther King, Jr. Georgia State Holiday Commission.

He is awaiting publication of his second book entitled “Freedom: An African-American History of Georgia.” Thurmond is a member of Ebenezer Baptist Church West in Athens. He and his wife Zola are the proud parents of a daughter Mikaya.