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During National Hispanic Heritage Month, longtime NJBIA member ZAGO Manufacturing is proudly sharing the stories of the Hispanic women and men in its diverse workforce, from the production floor to executive leadership.

Meet Team ZAGO:

Sonia Letona, Quality Control Manager, Guatemala. Sonia came to the U.S. 15 years ago and landed her first job at ZAGO working the assembly line. Letona, a wife and mother of three, excelled at her position and now leads a team of seven. When asked about how she rose to her position, Letona says, “I love learning. I ask lots of questions, and I care about helping our customers.”

Aly Damacela, Contract Reviewer/ Buyer, Ecuador. Damacela began her journey at ZAGO 10 years ago while earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing at Kean University and becoming a mom. “At ZAGO, I can be a mother while continuing to grow my career. ZAGO even paid my college tuition.”

Jonathan Cruz, Lead Machinist and Robot Specialist, Honduras. Jonathan joined ZAGO in 2014 operating machines to produce sealing screws, before working his way up. Cruz’s passion for manufacturing and engineering prompted him to pursue an Engineering Technology, Manufacturing degree from New Jersey Institute of Technology.

Viviana Alvarez, Purchasing and Expediting, Colombia. Alvarez’s career began in 2018 in the shipping department before working her way up to Purchasing & Expediting. Alvarez appreciates the family feel ZAGO provides. “I love working at ZAGO. We’re more than just colleagues, we’re family.”

Jackie Luciano, Vice President, Puerto Rico. Jackie Luciano began her career 14 years ago, rising from part-time bookkeeper, raising two young children to vice president, achieving her MBA in Finance from Rutgers along the way.

A diverse workforce is important, according to Gail Friedberg Rottenstrich, co-founder and CEO of ZAGO, a woman-owned business.

“If women and men hailing from different backgrounds don’t see themselves represented, then, they won’t know that a fruitful career in manufacturing is possible,” Friedberg said.

“We have an amazing pool of Hispanic associates including Kleber Rivera (Ecuador) and Stephanie Carhuavilca (Honduras), said Luciano. “Both are progressing at work and furthering their education, and like all our associates, play pivotal roles. When our associates succeed, ZAGO succeeds.”

ZAGO Manufacturing Co., a woman-owned business that makes environmentally friendly sealing fasteners and components in Newark, covers 100% tuition for eligible associates to take a range of courses. These include ESL classes, professional certificates and advanced degrees.

National Hispanic Heritage Month takes place every year from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15 to recognize and celebrate the many contributions, diverse cultures, and extensive histories of the American Latino community.