Notable Kansas City Latinos

Puente Marketing is proud to be a member and contributor to the burgeoning Hispanic community in Kansas City. The heritage and history of the Hispanic community, here in the center of the U.S. is rich, and to some, surprisingly vast. The Kansas City community is home to many successful and influential Latinos, whether they were born and raised here or have moved here. These are just a few of the people who have helped shape our Kansas City community- both inside and outside the Latino community.

Many are surprised to learn that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce was started in Kansas City. Hector Barreto Sr., immigrated to the United States in his early 20s and landed in Kansas City. He first worked here digging potatoes, then got a job in a packinghouse and later as a school custodian before owning his own business. He eventually grew to own several businesses including restaurants, a construction firm and a tile company. In 1979, with other Latino businessmen, he founded the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, which was originally based in Kansas City (now located in D.C.), where Barreto served as President for ten years. Today, Kansas City’s Hispanic Chamber of Commerce is still a vibrant organization with Carlos Gomez serving as President and CEO.

Alongside the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Greater Kansas City, the Kansas City business community is being shaped by Latinos such as CiCi Rojas, President and CEO of the Central Exchange, a premiere professional organization for women in the area. Even Kansas City’s largest corporations are being shaped by Latinos such as Gerardo (Gerry) Lopez, who currently serves as the President of AMC Entertainment Holdings, Inc., Marquee Holdings Inc., and AMC Entertainment Inc. Further, KC recently gained Marcelo Claure, a native of Bolivia, and now President and CEO of Sprint Corporation.

In the same way, KC natives are shaping politics across the nation. As one example, the Murguía family, born and raised in Kansas City, Kansas, are no strangers to public service. Carlos Murguía currently serves as a U.S. federal judge and was the first Latino to serve as a federal judge in Kansas. His sister, Mary Murguía currently serves as a judge of the United States Court of Appeals. Another sibling, Janet Murguía acts as a civil rights leader and is currently serving as President and Chief Executive Officer of the National Council of La Raza (NCLR), which will be holding its 2015 NCLR Annual Conference and National Latino Family Expo® in Kansas City. Another sibling, Ramon, an attorney, serves on various boards and as a philanthropist within the community.

Of course, Latinos have impacted the Kansas City community in the realm of sports. Albert Pujols, MLB player currently playing for the Los Angeles Angels, attended high school and college in the area. The Latino presence is notable on the Sporting Kansas City MLS roster, as well as the Kansas City Chiefs NFL roster. This past year, the KC Royals 2014 World Series roster was made up of various Latino standouts, including Salvador Perez, Kelvin Herrera, Yordano Ventura, Alcides Escobar and Omar Infante.

These are just a few of the examples of notable Kansas City Latinos who make up KC’s rich history and are shaping the community’s present and future.