The last month (September 15th – October 15th) represents Hispanic Heritage Month, and ZAGO Manufacturing Co. is proud to share stories of the Hispanic women and men who comprise its diverse workforce — from production to executive leadership.
ZAGO, which makes environmentally friendly sealing fasteners and components in Newark, NJ, covers 100% of the tuition for eligible associates to take courses (including ESL classes) and earn professional certificates and advanced degrees.
“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,” shares Gail Friedberg Rottenstrich, co-founder and CEO, ZAGO, a woman-owned business.
“We have an amazing pool of Hispanic associates including Kleber Rivera, Ecuadorian and Stephanie Carhuavilca, Honduran,” adds company VP Jackie Luciano. “Both are progressing at work and furthering their education, and like all our associates, play pivotal roles. When our associates succeed, ZAGO succeeds.”
Luciano is from Puerto Rico and she began her career 14 years ago, rising from a part-time bookkeeper, raising two young children to vice president — all while achieving her MBA in Finance from Rutgers along the way.
Other members of the ZAGO team include:
- Sonia Letona is the company’s quality control manager, and is originally from Guatemala. Letona came to America 15 years ago and landed her first job at ZAGO working in assembly. She is also a wife and mother of three, and now leads a team of seven at ZAGO. When asked about how she rose to her position, she said, “I love learning. I ask lots of questions, and I care about helping our customers.”
- Aly Damacela is a contract reviewer/buyer, who is from Ecuador. Damacela began her journey at ZAGO 10 years ago while earning a Bachelor of Science 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,” she shared.
- Jonathan Cruz is ZAGO’s lead machinist and robot specialist, and is from Honduras. Cruz joined ZAGO in 2014 operating machines to produce sealing screws, before working his way up. His passion for manufacturing and engineering prompted him to pursue an Engineering Technology, Manufacturing degree from New Jersey Institute of Technology.
- Viviana Alverez is in purchasing and expediting, and is from Columbia. Alverez’s career began in 2018 in shipping before working up to purchasing and expediting. She appreciates the family feel ZAGO provides: “I love working at ZAGO. We’re more than just colleagues, we’re family.”