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Linda Alvarado: 1952—: Entrepreneur

Expanded Business Skills Beyond Construction

In the early 1980s, Alvarado and her husband moved to Denver and soon started another business. Alvarado Construction was building a strip mall, and approached Taco Bell restaurants to become an anchor tenant. Of that deal, Alvarado recalled to the Albuquerque Tribune, "I learned a valuable lesson: She who controls the land controls the deal. I sold the shopping center and kept the restaurant." With that fast food franchise, the Alvarados established Palo Alto, Inc. As of 2002, the company owned over 150 Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, and Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurants. Alvarado is the president of the company and her husband is the CEO and chairman.

"Perseverance and persistence have kept me going," Alvarado told American Dreams. "They are very important, to the extent that I believe I will outwork most people in finding a solution." These traits have propelled Alvarado Construction through the 1980s and 1990s into a multi-million-dollar contractor. With offices in Denver and San Francisco, the company has completed major construction projects throughout the West, including convention centers, military facilities, airports, and Alvarado's dream job—high-rise buildings. In 2001 she was the lead contractor for the $360 million Mile High Stadium, home to the Denver Broncos football team. "It truly has been difficult at times, but rewarding to see what Alvarado Construction has built," she told the Albuquerque Tribune.

Alvarado's entrepreneurial skill drew the interest of several major corporations, who asked her to serve on their governing boards. The first was Norwest Bank, which invited her to join their board when she was just 27—an unusually young age for a board member. She went on to serve on the boards of Qwest Communications, The Pepsi Bottling Group, 3M, Pitney Bowes, and Lennox International. A 2001 study released by the Washington D.C.-based Hispanic Association of Corporate Responsibility noted that no other Hispanic in the nation sat on as many boards as did Alvarado. The study went on to add that Hispanics are mostly absent from boardrooms, holding barely one percent of all board seats in the country's top corporations. Alvarado is also active in the Hispanic business community. In 1976 she was one of the founding members of Denver's Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, for which she served as chairman in the late 1990s. Of the group, she told Rocky Mountain News, "Our goal is to continue to open up doors of opportunity for Hispanic enterprise and multiply the numbers of Hispanics in positions of leadership." She continued, "It would be nice to believe that discrimination is not there anymore, but it's not true."

Additional topics

Brief BiographiesBiographies: (Hugo) Alvar (Henrik) Aalto (1898–1976) Biography to Miguel Angel Asturias (1899–1974) BiographyLinda Alvarado: 1952—: Entrepreneur Biography - Broke Through Construction Glass Ceiling, Expanded Business Skills Beyond Construction, First Hispanic Woman Team Owner