The SouthCoast Chamber and the Portuguese consulate had the pleasure of hosting the first annual PABRA on October 19, 2018. The ceremony took place at the Waypoint Event Center located at 185 MacArthur Drive, New Bedford, MA.

The Portuguese-American Business Recognition Awards, (PABRA) celebrated the economic and civic contribution of various Portuguese-American businesses. Additionally, the SouthCoast Chamber had the honor of recognizing 11 local Portuguese businesses as finalists and awarded three 2018 PABRAs. This year’s PABRA recipients were: DeMello International Center, Luzo-Auto Center and Fernandes Masonry Inc.

 

DeMello International Center

 Through the vision of Jim DeMello in 2016, this organization came to New Bedford with a mission focused on professional and educational development, support for major non-profits, and an increased quality of life for residents of the South Coast.  In two years, the DeMello Center has transformed a previously nearly empty building with a 20% occupancy rate into a full operating business center housing 35 businesses.

The Center houses daily operations for three major educational institutions and ten non-profit organizations including Junior Achievement, the New Bedford Symphony, and The United Way.

By accommodating a variety of organizations from every industry, they support each aspect of our local economic development. These companies provide local employment opportunities in numerous fields both traditional and non-traditional, ranging anywhere from cosmetology to public policy.

With strong beliefs in educating our future workforce and retaining local talent, this past spring, the Center welcomed Lesley University to the Business Center.

The DeMello International Center has spent countless hours servicing the community and generously donated to and sponsored local charity events and non-profit organizations.

The DeMello International Center has created a thriving business center in the heart of downtown New Bedford that has strengthen our economic climate. The Center is a reflection of Jim DeMello’s commitment and dedication to the community while fostering an environment devoted to education and professional development.

 

Luzo-Auto Center

For more than half a century this small business has succeeded with hard work, high quality service, and impeccable customer relationships. Today, Luzo Auto Center operates with sixteen employees and a reputation to meet consumers’ needs with fairness and understanding.

Today, they have evolved into one of the major players in the Collision Repair and Service industry. Luzo’s customers includes numerous commercial organizations alongside of countless resident accounts throughout the South Coast.

Over the years, Luzo’s professionalism and hard work has allowed them to expand their showroom, add four new job opportunities to their workforce and continuously modernize their equipment and technology.

The focal point of their mission is to give back and support the community.  Luzo Auto Center sponsors several youth athletic teams and are strong supporters of a variety of local organizations including the Azorean Maritime Heritage Society, the New Bedford Whaling Museum, and the Prince Henry Society.

Luzo Auto Center has unceasingly contributed to our economy by supporting local businesses, servicing residents and creating and sustaining local job opportunities.  As an active member in the community, they are committed to creating a better South Coast.

 

Fernandes Masonry

As a local employer for twenty plus years, this family organization has flourished into one of the leading businesses in the area.

With a workforce of more 120 employees, Fernandes Masonry’s dedication to quality craftsmanship and customer satisfaction has continuously influenced our economy.  The company works closely with local vendors and suppliers in every industry believing the best service and support comes from the companies’ closest to them geographically.

The Fernandes Masonry workload includes multi-million dollar projects in the private, public and government sectors all over New England. Aside from fueling our economic development, they support local businesses and have been a driving force behind the betterment of the South Coast.

They donate countless volunteer hours, are members of numerous trade organizations and are active sponsors with non-profits and local sporting clubs. After raising over two million dollars, with help from an army of volunteers, the Team Noah Foundation, a non-profit organization Fernandes created, undertook one of New Bedford’s largest community building projects. This past year, Noah’s Playground was completed and is the area’s largest fully accessible playground.

Fernandes Masonry has been a staple organization within our community for more than two decades, they continue to expand operations and cultivate our economy while remaining devoted to the community’s quality of life.

2018 PABRA finalists included: Azores Airlines Vacation America, Inc.; DeMello International Center; The Castelo Group; Fernandes Masonry; Horacio’s Inc.; Luso-American Financial; Luzo Auto Center; Hair In Motion; Places to Go Transportation; Sagres Vacations; WJFD-FM, INC