New Americans Honored at Annual Gala in Dearborn

In 2014 Michigan Governor Rick Snyder established the Michigan Office for New Americans (MONA) to help create a welcoming culture within the state. One of the ways of doing this is the Annual Appreciation Gala.


On September 6, Governor Snyder honored a select group of New Americans in Michigan for their philanthropic and economic contributions held at The Henry Hotel in Dearborn. The theme of the event was “Community Engagement and Economic Prosperity: The Bridge Toward Michigan’s Future”. The Gala is a collaborative effort planned by MONA, and the state’s three ethnic commissions: the Hispanic Latino Commission of Michigan (HLCOM), the Commission on Middle Eastern American Affairs (CMEAA), and the Michigan Asian Pacific American Affairs Commission (MAPAAC), which are part of the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA).

The honoree are as follows:

Governor’s New American Leadership Award

Noel Cuellar, Primera Plastics, Inc. (HLCOM)

Dug Son, Duo Security (MAPAAC)

Jim (Isa) Safiedine, Safiedine Oil Company (CMEAA)


Governor’s New Americans Philanthropy Award

Pedro Martinez, Van Buren Intermediate School District (HLCOM)

Dr. Janilla Lee, Asian Center of Southeast Michigan (MAPAAC)

Kamal Shouhayib, The Choice Group (CMEAA)


New Americans Appreciation Gala Honorable Mention

Guillermo Cisneros, West Michigan Chamber of Commerce (HLCOM)

Jesse Costilla, Great Lakes Bay Health Centers (HLCOM)

Dennis Bhaskaran, Apex Spring & Stamping (MAPAAC)

Dr. Cheng-Yang Chang (MAPAAC)

Ronny Medawar, Medawar Jewelers (CMEAA)

Tanya Robin, Superior Buick GMC (CMEAA)

karen phillippi

The newly appointed director of MONA, Karen Phillippi, granted WGTV an interview that gave us a better understanding of the great things they are doing. To hear that interview go to our Youtube Channel.


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