Long Beach Area Chamber of Commerce Entrepreneurs of the Year Awards
Article Launched:04/27/2007 12:00:00 AM PDT
Long Beach Press Telegram
LONG BEACH – Sometimes it just takes persistence.
The late Dr. C. David Molina failed in five consecutive business ventures before opening the Long Beach-based health care provider bearing his name that has grown to include nearly 2 million patients in eight states.
That entrepreneurial spirit, which Molina passed on to his two sons, was honored Thursday at an annual business luncheon hosted by the Long Beach Chamber of Commerce.
Brothers Mario and John Molina, who run Molina Healthcare, one of the nation’s largest Hispanic-owned businesses, were named “Entrepreneurs of the Year” by the Chamber.
Through an affiliation with hundreds of hospitals and clinics across the nation, 27-year-old Molina Healthcare serves primarily indigent and Medicaid patients.
“They’re providing an essential service where there’s a gap for low-income people,” said Mayor Bob Foster. “They’re not only great businesspeople, but they’re true corporate citizens.”
Also honored Thursday was legendary Long Beach attorney Skip Keesal, a founding partner of the global law firm Keesal, Young and Logan.
Keesal was given a Corporate Citizen Award by law firm Holthouse, Carlin and Van Trigt for his longtime support for local charities and youth programs.
The Molina brothers, who oversee one of Long Beach’s largest employers and downtown’s largest private tenant, said they plan to continue expanding their operations in the coming year.
In January, the company opened its first Nevada offices.
“We see a lot of opportunity to provide service to people who traditionally had no health care,” said John, the company’s CFO. “That was our father’s goal, to care for the underserved, and it continues to be our goal.”
The Molina brothers, who officially took over after their father’s death in 1996, have expanded the company to more than $2.5 billion in annual revenue and 2,000 employees, half of those workers in Long Beach.
The number of patients continues increasing.
“It’s an awesome responsibility … given that we serve some 2 million people every day,” John Molina said.
Mario, the company’s CEO and himself a doctor, was named one of America’s 25 most influential Hispanics in a 2005 issue of Time magazine.
Both men sit on numerous community boards and are well-known for their philanthropy.
Past recipients include Long Beach Harbor Commissioners Jim Hankla and John Hancock, Long Beach Grand Prix Founder Chris Pook and former Earth Tech President Diane Creel.
The banquet was hosted by the Chamber of Commerce and sponsored by City National Bank.