Across the United States, in all fields of endeavor, Latinos are working to uphold their place in American society. Fox News Latino is proud to present "Our American Dream" – a series of snapshots and profiles of Latino success stories.

Earth Day Edition: Fox News Latino is proud to present inspirational stories from Latinos all around the world doing their part to celebrate the importance of Earth Day.

I purchased a million-dollar machine and took a big risk to set an example in my industry. I’m hoping others will follow.

- Carmen Rad

As a child in Puerto Rico, Carmen Rad stood on a beach wondering “Where does all our trash go?” Growing up on an island gave her an early consciousness of living on a finite piece of land, and a sense that it needed protecting. She learned about reducing waste from her mother who taught her to reuse everything and is “the greenest person I know.” She specifically remembers this about her mother. “One year at Christmas time, she gathered branches,” Carmen describes. “She made a display stand. She sprayed her little tree and hung ornaments. She combined random objects into a beautiful piece.”

Carmen is transforming the traditionally wasteful industrial printing industry with her leadership and her environmental commitment learned from her family.

“I purchased a million-dollar machine and took a big risk to set an example in my industry. I’m hoping others will follow,” Carmen states.

Located in downtown Los Angeles, CR & A Custom Inc. has developed printing processes and materials to print whatever large-format displays a company needs, emit no fumes and return the materials to the earth instead of forever in the landfill. Recent projects include work for clients Coors light, L.A. Kings the Staples Center and Coca-Cola. The latter work was printed using UV and latex inks.

For their innovation and commitment to changing the industrial printing business, her business received the “Green Firm of the Year Award” from the L.A. Minority Business Opportunity Committee. Carmen was also recognized as “Manufacturer of the Year” by the National Latina Women Business Association, Los Angeles Chapter. Her company received congressional recognition for its innovations at the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute Public Policy conference in 2010. Most recently, L.A. Mayor Antonio Villagorosa selected the fantastic facility housing the creative team at CR & A Custom Inc. for his press conference to announce the new L.A. Regional Export Council that will help small businesses boost their exporting activity.

The little girl from Puerto Rico who once wondered where all the waste goes has grown up and is doing her part to produce less of it.  She’s doing it her way and honoring her cultural values. Collaborating with her husband and business partner Masoud, they continue to bring eco-friendly graphical and printing innovation to businesses in the U.S., Puerto Rico, the Middle East and soon, new global markets.

Are you a business owner or do you work in a corporate role that consumes large-format printing products and services? If you answered yes, Earth Day is the perfect time to look again at your supply chain partners. Are they as environmentally committed and creative as Carmen and CR & A Custom? Is it time to make a change? Wouldn’t you want your business and marketing activities to move closer to achieving a zero-to-landfill milestone that you can proudly tout to your customer base?

Carmen is a true innovator, a powerful example of the entrepreneurial spirit of the American Latina. As we celebrate Earth Day, let’s look to her example of real, sustainable business practices, rooted in Latino culture, that create and sustain jobs for educated Americans, while honoring our planet and its finite resources. You can read Carmen’s compelling childhood-to-entrepreneurship story, and the industry resources she recommends to job seekers and students interested in sustainable industrial printing in the pages of the Amazon bestseller titled Latinnovating: Green American Jobs and the Latinos Creating Them.

Graciela Tiscareño-Sato is the Chief Creative Officer and Author of "Latinnovating: Green American Jobs and the Latinos Creating Them." Go to: www.latinnovating.com.

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Graciela Tiscareño-Sato is the Chief Creative Officer and Author of "Latinnovating: Green American Jobs and the Latinos Creating Them." Go to: www.latinnovating.com.

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