On Friday, November 22, 2019, Dominica-born Erwin T. Raphael, Chief Operating Officer of Genesis Motors America, was awarded the Corporate Leadership Award USA at the Caribbean American Heritage Awards (CARAH) Gala. CARAH is annual signature event honoring excellence in the Caribbean American community organized by the Institute of Caribbean Studies (www.icsdc.org) The star-studded event took place at the auspicious Smithsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture on Washington D.C’s National Mall.
The gala also honored Caribbean-American celebrities such as Jamaica-born billionaire businessman and philanthropist Michael Chinn who was awarded the Marcus Garvey Lifetime Achievement Award; Guyana-born brain scientist Dr. Andre Fenton who received the top awarded in the science and technology category and Martinique-born filmmaker Euzhan Palcy who was honored with the Luminary Award.
Raphael was introduced to the audience by Dominica-born chemical engineer Lynton Scotland, himself a former honoree in the science and technology category. Scotland hails from St. Joseph Dominica and attended the Dominica Grammar School. He is currently the Chief Procurement Officer of US chemical industry conglomerate W.L. Gore – maker of various medical implants and the groundbreaking Gore-Tex © synthetic waterproof fabric permeable to air and water vapor.
Erwin Raphael, a 25-year veteran of the automotive industry, is the Chief Operating Officer for the Genesis brand in the U.S. market. He is responsible for the strategic direction and management of all Genesis operations in the United States. In 2019 Raphael came in for much credit. That was due, in part, to his outstanding performance as Genesis General Manager for North America guiding the Genesis G70 to the top of the luxury car market as Car of the Year 2019.Due to his stellar performance, in March 2019, Raphael was promoted to Chief Operating Officer at Genesis.
Raphael was previously the Western Region Director and General Manager for Hyundai Motor America, overseeing operations of more than 165 Hyundai dealerships in the 12 Western-most states. He also served as the Director of Engineering and Quality at Hyundai, where he was responsible for new vehicle engineering, quality improvement of production vehicles, technical training and support, as well as warranty planning and operations.
National Museum of African American History & Culture
Prior to joining Hyundai, Raphael held a number of key leadership positions in vehicle development, engineering, manufacturing, sales and marketing with Chrysler LLC, Toyota Motor Manufacturing, and the International Truck and Engine Company.
Raphael holds a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry from Ohio State University, where he also studied applied mathematics and completed graduate studies in economics. Raphael served eight years in the United States Army, most recently in the 364th Engineers Group in the 83rd ARCOM. He currently serves on the Army Advisory Council.
The Caribbean American Heritage (CARAH) Awards were instituted in 1994 by the Institute of Caribbean Studies in order to demonstrate the contributions that Caribbean immigrants make to the USA. ICS’ Founder and President, Dr. Claire Nelson cites the CARAH Awards as part of the organization’s campaign to ensure that the conversation on the future of America and immigration includes a recognition of the indivisible historical linkages between the US and the Caribbean. It is also the view of the CARAH founders that the Caribbean region would be better off where its leadersengaged in a more close-knit collaborative with Diaspora communities viasubstantive exchanges in the science, technology and artistic space.
Raphael was born in Bellevue Chopin Dominica and left for St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands as a child. The younger brother of Dominica’s Jungle Bay Hotel owner Sam Raphael, he was educated in the USVI before traveling to the mainland for college. He currently resides in Orange County, California, where he enjoys surfing, skiing, running and a number of other sports. He is married to Tracy Lynn Davis of Ohio and has two children.
Gabriel Christian, Esq. was founding General Counsel of the Institute of Caribbean Studies (www.icsdc.org) in 1993 and is a member of the CARAH Gala Host Committee.