The Spain-US Chamber of Commerce in Florida has officially announced the winners of the 2022 Ponce de León Awards in its “Company of the Year” and “Executive of the Year” modalities, which recognize the trajectory, efforts, and achievements of companies and executives since 2011.


The Spain-US Chamber of Commerce in Florida has officially announced the winners of the 2022 Ponce de León Awards in its “Company of the Year” and “Executive of the Year” modalities, which recognize the trajectory, efforts, and achievements of companies and executives since 2011.

The Ponce de León Executive of the Year award is for Sergio Martínez, global CEO of Sanitas. Sergio is leading a project revolutionizing health care in the United States. Country where Sanitas already have 60 healthcare centers, a hospital, and a mental health center, all managed under a comprehensive care model.


The award ceremony will take place on November 11th at the traditional Annual Anniversary Gala of the Spain-US Chamber of Commerce in Florida, which celebrates its 42nd anniversary this year. A year in which “The chamber and its members have consolidated their recovery in the US market after some tough years due to the pandemic” and “Growth expectations have been exceeded in practically all economic sectors”, the president of the chamber, Javier Estades Saez said.


During the ceremony, Xacobeo 21-22 will also receive a special mention as “Initiative of the Year” for its contribution to the positioning of Spain as a quality tourist destination in the US market. Spain has received more than 1.7 million Americans this year.




“The number of members has kept growing steadily during 2022. More and more companies decide to enter the US market supported by the chamber” said the president of the Chamber of Commerce of Spain-United States in Florida. 



The Spain-US Chamber of Commerce in Florida is an official institution, formed as a private, non- profit organization, which is part of FECECA, the Federation of Official Spanish Chambers of Commerce in America. It has more than 460 members, which makes it one of the main bi-national chambers in the United States. These members are companies of all sizes and sectors with a common interest, developing their business in the United States and Latin America. It is worth noting the increase of American companies that decide to join the chamber to “be part of a dynamic business community with great opportunities for collaboration,” adds Estades. 



The US continues to be the world’s leading economy and the first destination for foreign direct investment by Spanish companies, with an accumulated investment of more than 85 billion euros. Its economy has shown great resilience with strong GDP growth in 2021 (5.7%), quickly recovering from the 3.4% drop suffered in 2020 by Covid-19. Likewise, the national unemployment rate is at 3.5%, well below the 14.7% it reached in April 2020.


Spanish companies in the United States directly employ more than 113,000 people. The main destination sectors have been financial services; energy (conventional and renewable), construction, and wholesale.



Jorge Rubio, Founder & Executive Director of CECOP

Jorge Rubio, Founder & Executive Director of CECOP, underlines “We are super happy with the evolution and growth of our community in the US”. CECOP is a leading global community in the optician sector. They provide discounts, promotions, consolidated billing, marketing services, HR services, training, continuing education, and financial consulting resources to independent opticians. Founded in Spain in 1996, they currently have more than 7,600 associates in 11 countries: Europe (Spain, Portugal, Italy, England, Ireland, France, and Germany). Latin America (Brazil, Colombia, and Mexico) and the USA.


CECOP entered the US market to help independent eyecare professionals during one of the most challenging times, at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. On March 31st, 2020, CECOP USA acquired the Combine Buying group. On December 31st, 2020, CECOP USA acquired The Alliance Buying Group and increased its market penetration, reaching 10% of the US market, with over 1,900 independent eyecare professionals. In 2021, CECOP USA merged both acquisitions and increased its net revenue by 52%. This organic growth was accomplished by bringing new partnerships and offerings to their members. In the following years, CECOP USA will continue growing through acquisitions and organically above the market average. They also aspire to have a leading market position by 2030.


The Ponce de Leon Award is yet another example of the recognition of the trajectory and growth of CECOP in the United States, as was the honorary distinction received in October 2021, for which Mayor Daniella Levine presented the Keys to the City of Miami to Jorge Rubio.

The company´s value proposition, which has been so successful in its more than 25 years of existence, is based on attracting and developing talent and creating a collaborative environment. CECOP has become a pioneer in establishing a revolutionary model that adapts to the needs of independent eyecare professionals. 


“The concept of global community defines our essence. We are a community of independent opticians who generate synergies and support each other”, indicates its founder.


For Sergio Martínez, Sanitas Global CEO, reciprocity is the essence of what the Keralty group represents. “Treating others as we would like to be treated ourselves has become our motive in every moment of care that we offer to the 9 million people who have trusted their healthcare in the United States, Colombia, Peru, Mexico, Venezuela, Dominican Republic, Philippines, and Spain”.


That is how Sanitas has achieved a 30% average growth per year from 2012 to 2022 and moved towards a culture in which they identify themselves as members of a cellular system rather than a hierarchy, fostering values such as compassion, respect, solidarity, and justice.


Getting here requires effort, discipline, and perseverance, skills that Sergio has always shown. Not in vain, at only 28 years old, he was already the general director of an infrastructure company where he designed, built, and maintained healthcare facilities, being his first contact with healthcare industry. 


Today, he is among the 500 Most Influential People in Latin America thanks to his positive impact in the health sector, generating employment opportunities, his input in local economies, and supporting relevant initiatives, according to Bloomberg.

Caring for people’s health and well-being is his main driver and caring for the environment is his life goal. Before joining Sanitas, he was CEO and business partner in Sunco – a company that develops renewable energy projects.


His arrival to Sanitas-Keralty in 2015 came with the responsibility of presiding over the group nascent operation in Asia, and thanks to the positive outcomes, the group named him Global CEO soon after. From this position, he focused on strengthening their comprehensive healthcare model, which is a reality thanks to their presence throughout the entire healthcare value chain.


Precisely, this model he dreamed of taking to new territories is now advancing steadily in the United States, a country whose expansion plan has represented one of the greatest challenges for the group. They started in 2015 with just 3 medical centers and now have 60, one hospital, and a mental health center, employing more than 2.000 people that put their hearts into the care of our members and patients in Florida, Texas, New Jersey, and Tennessee.

The evolution in these recent years does not stop there, they are permanently looking for better ways to provide healthcare and well-being through continuous improvement and innovation. A perfect example is the partnership reached with Google to develop a platform in patient-centered care that will transcend from the digital clinical history to the digital life history.

“Our greatest challenge is to continue growing, taking care of more and more people every day, innovating and developing services aligned with the insurance needs, integrated care, hospital network, training and applied technology for our members and patients” concluded Sergio.

For more information, please contact Mario Fernández, head of the marketing and communication department of the Spain-US Chamber of Commerce in Florida: | Tel. +1 305 358 5988

Discover more about our 2022 Annual Anniversary Gala