Two Latino leaders who have long served Santa Barbara will be among the 20 honorees at the Third Annual Influential Latino Awards on Saturday at the Radisson in Santa Maria.

The event, hosted annually by Latino Today newspaper and Latino Today Online, acknowledges and celebrates the work of Latino leaders from a variety of fields — government, business, education, social services, journalism and nonprofit work.

The event coincides with a special issue of Latino Today featuring profiles and photographs of the honorees — some long-time Latino icons and others relative newcomers — who bring corazón (a sincere Latino passion) to their work.

Al Pizano and John Romo both have long histories of seeking to improve local communities through their involvement in civic affairs.

Pizano is being honored for his part in founding the Flamenco Arts Festival and the annual Santa Barbara Mariachi Festival. He is also being honored for his long history of public service and for serving as president of the Hispanic Achievement Awards Committee.

Romo, who is retiring as president of Santa Barbara City College in June, is being honored for personal achievement, leadership and service to the community and for upholding the tradition of caring and excellence at SBCC. Al and John are simply incredible,” said Jesse Chavarria, owner and publisher of Latino Today and Latino Today Online. “These two highly accomplished individuals have reached great heights in their careers. Through their life’s work, they have dedicated themselves to the service of others for an improved society. They truly deserve this honor.”

Each year, members of the public nominate area leaders for the Influential Latino honor. A nominations committee made up of top local Latino government, business and community leaders makes final recommendations to the publisher.

Sponsors for the sold-out event include AARP, Allan Hancock College, KCOY 12/Fox 11, Norcast Communications, PCPA Theaterfest, Rabobank, Twitchell & Rice LLP, the United Way of Santa Barbara County and Wells Fargo Bank. More than 250 guests will attend the event.

Click here for a complete list of Influential Latino Honorees.