Cretans of America pay tribute to their heritage. Zeimbekakis and Velivasakis compete for the presidency.
New York.- Two candidates with impeccable credentials, Steven (Eftychis_ Zeibekakis and Manolis Velivasakis, will compete for the presidency of the Pancretan Association of America, at the 39th PAA National Convention that convenes in Las Vegas, Nevada, from June 25th through July 1st.
Steven Zeimbekakis, a Harvard Graduate and a financial genius, born to Chania Crete, came to the United States on a full Harvard Scholarship. He was also a recipient of PAA scholarship and as he points out, he is one of the few recipients who have stayed and worked for the Association. His first PAA Congress was in 1976 (Pittsburgh) and he has been a member and an officer of several Cretan Chapters including Pittsburgh, Boston, Springfield, and Omonoia of New York. He is presently serving PAA as chairman of the Board of Investments and Fundraising.
Manolis Velivasakis, a Managing Principal of The Thornton-Tomasetti Group – an internationally acclaimed Architectural-Engineering firm – and President of its LZA Technology Division, gained high profile after September 11, when his company took charge of the cleaning and safeguarding efforts on Ground Zero. He professional success include the valuation and restoration of the United States Capitol Dome in Washington, D.C., the design of mega-structures such as the world’s tallest buildings, the Petronas Twin-Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and the Taipei Financial Center in Taipei, Taiwan, to his emergency response work at the ruins of the 1999 earthquake in Istanbul, Turkey and the World Trade Center disaster site after the 9/11/01 terrorist attack.
For his work he received numerous distinctions and awards, including:
-Gold Cross of the Order of the Phoenix bestowed in October 2004, by his Excellency the President of hte Hellenic Republic, Hon. Costis Stefanopoulos.
-Offikion of Archon Eftaxias of the Great Church of Christ, bestowed by His All Holiness the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew
-Gold Medal of the polytechnic University of Crete, April 2004, etc.
He was president of the New York Cretan Association “Minos” and he presently serves PAA as chairman of the Pancretan Endowment Fund.
The election of the new president will take place on July 1st.
“It’s our goal to give our attendees memories that will last a lifetime,” said PAA 1st Vice-President and Executive Organizing Committee Chairman Tom Lantzourakis. Organizing committees from the Tri-State Chapters in Phoenix, Las Vegas, Orange County in Southern California and Los Angeles have been working for months already planning events that will allow convention-goers the chance to celebrate and remember the glory of our Cretan roots.
For this convention, special efforts are being made to reach beyond the PAA membership to people of Cretan heritage who may not have considered attending a PAA convention in the past. “We think it’s important to reach out to Cretans who may not fully understand the rich heritage of their background,” said members of the Executive Organizing Committee (EOC). “Having them attend the PAA national convention is a great way for them to learn about our unique history, traditions and culture.”
Special events and activities are being planned and there will be something for everybody. “The worst thing that can happen is to attend a convention like this and not be able to find something for you and your family to do,” according to the EOC. “Our organizing committees are working hard to make sure that everybody from our youngest members to our senior citizens are taken care of. From the moment they arrive, until the time they leave, the people attending this convention will see and feel the warm Cretan philoxenia that we are so famous for.”
The 39th PAA National Convention will be held at the newly renovated and upgraded Las Vegas Flamingo Hilton on the Las Vegas strip.
Reservations can be made now by calling the Flamingo 24-hours a day at 1-800-732-2111.
The members of the EOC include:
Tom Lantzourakis, EOC Chairman
Nectarios Brokalakis and George Christie from the Cretans of Arizona Phoenix chapter
Eleftherios Dramitinos and Minos Xilikakis from the Omonia chapter in Orange County
Donna Maland, Emmanuel Markakis and Mike Mavros from the Minoan chapter in Las Vegas
George Skandale and Stamatis Zoumberakis from the Southern California Cretans Association in Los Angeles
Especially illustrious is the commemorative album, in celebration of the 75th anniversary of the PAA. The album was prepared by a committee chaired by former “Omonoia” President Nickos Kastrinakis, a candidate for 2nd Vice President of the PAA. The album includes a treasure of historical information about the PAA and its organizations, as well as the chapter members and various Cretan families of the United States. Pictures and documents of historical value are included, as well as messages of Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, Archbishop Demetrios, members of Greek Parliament and government as well as members of US Congress.
Pancretan Association has acquired on June 21st a 1929 Packard car, identical with the one that Eleftherios Venizelos rode in during his assassination attempt. This car will be shipped to Chania shortly in order for the original Venizelos Packard to be restored.