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Ravell Call, Deseret Morning News
Solange Gomes performs a flamenco dance during a fiesta announcing the launch of Onda R7 at the Rose Wagner center.

The name means "wave," seen by its founders as a current of opportunity, an unstoppable groundswell, building in the cities and towns of Utah.

Richter7, a Salt Lake-based public relations and advertising firm, announced Tuesday that it has formed an in-house Hispanic division, Onda R7.

Onda R7 ("onda" is Spanish, translated as "wave") is the first wholly in-house operation dedicated to providing advertising, marketing, public relations and interactive services relating to Hispanic communities.

"The growth of the Latino community is a powerful wave sweeping across our country and, of course, the great state of Utah," said Scott Rockwood, chief executive of Richter7, at Onda R7's launch party Tuesday. "It is our duty and our privilege as business and community leaders to support this effort and to reach out to these communities.

"We feel like to truly reach out, we are going to have to become more culturally sensitive, more aware of the needs that are out there, more willing to embrace the community, and in particular, we need to be more committed to communicating in the Spanish language."

Jenifer Ruiz, executive director of Onda R7, said one of the firm's first initiatives is a partnership with Comunidades Unidas, a Salt Lake-based nonprofit organization that trains and supports members of the Hispanic community to be leaders and advocates. Onda R7 will donate advertising, marketing and public relations support to build the organization's programs and initiatives.

"In creating Onda R7, Richter7 saw and acknowledged Utah's growing Hispanic population. . . . But what excites me, and the reason I'm here today, is that they have gone a step further from this business decision and have committed to being an active participant and contributor within the Hispanic community," Ruiz said.

Sabrina Morales, executive director of Comunidades Unidas, said Onda R7 will provide "sorely needed" marketing and public relations assistance — work that would have taken years to do, given Comunidades' limited resources.

"We can't hide the gratitude we are feeling for Onda R7," Morales said. "We will definitely use their marketing materials to develop a fund-raising plan to continue our work to recruit, empower and train more volunteers in our community."

In addition, Onda R7 contributed $1,000 to the Utah Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Foundation to be used for scholarships for Utah students and will offer internships to Latinos seeking marketing or related experience. The agency also has signed on as a platinum sponsor with the Utah Hispanic Chamber and has a seat on its board of directors.

"This is truly a dynamic organization," said Carlos Linares, executive director of the chamber. "We expect to have a wonderful working relationship with them, to provide the support to them that they are providing to us."

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