What can a large company, a professional triathlete and a banker have in common? What unites a globetrotting teacher with the leader of the Spanish Football Federation or with a magistrate? Despite their disparity, the lives and professional careers of these people and institutions converge at one point: their close bond with Bilbao, the town where they were born and grew up. Iberdrola, Virginia Berasategui, Mario Fernández, Ricardo Díez Hochleitner, Ángel María Villar and Adela Asúa will join the select club of Illustrious Bilbaínos from mid-December.
The mayor, Iñaki Azkuna, made public yesterday in the Board of Spokespersons of the City Council the names of those who will receive the award with more tradition. "These are people and companies that have a lot to do with our town, they have worked and continue to do so every day to make their name high and always carry it with them wherever they go.
Virginia Berasategui - Triathlete
Transforming sport into a profession and a way of life has always been the challenge of the Bilbao triathlete Virginia Berasategui. His brilliant record confirms that he has succeeded. The young athlete, who saw the light for the first time in 1975, finished a career full of triumphs at the state and international level with the bronze medal that she won at the Ironman World Championship in Hawaii. The young woman from Bilbao has shown the close bond that unites her with the town on multiple occasions. His last proof of love for Bilbao, jumping to swim in the estuary to start the first edition of the BilbaoTriathlon.
Iberdrola - Electric company
An imposing 41-storey glass tower in the heart of the town and the appointment of Illustrious Bilbaína. The electricity company Iberdrola, whose main headquarters are in the Biscayan capital, will remember 2011 as the year in which it stamped its seal of identity in Bilbao. The company, which was created in 1992 as a result of the merger of Hidroeléctrica Española and Iberduero, supplies electricity and natural gas to 16 million customers spread over 28 countries. In addition, it operates, either individually or together with other companies, five nuclear power plants, seven thermal plants and several hydroelectric plants. As a sign of its adaptation to the times, Iberdrola has also embarked on the world of renewable energies, and has a broad portfolio of projects around the world that amounts to 43.280 MW.
Mario Fernández - BBK President
The involvement of the current BBK leader in the labor activity of the capital of Biscay is not a matter of years, but decades. After working as a professor of Commercial Law at the University of Deusto, where he also graduated, he came to combine his work as Labor Councilor with that of Vice-Lehendakari of the Basque Government between 1982 and 1985. He headed the list of Eusko Alkartasuna for the Bilbao City Council in 1987, and shortly after he left politics to develop his career as a lawyer, in which he became Legal Director for Legal Affairs and a member of the BBVA Management Committee. In 2009, Fernández, author of numerous articles specialized in economics or politics, replaced Xabier de Irala as president of the BBK.
Ricardo Díez Hochleitner - Teacher
Education as a way of progress has been the central axis of the life of Ricardo Díez Hochleitner, a Bilbao professor born in 1928. The future 'Illustrious' of the town, who graduated in Chemical Sciences from the University of Salamanca and completed his academic training in Germany and Washington, he has been one of those in charge of publicizing the town's secetos on all four sides of the world. His good work as an educator encouraged President Kennedy himself to request his services to put him at the head of an innovative body in the United States called the "Alliance for Progress." Currently, he distributes his wisdom in international forums and is a patron or honorary member of various foundations and holds the position of Doctor Honoris Causa from the University of York in the United States, the University of Soka in Japan or the Autonomous University of Madrid.
Ángel María Villar - President of the Spanish Football Federation
This Bilbao man was born to export the name of the town that saw him born in 1957 in the history of the most deeply rooted sport in the capital of Biscay, football. His long career began kicking the ball in the lower categories of Athletic, a team with which he won a Copa del Rey and became runner-up in UEFA, and was projected internationally in his matches with the Spanish National Team. After hanging up his boots in 1981, he remained closely linked to this sport and was elected president of the Biscayan Football Federation. The next step made him a member of the Board of the Royal Spanish Football Federation, an institution he has presided over since 1992.
Adela Asúa Batarrita - Magistrate
The world of laws will also have an Illustrious Bilbaína. Adela Asúa Batarrita came to the world in the Biscayan capital in 1949 and began as a teacher at the University of Deusto, an activity that she combined with the position of Alternate Magistrate of the Territorial Court of Bizkaia and Gipuzkoa. He left his legal work to dedicate himself fully to teaching in the Basque Country and countries such as Argentina or the United States. She is currently a professor in the Basque Country and, since January of this year, has held the position of Magistrate of the Constitutional Court.