PICATINNY ARSENAL, N.J. - Hispanic Heritage Month was celebrated and recognized during an Oct. 3 event featuring a panel discussion and Latin dance demonstrations in the Lindner Conference Center. Picatinny employees were able to listen and learn from their peers about the heritage month's theme, "Shaping the Bright Future of America."Brig. Gen. Alfred F. Abramson III, Senior Commander, Picatinny Arsenal, and David Castellano, Acting Director, U.S. Army Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center (ARDEC), hosted the event organized by the Hispanic Heritage Month committee.Col. Hector Gonzalez kicked off the discussion panel, which was moderated by Cynthia Perazzo, Chief Strategic Technology Investment Office, and a member of the committee. Gonzales is Project Manager for Maneuver Ammunition Systems, Direct Fire, Program Executive Office for Ammunition,
Gonzalez' military counterpart on the panel was Capt. Fernando Echavarria-Hidalgo, Military Personnel Exchange Program Officer for the government of Canada. Echavarria-Hidalgo is currently assigned to ARDEC.Louisa Melendez, a contracting officer with Army Contracting Command -- New Jersey, and Mireille Pincay-Rodrigues, Project Officer with Project Management Close Combat Systems, were also panel members.The panel answered questions about enriching the culture of Picatinny, ensuring success of the country's growing female population, and educational encouragement for today's Hispanic and Latino youth.Catherine Vargas, with the MDN Latin Dance Studio in Belleville, provided renditions of two Mambo style dances.A Hispanic Heritage Month luncheon will be held Oct. 11 at Noches de Colombia in Randolph.