Group O Mourns Loss of Company Founder, Robert Ontiveros
Milan, Ill. – Group O announced today the passing of its founder and Chairman, Robert Ontiveros. In 1974, Bob and Blenda Ontiveros founded Bi-State Packaging selling packaging materials out of the back of their family station wagon. That small, family-run business grew into Group O - a multi-faceted business enterprise specializing in supply chain, packaging, and incentive marketing solutions. With more than 1,000 employees across 40 locations, Group O has been recognized as one of the largest Hispanic-owned businesses in the United States.
Ontiveros’ influence extended into the Quad Cities community with the generous support of many Quad Cities organizations, including Black Hawk College Foundation, Augustana College, Western Illinois University, Niabi Zoological Association, and the Community Health Care Clinic — with construction funded by Bob and Blenda to provide critically important low-cost care to those without a primary physician. The couple’s leadership, commitment, and positive community influence were evident in their philanthropic endeavors dedicated to supporting initiatives within the immigrant and minority communities. These efforts included West Gateway Partners and Mercado on Fifth — an open-air night market in Moline’s Floreciente neighborhood that features live entertainment, food trucks, and local vendors.
Additionally, Bob served as a trustee of Augustana College and was an active member of both the Illinois and U.S. Hispanic Chambers of Commerce, along with other community and business organizations, such as Boys & Girls Club of the Mississippi Valley and Junior Achievement.
Throughout his years of leadership, Bob was recognized with numerous honors, including:
- Order of Lincoln — the State of Illinois’ highest honor, recognizing his professional and community achievements
- Outstanding Community Leadership — State of Illinois Comptroller
- S. Department of Commerce — Legacy Award
- Minority Business Hall of Fame — Inductee
- Black Hawk College Alumni Hall of Fame – Inductee
- Lifetime Achievement Award — National Minority Supplier Development Council
- Lifetime Achievement Award — Chicago Minority Business Development Council
- Lifetime Achievement Award — Negocios Now
- Honorary Doctorate — Augustana College
“The loss of “Bob O” will be felt throughout the Group O family and the many communities he supported,” said Kimberly Fox, Group O Vice President of Human Resources. “We will miss him more than words can express. He was not just our Founder, but a hard-working man of character who truly believed that everyone wins when people get an opportunity to show what they can do.”