Pictured: Recipients of 2019 Minority Enterprise Awards on stage at the U.S. Minority Business Development Agency’s awards ceremony held Monday evening in Washington, D.C. A Minority Enterprise Award is the highest level of national recognition that a U.S. minority-owned firm can receive from the U.S. Department of Commerce.
The Minority Enterprise Awards Ceremony honored eight businesses, including one Native American-owned firm
“These prestigious awards presented by the U.S. Minority Business Development Agency importantly recognize and celebrate the outstanding achievements of successful minority businesses from across the country,” said Gary Davis (Cherokee Nation), who hosted the U.S. Department of Commerce, Minority Business Development Agency’s (MBDA) 2019 Minority Enterprise Awards, held Monday evening in Washington, D.C.
The Minority Enterprise Award is the highest level of national recognition that a U.S. minority-owned firm can receive from the Department of Commerce. NEZ/FCI Native American, LLC (NEZ/FCI), a Native American-owned business, took home the Minority Construction Firm of the Year Award. For NEZ/FCI’s, Founder and Controlling Manager Marvin Nez, receiving the honor marked a momentous occasion.
“We made our way onto the map tonight, and we are a part of history. We will continue to write history, American Indian history. …We will continue to participate in American economy and business,” Nez said.
A premier construction company primarily serving Indian Country in the greater Southwestern United States, NEZ/FCI has grown exponentially over the last four years and has employed nearly 1,200 workers through sub-contracts — approximately one-third of whom are of Native American heritage.
Nez thanked his family and mentors who instilled in him the confidence to pursue his professional path, and offered words of wisdom and encouragement for others to empower the next generation.
“Believe in a child and give them hope. …Here’s to all the children of Indigenous Nations across the United States. I hope to inspire you — Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians to Tule River, Choctaw to Cree, and all Nations in between.”
As host of the ceremony, Davis also spoke to the value of mentors, while honoring the influence and legacy of his grandfather, a successful entrepreneur. Davis underscored the power of commitment, focus and discipline to entrepreneurship.
“You do the work, stay focused and keep your head down,” Davis said. He also underscored that time is our most valuable asset. “God knows how long we have on this beautiful Earth, so you try to make everyday count,” he said.
Daymond John, star of ABC’s Shark Tank and an accomplished author and entrepreneur, delivered the keynote speech at the awards ceremony, emphasizing to the audience of accomplished minority entrepreneurs: “We have got to leverage our network. That’s how we get to size and scale,” John said.
In a statement announcing the award recipients, MBDA National Director Henry Childs, II, shed light on the exponential growth and impact of minority owned businesses across the United States: “Minority-owned businesses are growing at a faster rate than non-minority owned businesses. It is a national imperative that the United States continues to invest in MBEs,” Childs said.
In honor of the MBDA’s 50th Anniversary, the administration is celebrating National Minority Enterprise Development (MED) Week, September 8-14, in Washington, D.C. “I congratulate the 2019 Minority Enterprise Award winners and invite the minority business community to join us for a week-long celebration of Minority Enterprise Development (MED) Week, as proclaimed by the President of the United States,” Childs added.
In addition to NEZ/FCI Native American, LLC, other 2019 National Minority Business Award recipients included:
Minority Business Enterprise of the Year: Management and Engineering Technologies International (METI)
METI provides information technology and engineering support services to the federal sector and private industry throughout the United States and several other countries. Established in 1994, METI has a presence in more than 20 states and an international presence that spans more than 80 countries
Minority Professional Services Firm of the Year: MPACT Strategic Consulting
An emergency management and disaster recovery firm that assists public and private sector organizations to prepare, respond, and recover from natural and man-made disasters, MPACT Strategic Consulting was founded in 2007, and has since emerged as one of the fastest-growing emergency management and disaster recovery firms in the nation with a 390% growth from 2014-2017.
Minority Technology Firm of the Year: V-Soft Consulting
Known as an agile innovative technology services company, V-Soft has been recognized among the Top 100 fastest growing staffing companies in North America. Today, they operate in eight locations across North America, with more than 1,500 global employees.
Champions of Minority Business Development:
Access to Capital Award: DreamSpring
DreamSpring, a community development organization that provides financing and support to under-represented and under-capitalized entrepreneurs in Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and Texas. DreamSpring helps bridge the “credit gap” that can prevent hardworking and visionary entrepreneurs from reaching their full potential and creating jobs in their communities.
The Advocate of the Year Award: Cindy Ramos-Davidson
Cindy Ramos-Davidson, President and Chief Executive Officer of the El Paso Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, began her career with the chamber of commerce more than 40 years ago, serving more than 20 years in a leadership role in El Paso. Ramos-Davidson’s passion for entrepreneurship and business development in the southwest border region has defined her career as steadfast advocate for minority, veteran, and women-owned businesses.
Distinguished Supplier Diversity Award: Ingersoll Rand
Under the leadership of Jackie LaJoie, Ingersoll Rand is building world class programs and driving results for diversity and inclusion. Since 2013, Ingersoll Rand has spent more than $2.4 billion with minority-owned businesses. They are committed to operating a successful and sustainable program that creates jobs for supplier partners, economic growth for local communities, and customers for life for Ingersoll Rand.
The Ronald H. Brown Leadership Award, inspired by the late U.S. Secretary of Commerce, recognizes an individual who has shown exceptional leadership and achieved significant success in supporting diversity in the public or private sector. This year’s awards recipient is Denise Burgess, president and CEO of Burgess Services, LLC, a Denver-based construction management firm. Burgess’ work in the construction community led to her appointment to the Construction Empowerment Initiative advisory board and under her leadership, certified firms expanded from 500 to over 1,500.
About the MBDA and National Minority Enterprise Development (MED) Week
MBDA is the only Federal agency dedicated to the growth and global competitiveness of U.S. minority business enterprises through the mobilization and advancement of public and private sector programs, policy, and research. Our services better equip minority-owned firms to create jobs, build scale and capacity, increase revenues and expand regionally, nationally and internationally. In 2019, MBDA commemorates 50 years of economic empowerment through entrepreneurship and recommits to Winning the Future for all U.S. minority-owned businesses. For more information visit www.mbda.gov.
Since 1983, every U.S. president has issued a Presidential Proclamation designating National MED Week to recognize the contributions of the minority business community to the U.S. economy. MBDA has hosted the National MED Week celebration since its inception. The 2019 National MED Week events are sponsored by Facebook, The Coca-Cola Company, Raytheon, AT&T, and IBM. Learn more at https://medweek.mbda.gov.