March 21, 2023

WASHINGTON (Oct. 7, 2016) — The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) announced the 2016 National Minority Enterprise Development (MED) Week Award winners.

MBDA will honor 19 organizations, businesses, and individuals who have demonstrated leadership, commitment and excellence in advancing the minority business community.

“We’re honored to recognize this dynamic group of individuals who have dedicated themselves and their resources to ensuring the advancement of the minority business community,” said Alejandra Y. Castillo, MBDA national director. “Their contributions are essential to creating an ecosystem that supports, develops and elevates U.S. minority business enterprises now and in the future.”

The MED Week awards celebrate and recognize the outstanding achievements of minority entrepreneurs based on challenges overcome, total revenue, jobs created, and the economic impact. MBDA also recognizes individuals and organizations that have demonstrated leadership and commitment to the advancement of the minority business community.

The following are the 2016 National Minority Enterprise Development Award Winners:

Abe Venable Legacy Award for Lifetime Achievement is presented to an individual who has played an integral role in the creative, technical or professional progress of minority business development over the course of their life. This year’s award recipient is Shelly Stewart, Vice President of DuPont Sourcing & Logistics and Chief Procurement Officer. Stewart leads global procurement and logistics activities totaling $20 billion. Stewart is on the board of directors of Cleco Corporation where he leads the Nominating and Governance Committee and has served as a member of the U.S. Department of Commerce National Advisory Council on Minority Business Enterprise.

Ronald H. Brown Leadership Award is inspired by the outstanding leadership of the late U.S. Secretary of Commerce and recognizes an individual who has shown exceptional leadership and achieved significant success in supporting diversity in the public or private sector. This year’s award recipient is Carla Harris, Vice-President of Wealth Management at Morgan Stanley. Harris has extensive industry experiences in the technology, media, retail, telecommunications, transportation, industrial, and healthcare sectors. In August 2013, Harris was appointed by President Barack Obama to chair the National Women’s Business Council.

Champions of Minority Business Development:

Advocate of the Year Award is being presented to Ron Busby, CEO of the U.S. Black Chambers, Inc. As President/CEO of the U.S. Black Chambers, Inc., Busby brings business management skills as well as a lifetime of community development experience to the organization. Busby is a former successful business owner himself and has been recognized as one of the nation’s leading CEOs. He serves on the Pfizer Small Business Council, National Newspapers Publishers Association Foundation Board of Directors, and White House African American Leadership Council.

Advocate of the Year Award is bring presented to Frank Lemos, Founder and CEO of LDC, Inc.  Lemos is a successful businessman in the Pacific Northwest with more than 25 years of experience in the professional construction consulting industry. Lemos founded LDC, Inc., a civil engineering firm, in 2003, with a focus on new home construction that serves local and regional developers and national home builders. In less than four years, Lemos successfully grew LDC by 300 percent through the implementation of an aggressive and creative business development strategy that included adding two new professional services — structural engineering and land surveying, to LDC’s core competencies.

Distinguished Supplier Diversity Award is being presented to Ford Motor Company. Ford Motor Company has an incredibly strong culture of diversity and inclusiveness and continues to work to ensure company employees reflect the diverse perspectives of their global customer base. Ford believes that diversity and inclusion are critical to its success.

The Access to Capital Award is being presented to Bank 2, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Chickasaw Banc Holding Company. Founded in 2002, Bank 2 is 100 percent owned by the Chickasaw Nation and the number one source of Native American home loans in the state of Oklahoma. The bank has grown from $7.5 million in assets to more than $100 million.

Minority-Owned Firms:

Minority Construction Firm of the Year is being presented to Hal Hays Construction, Inc. (HCCI). HHCI, a Native American-owned firm, is an award-winning design build construction firm specializing in both vertical and horizontal projects for the federal government, energy, public utilities, Fortune 500, wireless, security, water, telecom, healthcare, transportation, aviation, wastewater, and aerospace industries.

Minority Export Firm of the Year is being presented to Royal Shipping Lines. Founded in 2005, Royal Shipping Lines provides freight-forwarding services for customers to transport vehicles and heavy equipment abroad.  Royal Shipping Lines has grown into a mid-size operation servicing customer needs from custom documentation to exportation of vehicles, trucks, heavy equipment, and containers in partnerships with companies in Central America, South America, and the Caribbean.

Minority Manufacturing Firm of the Year is being presented to Summit Container Corporation. Founded in 1984, Summit Container Corporation is an award-winning packaging design, manufacturing and contract packaging firm. Summit designs and manufactures custom protective packaging for industrial products/parts, medical devices, cable system equipment and electronic products. Summit provides its customers with packaging solutions that enhance and maintain their brands. They offer assembly, fulfillment, warehousing, inventory and service, and delivery.

Minority Energy Firm of the Year is being presented to Next Gen Fuels. Next Gen Fuels supplies all major grades of unleaded gasoline, high and low sulfur diesel fuels, biodiesel, ethanol, and fuel additives. The company offers many major brand names through its distribution network. Technology, along with single source solutions, helps Next Gen’s petroleum partners expand market share, improve efficiencies, and strengthen internal controls.

Minority Technology Firm of the Year is being presented to Technology Integration Group (TIG), which specializes in IT hardware, software procurement and fulfillment, professional services including data center, network infrastructure, virtualization, cloud computing, security and wireless, unified communications, as well as managed services. TIG provides IT Infrastructure services and committed support that enables customers to focus on their core business and improve service levels and lower the cost of IT operations.

Minority Health Products and Services Firm of the Year is being presented to Trinity Sterile, Inc., based in Salisbury, Md. Trinity Sterile, Inc., is one of the fastest-growing certified minority business enterprises serving the healthcare industry. It assembles and sells medical kits, procedure trays, and a wide range of disposable or reusable medical supplies.

Minority Marketing and Communications Firm of the Year is being presented to KNOCK, Inc. KNOCK, Inc., is a Minneapolis-based creative agency driven by strategy, culture and design, founded by Lili Hall in 2001. Specializing in creating impactful brand stories and retail experiences, KNOCK, Inc., is recognized for driving sales and customer loyalty. Its collaborative business model brings a diversity of design disciplines to client partners. The full-service creative agency has been recognized by the Inc. Magazine’s 5000 list of fastest-growing private companies in America for five consecutive years.(2010–2015)

Minority Professional Services Firm of the Year is being presented to Alliance of Professionals & Consultants, Inc., an award-winning ISO 9001:2008 certified business that has been in operation since 1993. Its focus is finding and placing top IT, engineering, energy, and other highly skilled talent. APC offers a full suite of contract labor-related business solutions for mid- to large-sized companies. Headquartered in Raleigh, N.C., the Native American-owned company has satellite offices throughout the United States with professionals currently engaged on assignments in 38 states and six countries abroad.

Minority Professional Services Firm of the Year is being presented to Perez, APC. Headquartered in New Orleans since 1940, Perez, APC, is one of the leading small business architecture and engineering firms in the United States. During the past 15 years, the 100 percent minority and woman-owned firm has grown into a national company with international reach. Currently with 12 office locations in the United States and abroad, its multi-disciplinary team offers design, construction, and real estate development services. Its diverse portfolio of project experience spans every building type and project delivery method.

MBDA Minority Business Enterprise of the Year is being presented to Cole Chemical & Distributing, Inc.  The firm provides chemical management services and is an independent petrochemical distributor. Its headquarters and main warehousing facilities are in Houston. The company also leases warehouses across the United States and annual sales have averaged $70 million during the last 10 years.

The MED Week winners will be recognized during the 2016 National Minority Supplier Development Council, Inc., Conference and Business Opportunity Exchange, October 23-26, in Chicago.  The awards ceremony is sponsored by The Raytheon Company. Visit to view the complete list of  this year’s award winners.

Since 1983, a Presidential Proclamation has been issued designating National Minority Enterprise Development Week as an opportunity to recognize the contributions of the minority business community to the economy.  For more than 30 years, MBDA has observed National MED Week by convening business leaders, honoring outstanding Minority Business Enterprises and advocates, promoting business opportunities, and reporting industry trends.

MBDA,, is the only Federal agency solely dedicated to the growth and global competitiveness of U.S. minority-owned businesses. Our programs and services better equip minority-owned firms to create jobs, build scale and capacity, increase revenues and expand regionally, nationally and internationally. Services are provided through a network of MBDA Business Centers. After 47 years of service, MBDA continues to be a dedicated strategic partner to all U.S. minority-owned businesses, committed to providing programs and services that provide greater access to capital, contracts and markets.  Follow us on Twitter @usmbda

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