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Press Room November 2013
This August, as we marked the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, we were reminded that the measure of America's progress is not whether the doors of opportunity are cracked a little wider for a few, but whether our economic system provides a fair shot for the many. Minority-owned businesses play a crucial part in driving this progress -- not only when their founders pursue their fullest measure of success, but also when they offer employees of all backgrounds a chance to enter the ranks of the American middle class. During Minority Enterprise Development Week, we recognize the strength of our diverse workforce and the many ways minority entrepreneurs contribute to our economy, our society, and our Nation's fundamental promise.
Family, faith and education have been the beacons guiding Rick Lucio’s life. He was born in Brownsville, Texas, and is the youngest of 10 children. He said throughout his life he was blessed with tremendous examples from his parents and siblings of humility, never giving up on your dream and understanding right from wrong.
Lucio’s ability to heed advice has paid dividends. Today, the Texas A&M mechanical engineer graduate is the CEO and owner of Hallberg Engineering, Inc. in White Bear Lake, Minn. The electrical and mechanical engineering firm, licensed in 49 states, designs mechanical and electrical systems for all kinds of commercial buildings such as schools, office buildings, healthcare facilities, retail stores and restaurants.
“Early in my life, my inspiration came from my parents,” he said. “My parents definitely taught me right from wrong. Unlimited guidance also came from my older siblings who stressed that education was a necessity and one can be anything if educated. Today, my immediate family is my inspiration. My wife and I instill the same values we grew up with on our children.”
AS PREPARED FOR DELIVERY
Thursday, November 14, 2013
Remarks at the "Open for Business" Agenda
Thank you. It is such an honor to be with so many business leaders as we roll out our strategic vision and priorities for the Commerce Department.
And it is particularly great to be here at 1776, which grew out of the resident’s Startup America initiative. Here at 1776, revolutionary ideas are turned into products, business plans, and companies. We can all feel the excitement and energy here because of the vital guidance and support that organizations like 1776 provide to budding entrepreneurs. Can everyone give the 1776 community a round of applause?
1776 is the perfect name for a place where start-ups are launched. As America’s founding entrepreneur, Benjamin Franklin, once said: “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” That notion comes to life here in a place where insight, ideas, and sweat equity result in new businesses… and perhaps even new industries.
Many things have changed since 1776 – but our American entrepreneurial spirit has remained steadfast.
I, personally, have started several businesses. I have felt that energy and excitement – and yes at times the fear – that comes with a start-up.
Since I came on board at the Commerce Department, I have worked to foster that kind of environment where good ideas can rise to the top. Our 44,000 employees were already doing a great job, but we started pushing for ways to make our work even more meaningful, customer-focused, and outcomes-oriented.
On my first day, I hung a sign on the door to my office that says, “Open for Business.”
At the age of 21, Elliott Davis set out to launch a successful business...mission accomplished! Having learned the construction industry from his father, Mr. Davis founded DCD Construction in 1998 and within eight years of operation grew the business to $1 million in annual revenue. By 2012, DCD was landing contracts up to $3 million, respectable earnings by any standards, but nothing compared to what he would achieve after becoming a client of the Mobile MBDA Business Center.
Within one year of becoming a client, DCD Construction (under a joint venture with Yates Construction) secured a $41 million contract with the Army Corps of Engineers. What happened during that year? The Mobile MBDA Business Center provided business planning, procurement strategy, and marketing guidance from construction expert, Lloyd Hughes and project director, Pamela Ramos.
MBDA provided consulting services with the goal of positioning the firm for continued growth beyond its 8(a) eligibility, which ends in two years. With a strategy in place, partnerships with other firms became the tactical maneuver that would put DCD on the map and keep them there. Beginning with a mentor/protégé agreement with a major construction firm in the southeast; followed by expansion into the Mobile, AL market (from Ocean Springs, MS); and ending with a joint venture with Yates Construction and $51% of the deal, DCD Construction is well positioned for continued growth.