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Rizzo to receive Abe Venable Lifetime Achievement Award at MED Week 2010


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WASHINGTON (August 16, 2010) - The Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) today announced it will honor Richard Rizzo, vice chairman of the Perini Building Company, with the Abe Venable Award for Lifetime Achievement at an awards gala Friday, August 27, 2010, at 7:00 p.m. at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C. during the annual Minority Enterprise Development (MED) Week Conference. U.S. Deputy Secretary of Commerce Dennis Hightower and MBDA National Director David A. Hinson will participate in the awards presentation.

“Dick Rizzo’s leadership is the guiding force behind the success of Perini’s diversity initiatives,” Hinson said.  “It is his vision and commitment behind Perini’s choice to include minority-owned firms in their global supply chain, and we are proud to honor him for his lifetime dedication to the success of the minority construction industry.”

The Abe Venable Award for Lifetime Achievement is given to an individual who has played an integral role in the creative, technical or professional progress of the minority business community over the course of his or her life.  It is named in honor of Abraham S. Venable, who joined the Department of Commerce in 1963 and later was appointed by President Richard Nixon to serve as MBDA’s first African American director (1970-1971).

Rizzo has played a significant role in leveling the playing field for minority-owned firms in the construction industry.  Under his guidance, the Perini Building Company has emerged as a leader in diversity initiatives within the industry over the last six years.  Most recently, through national outreach events and a successful mentor-protégé program, minority-owned firms secured 45 percent of all contracts on a $9.2 billion dollar project in Las Vegas overseen by Perini. 

Taking this commitment to an entirely new level, Perini will provide approximately $1 billion in international construction opportunities to minority-owned general contractors, subcontractors and construction industry vendors as part of a new public-private partnership with MBDA announced earlier this month.  MBDA’s Global Construction Program is a partnership with MBDA, Commerce’s International Trade Administration, the Tutor-Perini Corporation, Ralph G. Moore & Associates, Next Level Diversity Consulting and the University of Southern California.

Rizzo received a B.S. in Business Administration and a B.S. in Civil Engineering from Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Penn.  He is also a graduate of the Stanford University Executive Management Program.

WHO:              Dennis Hightower, U.S. Deputy Secretary of Commerce

                        David A. Hinson, National Director, MBDA

                        Litefoot, Native American entertainer, role model and entrepreneur

WHAT:            Gala to honor National Minority Business Award winners

WHERE:          Omni Shoreham Hotel

2500 Calvert StreetNorthwest
Washington, DC 20008
(202) 234-0700

WHEN:            Friday, August 27, 2010

                        7:00 – 10:00 p.m.

MEDIA COVERAGE: MED Week and this awards gala are open to the press.  Interviews with award winners can be scheduled by contacting Lahne Mattas-Curry at 202.482.4690 or lmattascurry@mbda.gov.

About the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA)

MBDA (mbda.gov), U.S. Department of Commerce, serves minority entrepreneurs across America who are building and growing enterprises.  MBDA helps minority-owned firms become better equipped to create jobs, impact local economies and compete successfully in domestic and global marketplaces.  With a nationwide network of more than 40 business centers and strategic partners, MBDA assists minority entrepreneurs and business owners with consulting services, contract and financing opportunities, bonding and certification services, building business-to-business alliances and executive training.

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