As the only Federal agency with the sole task of promoting the growth and global competitiveness of the minority business community, MBDA takes great pride in its mission. With 46 centers nationwide, MBDA has a direct impact on businesses throughout the country, with a particular focus on those that are poised to expand.
Over the past 40 years, MBDA has helped thousands of minority-owned businesses grow and has increased contracting and capital access opportunities for MBEs by more than fifteen percent from a year ago. MBDA also has helped to create nearly 6,000 new jobs while saving thousands of existing jobs.
MBDA Director David A. Hinson is challenging MBDA centers and clients to think outside of the norm in order to expand businesses and create new jobs. Hinson stated, “I deeply believe in these principals. Today, we have a window of opportunity to change the world. We can create an entire generation of $100 million and larger minority-owned businesses across industries.”
In keeping with that mission, MBDA centers are servicing clients offering access to capital, contracts and opportunities as well as aiding strategic partnerships to help businesses reach their full potential.
One such example is Terry L. Marion of Marion Trucking & Construction, based in Dunseith, North Dakota. The town is primarily a Native American community of about 900 people and located in north central North Dakota approximately 13 miles from both the Turtle Mountain Indian Reservation, where Marion is a member and only 13 miles from the Canadian border
Marion has been a client of the North Dakota/South Dakota Native American Business Enterprise Center since 2003. During this time, Marion’s company has grown significantly. According to Marion, the company started at about $100,000 per year in trucking and construction and progressed to about $12 million in gross earnings in 2010. He expects to maintain the same numbers in 2011.
The company’s services include underground utilities, as well as building roads. Marion has had general contracting jobs as large as $14 million. “We are currently working with Kraus-Anderson, a large firm on the Crow Creek Indian Reservation,” Marion said. “We are performing all of the road building and lagoon and dirt and water and sewer on this project, our part is about $4 million of a $35 million job.”
He credits MBDA and their center for much of his company’s growth and success.
“We have an exceptional relationship with the MBDA of North Dakota. Brek Maxon and Larry Stockert have been instrumental in our success and I thank them for their help and concern,” Marion said. “They have helped us with financial contracts, business plans and overall suggestions that are helpful in many areas.”
The company has on average 35-45 employees, with as many as 68 at one time. With contracts including the Elbowoods Clinic in Newtown N.D., Transit Facility and a 24-complex apartment project both in Belcourt placing the total amount of work with these three jobs at approximately $20 million, according to Marion.
His wife, daughter and son-in-law have joined him in running the company and Marion’s son plans to come on-board after becoming a civil engineer.
The company was formed in 1989 and originally called Marion Trucking. At the age of 32, he bought out his parents and renamed the company Marion Trucking & Construction. Since that time, he said he has worked to earn a company reputation for quality.
His hard work and business acumen earned him recognition from MBDA. He was the 2006 Regional Minority Construction Contractor of the Year. “I like to think we as a team won this award based on hard work and setting a good example for our communities, as well as interjecting money and reinvestment back into our communities through our employees.”
However, success doesn’t come without challenges. “The biggest challenge is getting a financial institution to back you,” Marion said. “Working with the big construction companies is definitely a challenge, as they are not usually interested in helping your company grow. In my experience, they want to see how much money they can capture through you as a small business. There are some that are an exception to this such as Kraus-Anderson and Comstock Construction.
“Bonding is also a big challenge as many sureties want established companies that are bigger and have better financial statements; most smaller companies simply are not as strong financially. Again, there are some that simply will not give you a chance and others that will. It’s all about getting someone to believe in you and your company.”
His belief in himself and personal drive comes from the motto that he lives by, “Never say Never and Never Give Up.”
His future business goals include maintaining growth and quality. “I would like to see our growth continue at a slow pace as we become financially able to offer a better quality of life for them and their families. If you can keep up the quality of your work and are still growing and expanding, then it’s a good thing to grow, but only if the quality remains the same.”
Marion also places a premium on strong family connections that sustains him and his company. “Family and faith are the key. Without them we are nothing. Looking back at where I started in life and how little we had, I say to myself that I need to work hard, be grateful for everything that God and the good ol’ United States of America has given me.”
Another example of an MBDA client is Group O, Inc., which has used the services of the Wisconsin Minority Business Opportunity Center over the course of a long relationship. The center has worked alongside Group O in many capacities and with numerous current and potential sources.
Headquartered in Milan, IL, with more than 1,300 employees and revenue surpassing $500 million, Group O is the ninth largest MBE/Hispanic-owned company in North America. It is also a member of the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC) Corporate Plus program.
Bob Ontiveros founded Group O as a packaging company in 1974. Under his leadership, the company has grown into a diversified business service provider with marketing, packaging and supply chain divisions operating nationwide.