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Success Stories

  • Submitted on 26 September 2014

    Fortis Logo and Clarence and Reyna McAllisterOne of the most successful clients of the Phoenix MBDA Business Center is Fortis Networks, Inc., which was founded by Clarence McAllister and his wife, Reyna.  McAllister started the company in 2000 after working as an engineer for Alcatel Lucent and Verizon Wireless. Starting out in telecommunications infrastructure, the firm’s qualifications included the design and installation of fiber optics, smart meters, mass transit communication, and traffic and security control systems. When McAllister sought the services of the Phoenix MBDA Business Center in 2005, revenue totaled $5 million per year5. Three years later, his firm was 8(a) certified and able to expand by opening a construction division to include general construction, environmental controls, design build construction, and underground construction.

    Today, Fortis Networks has more than 120 employees with annual revenue over $23 million5, which is expected to reach $30 million in the next two years5. Part of Fortis’ projected growth is possible because the MBDA Business Center helped McAllister secure surety bonding for $20 million single and $60 million aggregate for projects5. Unable to find a financial institution to secure the amount Fortis required in Arizona, MBDA financial consultant David DeLeon sought proposals from larger institutions in California. McAllister received several proposals, which he and DeLeon evaluated to select the one that best met Fortis’ needs.

  • Submitted on 11 June 2014

    In 1997, minorities made up only 17 percent of all women-owned businesses in the U.S. Today, “women of color” own one-in-three of all women-owned businesses in America – that’s nearly a 100 percent increase! Minority women-owned businesses are also the only businesses besides publicly-traded companies which have seen a net-increase in employees over the last six years.

  • Submitted on 25 April 2014

    Our goal is to help organizations fill their human capital pipeline with highly qualified and motivated leaders at all levels of the organization. We provide strategic solutions to deliver an organization’s short- and long-term recruitment and staffing goals. –Ken Taunton, President & CEO, The Royster Group

  • Submitted on 19 February 2014

    Michael Pearson started Union Packaging at the encouragement of his father who migrated north from the south, after World War II. Pearson created Union Packaging with the primary goal of bringing jobs and greater opportunity to the greater Philadelphia region.

    Drawing on his experience as a previous Fortune 500 company director, Pearson identified a specific niche in the food packaging market—FDA control packaging. He was able to successfully create a unique path for Union Packaging in the quick service restaurant market by using the connections he made through his former position. Some of his customers include Burger King, Wendy’s and Whole Foods.

  • Submitted on 20 November 2013

    Rick Lucio
    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.”

  • Submitted on 04 November 2013

    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.

  • Submitted on 20 September 2013

    Ashford International is a Native American, woman-owned company that offers strategic sourcing solutions to state and federal agencies. Established in 2008, Ashford International initially only offered office products and medical equipment, but through joint ventures and teaming agreements, was able to add a multitude of products and services.

    This was a solid base from which the Indianapolis MBDA Business Center helped expand Ashford’s business ventures. The Center has been an invaluable source of consultation and strategic planning that has helped accelerate sales. It also helped the company obtain a contract worth $8 million that will ultimately retain a dozen jobs and produce another 400 new jobs.

  • Submitted on 19 September 2013

    Sharlene Ramos-Chesnes Sharlene Ramos-Chesnes has faced many challenges in her life. She is the youngest of six siblings and was born in the west-side of Cleveland, a place she said back then was known as “little Puerto Rico.” Her parents migrated to the U.S. in the early 1950’s from Yauco, Puerto Rico and was raised by her mother Elba, who became a single-mom when Ramos-Chesnes was two-years-old.

    In her home they spoke Spanish. In fact, her entire community spoke Spanish. She said she only ate Hispanic food; spoke Spanish at church and the stores she bought from were all Hispanic-owned. It wasn’t until she left for college that she actually ate something other than Hispanic food.

    Starting from humble beginnings did not deter Ramos-Chesnes and now, as CEO for all of the InterChez family of companies, she leads a large and fast growing organization that offers direct and integrated supply chain and logistics solutions both nationally and internationally.

  • Submitted on 26 July 2013

    Exporting is good for American business, good for American workers and good for creating American jobs. MBDA continues to support the growth of minority-owned firms by providing and identifying export assistance and opportunities and working with federal partners such as the International Trade Administration’s U.S. Export Assistance Centers, the Export- Import Bank, and others.

    In fiscal year 2014, MBDA client exports neared $710 million in contracts (a 1,635 percent increase over FY 2013) and $74 million in export financing. Client exports also supported the creation and retention of 1,087 jobs.

  • Submitted on 01 July 2013

    Rebuilding New Orleans

    “Working with MBDA has been a phenomenal experience. Their experts seem to really have the pulse of the city and the state. They know about both the local and the federal jobs that are out there. And they have helped us get some really big contracts and expand our business. Their services resulted in a $14 million revenue stream which otherwise would not have been available to G & M Associates.” Greg Rice, Principal and Owner

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