One 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 year1. 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 million1, which is expected to reach $30 million in the next two years1. 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 projects1. 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.
“MBDA has functioned like a partner to my company, providing me with consulting services that led to joint ventures, capital financing, and contracting opportunities.” Clarence McAllister, Owner, Fortis Networks
McAllister is dedicated to the minority community, which inspired him to become a Historically Underutilized Business Zone (HUBZone) company so that he could create jobs in the areas they were needed most. Shortly after becoming certified, McAllister was having difficulty finding employees who met the HUBZone criteria. The Phoenix MBDA Business Center went to work calling upon strategic partners to help fill the positions. Consequently, working for Fortis is so beneficial that most HUBZone employees eventually move out of the area to better neighborhoods, forcing McAllister to recruit replacements. “It’s a bitter-sweet position to be in, but I don’t mind because the program is doing what we intended. The jobs we create are improving peoples’ lives,” said McAllister.
With offices in Arizona, California, Florida, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Utah, and most recently Washington, DC, Fortis Networks is poised for continued growth.
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