Robert J. Brown Minority Business Enterprise of the Year
Renard U. Johnson
CEO & Founder
Minority Business Enterprise of the Year is presented to Management and Engineering Technologies International (METI). Founded in 1994, METI provides information technology and engineering support services globally to the federal sector and private industry. METI’s 25-year timeline of success has been their strategic approach to government contracting. From obtaining small business certifications to securing various contract vehicles and top-level security clearances, METI has maintained a steady pace of growth and systematically expanded their capacity through acquisition and building an expert team in government contracting and international business. Today, METI has a presence in more than 20 states, an international presence that spans more than 80 countries, and 225 employees.
Ronald H. Brown Leadership Award
President and CEO of Burgess Services LLC
Ronald H. Brown Leadership Award is presented to Denise Burgess, President and CEO of Burgess Services LLC, a Denver-based construction management firm. The daughter of an entrepreneur, Denise Burgess became interested in business at an early age as she watched her father thrive in the highly competitive construction industry. In 2002 she transitioned her father’s heating and air condition business into a nationwide firm, specializing in construction management. Her career continued to skyrocket and has included appointments to leadership roles throughout the community, of notable mention: named the first female chair of the Denver Urban Renewal Authority spearheading the revitalizing of the only historical preservation district in Denver; served as the first African American Chair of the Board of the Denver Metro Chamber; and was appointed to the Construction Empowerment Initiative advisory board where under her leadership certified firms expanded from 500 to over 1,500.
Minority Construction Firm of the Year
Marvin T. Nez
Minority Construction Firm of the Year is presented to NEZ/FCI Native American, LLC. Founded in 2015, the company was formed as partnership between Marvin Nez and FCI Constructors, both entities have a true passion to serve Native American Indian country. NEZ/FCI started with a small $1.3M higher education renovation project and grew exponentially over four (4) years to become a prime contractor for various renovations ranging from $8M to $40M. The work they do creates project work and permanent jobs for local tribal and community members. At its height, NEZ/FCI has employed approximately 1,200 workers, nearly one-third were of Native American heritage.
Minority Professional Services Firm of the Year
President and CEO
Minority Professional Services Firm of the Year is presented to MPACT Strategic Consulting an emergency management and disaster recovery firm that assists public and private sector in emergency management and disaster recovery. Their team of experts assist communities across the nation prepare, train, and recover from some of the largest national disasters with a proven track record of rebuilding more resilient communities. Founded in 2007, MPACT has emerged as one of the fastest-growing emergency management and disaster recovery firms in the nation with a 390% growth from 2014-2017.
Minority Innovative Technology Firm of the Year
President and Founder
Minority Innovative Technology Firm of the Year is presented to V-Soft Consulting a technology services company providing IT staffing and leveraging advanced technology platforms. Established in 1997, V-Soft has expanded their operations over the years by strategic acquisitions and the launch of the V-Soft Labs division that offers the latest in advanced tech business solutions such as Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain, Internet of Things, Machine Learning, and more. In 2019, V-Soft Labs launched VERA, an Artificial Intelligence-powered conversation agent that can be utilized in nearly any department of a business including boardroom, HR, distribution, customer service, and sales. The company has eight locations across North America, with more than 1,500 global employees.
Access to Capital Award
President, Chief Executive Officer, and Principal Founder
Access to Capital Award is presented to DreamSpring, a community development organization that provides financing and support to under-represented and under-capitalized entrepreneurs in Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and Texas. Since launching in Albuquerque in 1994, DreamSpring has become one of the highest performing nonprofit microfinance organizations in the United States. They offer character-based loans to underserved populations at fair market rates to help bridge the “credit gap” that can prevent hardworking and visionary entrepreneurs from reaching their full potential and creating jobs in their communities. Since its founding, DreamSpring has issued more than 14,000 loans totaling over $142 million to more than 9,000 small businesses within their five-state footprint.
Advocate of the Year Award
President and Chief Executive Officer
The Advocate of the Year Award is presented to Cindy Ramos-Davidson, President and Chief Executive Officer of the El Paso Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Ramos-Davidson’s passion for entrepreneurship and business development in the southwest border region has defined her career as steadfast advocate for minority, veteran, and women-owned businesses. She began her career with the chamber of commerce 42 years ago, serving more than 20 years in a leadership role in El Paso. Under her leadership, the El Paso Hispanic Chamber has served more than 67,000 clients, successfully matched businesses to more than $1.5B in contracting opportunities, worked to start more than 30,000 firms and helped more than 34,000 existing companies stay in business.
Distinguished Supplier Diversity Award
Senior Manager, Supplier Diversity
Distinguished Supplier Diversity Award is presented to Jackie LaJoie of Ingersoll Rand a leading industrial manufacturer. Jackie LaJoie joined Ingersoll Rand in 2012 and launched their supplier diversity program. Under LaJoie’s leadership, the company’s spend with minority-owned businesses has increased 228%. In the program’s first full year of operation, Ingersoll Rand spent $54.7M with minority-owned businesses. Their spend steadily increased over the next six years and in 2018 Ingersoll Rand spent more than $108M with minority firms. Jackie LaJoie’s career in the supplier diversity field has spanned 28 years and she has received numerous national recognitions for her leadership and service to the growth and development of minority-owned businesses.