2013 Award Winners

Ronald H. Brown Leadership Award

Marie C. Johns, Founder L&L Consulting, LLC

Ms. Marie C. Johns, the founder and President of L&L Consulting LLC, has been a leader in business, community and government service for more than 30 years.  From 2010 through June 2013, Ms. Johns was the Deputy Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).  In 2011, as a result of her initiatives, the SBA supported more than $30 billion in lending to more than 60,000 small businesses, the most capital going to small business in SBA history. 

Marie also had the privilege of serving as the chair of the President’s Interagency Task Force on Veterans’ Small Business Development.  She also was the force behind “Start Young,” an SBA/Department of Labor initiative that provides entrepreneurial training to Job Corps students and encourages them to use their technical skills to start a business.

Prior to government service, Ms. Johns held senior positions in the telecommunications industry, including serving as President of Verizon Washington.  Marie earned her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Indiana University’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs, and later served as a board member for the Indiana University Tobias Center for Leadership Excellence. 

Advocate of the Year

Linda B. Oliver, Deputy Director, Plans and Policies, Office of Small Business Programs, Department of Defense

Ms. Linda B. Oliver is the Deputy Director at the Department of Defense Office of Small Business Programs. She is responsible for establishing and enforcing Department of Defense policies that encourage the Department to provide opportunities for small businesses to compete for Defense contracts. She has served as the acting director from December 2006 until May 2007, and then a second time from January 2009 until March 2011.

Ms. Oliver previously served in the Office of Management and Budget where she was the Associate Administrator for Procurement Law, Legislation and Innovation in the Office of Federal Procurement Policy, advising on procurement policy for the Federal government. She has been a member of the Senior Executive Service since 1998.

Her honors include Presidential Rank Award of Meritorious Executive and the U.S. Department of the Navy Superior Civil Service Medal. She holds a JD from the University of' San Diego School of Law and an AB from the Connecticut College for Women.

Access to Capital Award

Juan Carlos Diaz, First Vice President of Commercial Lending, United Bank of El Paso Del Norte

Juan Carlos Diaz was born in Mexico where he obtained a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration specialized in Accounting from the Ibero-American University. Mr. Diaz worked as a CPA in Mexico City, and later on in Ciudad Juarez. Soon afterwards, he started working for Bancomer, the largest financial institution in Mexico.

He was chosen to finance the rapid growth in the maquiladora industry in Juarez, both a challenge and an edifying experience. Years passed, and he started working for Serfin, a Spanish financial institution with great presence around the world.

In 1996, Mr. Diaz moved to El Paso, Texas to start working for Bank of the West, where he developed the International Lending division. His last move was to United Bank, small lending division. Mr. Diaz currently manages a credit/loan portfolio of $26,000,000 and about 80% of his clients are minority-owned businesses.

Distinguished Supplier Diversity Award

Lockheed Martin Corporation

Nancy Deskins, Director, Category Management and Supplier Diversity

Nancy Deskins, Director, Category Management and Supplier Diversity, Lockheed Martin Corporation, will receive the Distinguished Supplier Diversity Award on behalf of Lockheed Martin Corporation.

Headquartered in Bethesda, MD, Lockheed Martin is a global security company that is principally engaged in the research, design, development, manufacture, integration and sustainment of advanced technology systems, products and services. As a global security and information technology company, the majority of Lockheed Martin's business is with the U.S. Department of Defense and the U.S. federal government agencies.

Lockheed Martin is proud of their relationship with all of their Native American-owned< business partners and have partnered with Native American firms for decades in the fields of engineering, construction, IT, and other needed areas. Lockheed Martin has served on the National Center for American Enterprise Development (NCAIED) Board of Advisors for over 20 years and is committed to working with the NCAIED to help provide opportunities to the Native American business community through partnering efforts.

The Procter & Gamble Company

Rick Hughes, Chief Procurement Officer

Rick Hughes, Chief Procurement Officer, Procter & Gamble (P&G), will receive the Distinguished Supplier Diversity Award on behalf of Procter & Gamble. Founded in 1837, P&G serves approximately 4.8 billion people around the world with its brands.

The company is headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio and fiscal year 2013 revenues were $84.2 billion. P&G is a charter member of the Billion Dollar Roundtable and is an active member of the National Minority Supplier Development Council and the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

P&G is also a Board member of the South Central Ohio Minority Supplier Development Council and is an active member of Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber’s Minority Business Accelerator.

Media Award

Entravision Communications – Univision 26 El Paso

For the past 26 years, David Candelaria, Vice President and General Manager of Entravision Communications of El Paso, has gone above and beyond to promote the resources available to small businesses in his community through its two television stations and five radio stations.

Under the direction of Candelaria, in 1984, the company began with a small television station and a dream. Upon their establishment, KINT 26 became the first Spanish broadcast company to serve the borderland and a community of predominantly Spanish speaking Latinos.

Today known as Entravision Communications of El Paso, the company is the number one rating television station (KINT-26) and among the top rated radio stations in that community.

Minority Construction Firm of the Year

Cherokee CRC, LLC

Cherokee CRC, LLC (CCRC) is an award winning environmental, construction, and professional services company based in Tulsa, Oklahoma. In 2005, the business started off as an environmental company and has grown through a strategic approach of identifying needs and opportunities, and then systematically acquiring resources to meet these needs.

In addition to environmental services, CRC now provides professional and construction management services for military installations, cities, universities, and many other government offices. Ms. Cheryl Cohenour began her career in the environmental field as a research assistant for an oil field equipment company working on enhanced oil recovery projects. As a working chemist and laboratory director at a large engineering firm, Cheryl was responsible for environmental sampling as well as expanding the laboratory’s environmental analysis capability.

In 1988 she started CRC & Associates with an initial focus on hazardous materials management and disposal. CRC & Associates grew over the next 17 years to include Environmental, Construction, and Professional Services. In 2005, she started a joint venture with the Cherokee Nation called Cherokee CRC, LLC and in 2007 the two companies merged.

Metcon, Inc.

Metcon, a Native American-owned business was founded in 1999 in Pembroke, North Carolina. Metcon which stands for (Metal and Construction) was conceived as a General Contractor specializing in panelized metal studs and truss. In their infancy Metcon worked primarily on housing and related panelized projects throughout North Carolina. The company quickly grew and transitioned into a full service commercial General Contracting operation still incorporating metal framed systems whenever possible. The University of North Carolina system’s (UNC) higher education bonds of the 2000's were a catalyst to Metcon's growth as Metcon was the primary contractor for the UNC-Pembroke campus.

Aaron Thomas, President and CEO of Metcon, founded the company at the age of 24. Mr. Thomas holds a B.S. from the University of North Carolina at Pembroke and a Master of Construction Management degree from East Caronna University. Additionally he is a LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) - Accredited Professional by the US Green Building Council and holds an Unlimited Unclassified General Contracting License. In February 2010 Mr. Thomas was named 40 under 40 by Building Design and Construction Magazine, a national publication. Mr. Thomas is a proud member of the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina.

Minority Export Firm of the Year

Instant Data Technologies (Indatatech)

Indatatech is a Supply Chain Management and Consulting Company specializing in procurement services, logistics, technical services, and human resources services. The company was founded in 2000 by Bede Ramcharan, a retired Army Officer, and Mack Bennett, a long time entrepreneur. Indatatech has served clients all across the United States, and in 11 countries. Headquartered in San Antonio, Texas, Indatatech has a corporate office in Houston and currently has active operations in 8 sites within the United States.

Indatatech has performed work for clients in Europe and Asia. In 2010, Bede Ramcharan was invited to participate in the National Minority Supplier Development Conference Trade Mission to China. During a two week period, Bede visited with Chinese Ethnic Minority companies to mentor and develop them in entering the marketplace.

In addition, Indatatech currently has relationships with manufacturing facilities in Taiwan to supply direct materials for some of their Fortune 500 clients. Indatatech currently supports logistics resupply flights to the International Space Station and coordinates shipments and packaging of materials with the Russian Space Agency.

Minority Manufacturer Firm of the Year

Bridgewater Interiors, LLC

Established in 1998, Bridgewater Interiors, LLC is a joint venture between Detroit-based Epsilon Technologies, LLC and Johnson Controls, Inc., a leading automotive seating, interiors, and electronics supplier. The company provides the highest quality manufacturing and assembly of complete automotive seating systems, overhead systems, and center consoles, while also satisfying supplier diversity goals. Bridgewater Interiors averages annual revenues of more than $1.2 billion, and employs over 1,500 employees, of which 924 are minority employees. Bridgewater Interiors operates out of four locations in the United States, serving General Motors, Ford, Chrysler and Honda.

Ron Hall, Sr. serves as President and Chief Executive Officer of Bridgewater Interiors. In addition, Mr. Hall is the President and CEO of Renaissance Capital Alliance, an equipment leasing company, Chairman and CEO of New Center Stamping, an automotive service parts stamping facility, and CEO of Departure Travel Management. Mr. Hall is best known for turning the Michigan Minority Supplier Development Council into one of the premier minority business organizations in the country.

Mr. Hall earned a Master of Business Administration degree from Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan, and a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics from Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

Reliance Wire & Cable, LLC

Reliance Wire & Cable is a one-stop sourcing solution. Since 2000, the company has been recognized as one of the leading manufacturers of tubing and cables for the automotive, appliance and electronics industries. Their products can be found in almost all Toyota and Chrysler vehicles as well as Ford, GM, Honda, Nissan and many others. Although the main manufacturing facility is in Monterrey, Mexico, their network allows them the ability to manufacture products in over 200 locations around the world. Currently headquartered in Scottsdale, Arizona, their expansion plans include building an additional "Back to America" manufacturing facility in Phoenix, Arizona planned for the later part of 2014 where they will employ an additional 15 to 20 team members.

Lorena Valencia, President and CEO, Reliance Wire & Cable was named as one of Arizona's 2013 most Influential Hispanic Business Leaders and has been the recipient of several awards including the 2013 Latina Styles Latina Leaders award, the 2012 American Airlines Innovation award and the 2010 Positively Powerful Woman Entrepreneur of Arizona award. Ms. Valencia is also President of Magin Corp., a corrugated and plastic pallets company that is dedicated to providing ecofriendly alternatives to the use of traditional wooden pallets. She is also the founder and president of Fizz Technologies, an IT company that delivers collaborative, supply chain solutions.

Minority Retail Energy Firm of the Year

Liberty Power Corporation, LLC

Headquartered in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Liberty Power Corporation is the largest independent retail electric supplier in the United States based on 2012 KEMA rankings of electric retailers. The company is also the first certified, minority?owned supplier with a national footprint, and the largest Hispanic?owned energy company in the United States according to Hispanic Business. Liberty Power provides large and small businesses, government agencies and residential customers with low cost electricity and exceptional customer service.

Mr. David Hernandez co?founded Liberty Power Corporation in 2001 and serves as its Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer. Mr. Hernandez was awarded the 2007 and 2013 Businessman of the Year Award by the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. He was also named Entrepreneur of the Year in 2005 by Hispanic Business magazine, and was honored as the 2004 Entrepreneur of the Year by Hispanic magazine. Mr. Hernandez graduated Magna Cum Laude from Palm Beach Atlantic University in Palm Beach, Florida, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting. He holds an MBA from the New York University Leonard N. Stern School of Business.