Minority business leaders to watch

A handful of Arizona’s rising minority-owned businesses were recognized for their achievements in shaping Arizona’s economy at the 2018 Business Diversity Summit awards ceremony in Phoenix. Another 33 companies were inducted into the Arizona Million Dollar Circle of Excellence at the event.

Hosted by the Phoenix Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) Center and the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the annual celebration honors high-achieving minority-owned businesses and companies that do business with minority suppliers. Here are the winners:

Minority Construction Firm of the Year

ASTA Roofing & Construction, LLC, is a Navajo-owned roofing and general contracting firm that was recognized for outstanding success in private and public construction projects and for proving sustained revenue and job growth. When owner Tim Young started the company, he quickly learned that gaining the trust of general contractors, including the Navajo Nation, was an issue. But quality of the workmanship led a trail to more jobs. Today, ASTA does everything from small residential and commercial repairs to multi-million-dollar projects including work on military bases and border projects. Recently, ASTA was one of six roofers awarded a $19 million Naval NAVFAC project.

Minority Innovative Technology Firm of the Year

Native Technology Solutions (NTS), s subsidiary of Gila River Telecommunications, Inc., won the award for achieving outstanding success in promoting the use of technology in new and innovative ways, leading to greater efficiency and higher production. The licensed low-voltage contractor provides structured cabling, telephone systems, computer network wiring, and other information technology needs. Prior to 1988, only 10 percent of the Gila River Indian Community ha telephone service. Today, telephone service has jumped to 80 percent. Residential customers now enjoy DSI services, and Gila River is upgrading the community with fiber-to-home services.

Minority Professional Services Firm of the Year

Banda Group International, LLC, was honored for achieving outstanding success in professional, scientific and technical services. It provides environmental safety and health professional services, construction services and technical staffing for government and private sector clients across the world. The company has grown revenues 30 percent year over year for the past two years and created more than 40 new jobs. President Zeferino Banda is devoted to hiring a diverse, bilingual workforce and supporting local charities like the ICAN after-school program.

Phoenix MBDA Minority Business Enterprise of the Year

White River Construction, Inc., was selected for exceeding industry standards and high business success leading to significant grown and job creation while showing social responsibility and community involvement. One of the fastest growing general contractors in the Southwest, White River provides construction management and design build services for state, federal and tribal public sectors. It receives resources and bonding capacity from the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe/Weeminuche and contributes substantially to communities it serves.

Minority Veteran Owned Firm of the Year

DAP Construction Management, LLC, was awarded for success in the construction industry that has led to a significant increase in job growth and customer satisfaction. Owner Alicia Hernandez started out as a small residential renovation and swimming pool service. Today, DAP is a fast-growing general contractor and construction management firm with over $3.5 million in revenues, with an emphasis on government and commercial contracts. The company targets qualified minorities, women and veterans as employees. Hernandez served in the U.S. Army as an officer and earned her airborne wings and the Bronze Star for service during the Persian Gulf War.

Another 33 companies were inducted into the Arizona Million Dollar Circle of Excellence that recognizes companies and organizations that do at least $1 million of business with minority-owned suppliers. Inductees included: AECOM, the Arizona Diamondbacks, Arizona Department of Transportation, Arizona Public Service, Bank of America, Cox Communications, Connect 202 Partners, CVS, Freeport McMoRan, Gannett, J Banicki Construction, Hensel Phelps Construction, Honeywell International, Pacificspan Construction, Ryan Companies, Salt River Project, Walmart, and many more.

The event was held in conjunction with the HeroPreneur National Veteran Business Summit by the HeroZona Foundation, a non-profit organization that offers underserved students and veterans with entrepreneurship, employment, and educational opportunities. The three-day event featured networking, entrepreneurship and education for veterans in Arizona.

Victoria Harker

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