Minority entrepreneurs honored during MED Week
Minority entrepreneurs and diversity practitioners came together in Portland last week for a series of educational workshops organized by the Building Diversity Institute as part of the 2018 Minority Enterprise Development Week.
Portland MED Week kicked off Sept. 25 with a series of talks by three small-business owners and a networking reception. Events continued on Sept. 26 with a half-day diversity summit and wrapped up with a luncheon, where local businesses, programs and individuals were honored.
Sterling-Pacific Commercial Roofing and Waterproofing received the Construction Firm of the Year award. Started in 2015 by Joe Calderon, the company specializes in major commercial projects, but also handles some residential work. Recent clients include the Port of Portland and Beaverton School District.
When Calderon isn't busy running his company, he serves as a board member for Constructing Hope, which helps people enter the building industry. Earlier this year he was selected to participate in the Small Business Administration's 2018 Emerging Leaders initiative as well as JE Dunn's Contractor Business Development Program.
In accepting his company's award, Calderon told the audience gathered at the Hilton Portland Downtown for the awards luncheon that the success of his company is due, in large part, to support from family, friends, colleagues, partners in the building industry and the local community. It was a theme that was echoed by other winners, including Natasha Holstein.
Holstein's company, Avisa Multicultural Marketing LLC, was the recipient of the Minority Business Firm of the Year award. The company focuses on helping clients reach Latino and multi-cultural markets.
Holstein, who was born in Cuba and raised in Jamaica, moved to Oregon in 1979 and opened her first business, a deli, two years later. In 1992, she started her own travel agency. Her marketing company's roots can be traced back to her entry into the local Spanish media field in 2000, when she started working with a Spanish newspaper and became editor of a Spanish magazine. She also served as vice president of marketing, promotions and public relations at a radio station.
"Only in America can a Cuban immigrant come and have this much success," she said as she accepted her company's award.
Andre Baugh, the owner of Group AGB, received the MED Week Leadership Award, in honor of his ability to find creative ways to create collaborative partnerships. Baugh started his diversity management consulting firm company, after spending six years as a project manager for the city of Portland. In addition to being involved in the Sellwood Bridge project, Baugh's firm is currently working on Multnomah County's new courthouse and health department headquarters projects.
Baugh is no stranger to the role of award recipient. In 2013, he was named winner of a Spirit of Portland Award. He also is involved in the National Association of Minority Contractors, the Oregon Association of Minority Contractors and Professional Business Development Group.
James Faison, the owner of Faison Construction, received the MED Week Legacy Award, which honors lifetime achievement.
Faison got his start in construction at the Port of Portland in the airport maintenance division work. He then established a business buying, remodeling and selling houses. He decided to open his current company and focus on concrete work when the Great Recession hit. The move turned out to be the right one. Faison Construction has gone on to work on some of the most notable projects in the Portland metro area, including the Broadway Bridge Streetcar, the Sellwood Bridge and the Iowa Street Viaduct. Faison also recently won an industry award for his role as one of three contracting companies that successfully managed and built the Cully Park project.
The Port of Portland also was singled out during the MED Week awards luncheon. The agency won the Champion Award for its mentor-protege program. The program connects emerging minority- and women-owned businesses with established companies, with the goal of building effective working relationships. The program's success in helping new diverse businesses tap the information and help they need to establish themselves and grow has spread beyond the Portland metro area. The program has been replicated around the country and program leaders in 1998 were invited to participate in a regional panel that supported Vice President Al Gore's Private Business Mentoring Initiative.