The Minority Business Development Agency Honors the 2022 MED Week Award Winners

Washington, DC, Sept. 18, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The U.S. Department of Commerce, Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) proudly announces recipients of the 2022 Minority Enterprise Development Week (MED Week) Awards. The MED Week Awards are the highest level of national recognition that a U.S. minority-owned firm can receive from the Department of Commerce. These prestigious awards celebrate the outstanding achievements of minority entrepreneurs, as well as the individuals and organizations that have demonstrated their commitment to advancing minority business enterprises.

The 2022 National Minority Business Award recipients are:


Robert J. Brown Minority Business Enterprise of the Year is presented to H.J. Russell & Company.  H.J. Russell & Company was established in 1952 as a general contracting company. Headquartered in Atlanta, GA, H.J. Russell has since grown into one of the largest Black-owned construction services firms in the United States and has expanded to include other service areas such as program management, real estate development, and property management.

Minority Construction Firm of the Year is presented to Onyx Enterprises, Inc., a Certified Woman and Minority Owned and Small Business headquartered in Detroit, Michigan and provides engineering consulting, project management and construction management services to local, state, federal government, engineering consulting firms and contractors. The President and CEO is Tarolyn Buckles. Onyx Enterprises has over 34 years of experience in project management and construction management services.

Minority Export Firm of the Year is presented to Tecma. The organization was founded over three decades ago by current company president and CEO, K. Allan Russell, along with three mentoring business partners. Tecma designed a business model, the Mexico Shelter Manufacturing Partnership (MSMP), that has helped their clients streamline business operations in Mexico.  The company’s MSMP now covers sites throughout Mexico with more than 70 operating facilities including Torreon, Rosarita, and Silao.

Minority Technology Firm of the Year is presented to LilliiRNB. Lillii RNB, Inc is an enterprise solutions company that specializes in enterprise Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions, with a focus on retail technology for point-of-sale systems and returns/refund management. Barbara Jones, founder and CEO, specializes in point-of-sale systems, ACI and EMV hardware upgrades, and omni-channel and e-commerce technologies.

Minority Manufacturing Firm of the Year is presented to Piping Technology & Products, Inc. Piping Technology & Products Inc is now known as a one-stop-shop for pipe supports, expansion joints, shock control devices, and more. Piping Technology & Products and its wholly-owned subsidiaries specialize in a wide range of manufacturing techniques that include metal forming, bellows forming, machining, and welding.

Minority Marketing & Communications Firm of the Year is presented to The Carter Malone Group. The Carter Malone Group was founded in 2003 by the President and CEO Deidre Carter Malone and is one of the Mid-South area’s largest minority and woman-owned public relations agencies. CMG opened its doors with one client and has grown to a current roster of over 30 active client accounts including some of the country’s largest organizations.

Minority e-Commerce Firm of the Year is presented to Curacubby. Curacubby is a complete online school management system that handles enrollment, billing and payment processing, account management, reporting, and revenue growth – without the complexity found in other solutions. After founder Steven Khuong’s son was diagnosed with Autism, a group of passionate parents and educators started a preschool program that offered a whole-child approach to educating children with special needs. Curracubby aims to bridge the gap between quality education and mobile commerce.

Minority Veteran-owned Firm of the Year is presented to GC Green Construction Company. A “Veteran-Powered” certified woman, Native American, and Service-Disabled Veteran Owned Company, GC Green consulting services are focused on engagements for water/blue-tech, energy efficiency, renewable energy, and resiliency solutions. GCG is working towards combating climate change and climate resiliency.


Access to Capital Award is presented to Tom Espinoza of Raza Development Fund and Erica Y. Miles of Wells Fargo. Erica Miles is a dedicated diversity and inclusion (D&I) director with track record of advancing D&I goals at large financial institutions through development of data-driven strategies and policy recommendations. She has served as the Director of Diversity and Inclusion for the U.S. House Committee on Financial Services, leading work for the Congress’ first ever Subcommittee on Diversity and Inclusion. Throughout her time on Capitol Hill, Erica helped draft and enact legislation to provide increased access to capital, markets, and technical assistance for minority business enterprises, among other initiatives. Ms. Miles currently serves as a Senior Consultant, SVP for Wells Fargo Bank, building national relationships with diverse businesses and communities and advising on the bank’s company-wide diversity, equity and inclusion.

Tom Espinoza is the President, CEO, and co-founder of Raza Development Fund (RDF), the largest U.S. Latino Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) for the past twenty years with half a billion dollars in total assets under management. Under Mr. Espinoza’s leadership, RDF has provided capital to Latino-serving organizations nationwide and organizations have received technical assistance and loans which have leveraged over $5 billion in private capital for education, affordable housing, and healthcare projects serving low-income families and individuals.

Distinguished Supplier Diversity Award is presented to Ralph Sagaille of The Walt Disney Company. Through inclusive sourcing practices, The Walt Disney Company’s supplier diversity team builds relationships with an ever-growing array of diverse suppliers, as well as certifying agencies and business organizations. In 2021, Disney spent approximately $450 million with certified diverse-owned vendors. Building on their commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, Disney has committed to increasing their diverse supplier spend to at least $1 billion annually by 2024. Ralph Sagaile serves as the the Supplier Diversity and Sustainability Director.


The Ronald H. Brown Leadership Award, inspired by the late U.S. Secretary of Commerce, recognizes an individual who has shown exceptional leadership and achieved significant success in supporting diversity in the public or private sector. This year’s awards recipient is John F. Robinson, of the National Minority Business Council, Inc. John F. Robinson is one of the twelve founding members of The National Minority Business Council, Inc. (NMBC). For 50 years, under his leadership, NMBC has enhanced the success and profitability of the small business community through the provision of high-quality services, programs, advocacy, and networking support.

The Advocate of the Year Award is presented to Jason Trimiew of Meta Platforms, Inc. For two decades, Jason has worked at the intersection of the marketplace and social impact in international microfinance, community and economic development, and venture philanthropy. In 2016, Jason joined Meta (formerly Facebook) to launch and lead the company’s supplier diversity program and create more opportunity for diverse-owned firms to do business with Meta and the people and communities that Meta connects.

The Abe Venable Legacy Award for Lifetime Achievement is granted to an individual who has played an integral role in the creative, technical, or professional progress of minority business development over the course of his/her life. This year’s recipient is Robert F. Smith, Founder, Chairman and CEO of Vista Equity Partners. As the Founder, Chairman and CEO of Vista Equity Partners, he directs the firm's investment strategy, governance, and investor relations. Smith has been recognized for his business achievements and philanthropic efforts, including being named one of Forbes’ 100 Greatest Living Business Minds and a recipient of the Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy. He is an advocate for what he calls the "2% Solution," calling on companies to invest 2% of their net profits over the next decade to create equity and mobility for America's underserved communities. Smith is also one of the founding leaders of the Southern Communities Initiative, a catalytic program for racial equity across six southern communities that represent approximately 50% of the Black population in the U.S. to create entire ecosystems that lift up communities through targeted investment.


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