Sixteen winners receive 2014 Bridging the Gap Achievement Awards

Sixteen Baltimore-area companies have been named winners of the Greater Baltimore Committee’s 11th Annual Bridging the Gap Achievement Awards.

The awards were presented during December 8 ceremonies honoring minority-owned and woman-owned firms for business achievement and others for their efforts to strengthen minority business development. The event was held at the Grand Historic Venue.

The awards program is part of Bridging the Gap, a minority business development initiative of the Greater Baltimore Committee, the region’s most prominent organization of business and civic leaders.

“Tonight we pause from the rush of business to thank and recognize those companies, majority-owned, minority-owned and woman-owned, that have been nominated for their achievements in the business community,” said GBC President and CEO Donald C. Fry. “Minority-owned and women-owned businesses are an integral part of our national, state and local economies. Ultimately, their economic growth will be driven, not by government programs, but by the private sector.”

Calvin G. Butler Jr., CEO of BGE and the guest speaker, spoke about the importance of minority- and women-owned businesses, particularly in Greater Baltimore region.

“As we talk about the focus of Bridging the Gap, supporting minority- and women-owned businesses is something that I am passionate about,” Butler said. “I consider it critical to the economic vitality of our city and also a key area of focus for us at BGE.

“We are a majority-minority city,” Butler said. “Therefore, we cannot significantly improve our business climate if we do not invite everyone to the party.”

Categories and winners of the 2014 Bridging the Gap Awards are:

Minority-owned/woman-owned business for outstanding achievement

  • Devaney and Associates, Towson, Md. Since its founding in 1991, this woman-owned advertising and marketing firm, led by Diane Devaney, has had annual sales increases and consistently achieved measurable, award-winning results for its clients. Major customer growth since 2009 has nearly doubled.
  • Juxtopia LLC, Baltimore, Md. Dr. Jayfus Doswell, the founder of this 10-year-old biomedical and information technology firm, employs innovative, knowledge and technology approaches in his business, but also is dedicated to expanding the ranks of minorities in fields related to science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
  • Mahan Rykiel Associates, Baltimore, Md. This award-winning landscape architecture firm was founded in 1983 by Catherine Mahan in a two-room studio staffed by a small group of women. Today Mahan Rykiel has 45 employees and is now one of the largest of its industry sector in the region.
  • Richman Associates, LLC, Baltimore, Md. Launched by Dr. Elaine Richman 14 years ago, this bioscience communications firm now has clients coast-to-coast and worldwide, including the University of Maryland Medical System and Johns Hopkins University.
  • Sue Ann’s Office Supply, Baltimore, Md. Since founding Sue Ann’s Office Supply in 1986, Beverly Williams-Trimble has grown this firm into a premier and widely-known provider of office products ranging from printing supplies to office machines and furniture.
  • Urban Policy Development, Baltimore, Md. Douglass Austin founded this management consulting firm, which specializes in helping public school districts and education agencies. In eight years the firm has grown from a staff of four to 38 employees.
  • Verve Partnership, Baltimore, Md. In five years, the founder of this boutique interior architecture firm, Kelly Ennis, leveraged her design and management experience to grow her business into a successful firm with 11 employees and $1.2 million in revenues.

Majority-owned business or business leader demonstrating inclusive business practices

  • BGE, Baltimore, Md. BGE nurtures diversity and inclusion in every aspect of its business. Its numerous initiatives include strategic partnerships with local diversity-certified partners, including a “Focus 25” supplier development program launched in 2013 to grow the capacity of local minority-owned businesses by helping them successfully compete for BGE contracts. In 2013, BGE spent $151 million with diverse suppliers – representing a 132 percent increase over the previous five years.
  • Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, Baltimore, Md. Under the leadership of Dr. Richard Bennett, the Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center has emerged as a nationally-recognized leader in diversity and inclusion. Its Diversity Council has been honored as one of the nation’s Top Ten councils and its initiatives include generating summer employment opportunities for minority students pursuing careers in health care and life sciences and programs to support leadership development among the medical center’s women and under-represented minorities.

Successful partnerships and strategic alliances

  • Black Classic Press/BCP Digital Printing and Pearson, Baltimore, Md. For more than a decade, Pearson, a London-based worldwide learning company, has built a partnership with BCP Digital Printing, a Baltimore-based minority-owned print and document processing company. Pearson has worked closely with BCP Digital to identify opportunities to expand its business opportunities not just in Maryland, but in other states where Pearson is seeking new ventures.
  • SRB Communications and BGE, Baltimore, Md. For the past year, SRB Communications and BGE have engaged in a strategic communications partnership to develop creative approaches and messaging for BGE’s “Focus 25” initiative. The partnership has created valuable strategic outreach and public engagement services to increase access to supplier opportunities with BGE, address barriers related to becoming a certified MBE supplier and to recognize that diversity is an economic strength and opportunity.
  • Turner Construction Company, Cain Contracting Company and Essex Construction Company, Baltimore, Md. Turner Construction, Cain Contracting and Essex Construction are engaged in a partnership as a result of workforce initiatives set in place by East Baltimore Development, Inc. as part of the Maryland Public Health lab project in East Baltimore. The partnership far exceeded goals for new minority hires and for employing Baltimore City residents for the project.

President’s Award

  • University of Maryland Medical System, Baltimore, Md. The University of Maryland Medical System has embraced the Bridging the Gap initiative’s focus on increasing hospital procurement from minority-owned and women-owned suppliers. Today, more than 25 percent of UMMS construction spending and 21 percent of hospital supplies spending is awarded to diverse suppliers. In the past year the system’s commitment to diversity was illustrated by launching an annual statewide Diversity Fair hosted by the Maryland Hospital Association. More than 150 employees from 40 hospitals and more than 300 minority-owned and woman-owned suppliers participated.

Also honored as Bridging the Gap Award finalists were:

Minority-owned or woman-owned businesses: Absolute Staffers; Axiom Engineering Design; Dejuan Enterprises, LLC; Express Brokers Realty, Inc.; JLN Construction Services, LLC; Medical Home Development Group; Plexus Installations, Inc.; Sheila Lee and Associates, LLC; Urban Psychological Services; and Waddy Accounting.

Majority-owned business that show leadership in the area of inclusive practices: Turner Construction Company.

Partnerships and strategic alliances: Plexus Installations, Inc. and Veolia Energy Baltimore Heating, LLP.

Bridging the Gap award finalists and winners were selected from among nominations submitted by businesses, civic organizations, employees, customers, elected officials and government agencies.

To view photos from the event, click here.

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