Nashville Minority Business Center Celebrates Historic Minority Enterprises

Caryn Clopton, left, and Cherelle Cortez
THE NASHVILLE MINORITY BUSINESS CENTER WILL HONOR MINORITY BUSINESS OWNERS AT ITS 37TH MINORITY BUSINESS HONORS AND AWARDS RECEPTION ON FRIDAY, DECEMBER 13 AT THE NASHVILLE CITY CLUB AS PART OF THE NASHVILLE MINORITY ENTERPRISE DEVELOPMENT WEEK RECOGNITION. THE WEEKLONG CELEBRATION, OBSERVED ON SUNDAY, DECEMBER 8 THROUGH SATURDAY, DECEMBER 14, WILL FEATURE THE AWARDS AND A TRIO OF LUNCH AND LEARN SESSIONS ON ECONOMIC EQUITY AND INCLUSION.
 
NASHVILLE (November 27, 2019) – For the first time in its history, the Nashville Minority Business Center will recognize two longstanding African American-owned companies as Green Book Legacy Award recipients. These two businesses were listed in the Green Book in the 1960s among more than 1,900 businesses that were owned by African Americans and/or were deemed safe for travelers and residents of color across the country. Among the dozen or so businesses in Nashville that were listed in the historic Green Book, only two remain: Swett’s Restaurant and R&R Liquor Store.
These businesses, which have outlasted segregation, Jim Crow laws, and other discriminatory events, will be recognized during the Minority Business Honors and Awards. The awards will be held from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Friday, December 13 at the Nashville City Club. The Nashville Minority Business Center will also recognize the efforts of its founder and president, Marilyn Robinson. Robinson will celebrate 35 years of advocating for equitable minority business development practices and public contracting equity.
In addition to the Green Book Legacy Awardees and toasting Robinson, the Minority Business Honors and Awards will also recognize businesses and individuals that have made significant economic contributions to their respective communities. Awards will be given in the following categories: Minority Business Advocate of the Year, Corporate Partner of the Year, True Commitment to Minority Business, as well as Minority Businesswoman and Minority Businessman of the Year.
Caryn Clopton of Excel Facility Management Group and Ken Thomas of Archangel Protective Services will receive the Minority Business of the Year awards. JE Dunn Construction will receive the Corporate Partner of the Year Award. Awards for the Minority Business Advocate and True Commitment to Minority Business will be unveiled during the ceremony.
“Our awardees are outstanding individuals who have made tremendous contributions to their respective industries and their communities,” Robinson said. “I am thrilled that we will

Ken Thomas

recognize all of their accomplishments. From our Green Book Legacy Award recipients to the Minority Businesses of the Year, these companies have given us a lot to celebrate. I am excited about all they’ve achieved thus far, and I am even more excited about what they will do in the future.”

Thomas is the Chief Executive Officer of Archangel Protective Services. He will receive the Minority Business of the Year Award. Archangel employs more than 150 individuals in seven cities and five states, and earns revenues of more than $5 million annually. Thomas is no stranger to accolades as Archangel has been recognized as one of Nashville’s Top 10 Veteran Owned Businesses by the Nashville Business Journal in 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018. Additionally, Archangel Protective Services was awarded the Fastest Growing Small Business Award by the Nashville Business Journal in 2014 and received the 2017 MNAA Small Business of the Year Award.
Clopton is the Chief Executive Officer of Excel Facility Management Group. She will receive the Minority Business of the Year Award. Clopton has grown her company significantly, allowing the enterprise to create jobs and wealth. She employs more than 20 individuals and provides top-rate commercial cleaning, construction cleanup, facility supplies and equipment services. The company has received multiple certifications from the Small Business Administration, Women’s Business Enterprise National Council, and the Tri-State National Minority Supplier Development Council.
JE Dunn Construction will receive the Corporate Partner Award. Cherelle Cortez, who serves as the company’s east region senior diversity and inclusion manager, will accept the award on the company’s behalf. Cortez provides regional leadership for the company’s signature Minority Contractor Development Program. This groundbreaking program provides construction-related business development training and pathways to connect to contractor opportunities.
The Minority Business Honors and Awards will be held as part of the 37th Annual Nashville Minority Enterprise Development Week (MEDWeek). MEDWeek is a weeklong celebration of minority business contributions to the national economy. In Nashville, the celebration, which will be held from Sunday, December 8 through Saturday, December 14, is punctuated by business development trainings and advocacy for public contracting equity.
As part of the celebration, the Nashville Minority Business Center will host three Lunch and Learn sessions:
A Look at Tennessee’s Minority Business Policies and Practices
Tuesday, December 10
Nashville City Club
11:30 a.m.
Tennessee Small Business Advocate John (J. D.) Cressman, Esq. and Tennessee Procurement Commission and Advisory Council representative (Legislative Procurement Compliance Manager), Bryan Chriske will share insight’s on Tennessee’s approach to contracting equity and minority business contracting. Metro Nashville Chief Procurement Officer, Michelle Hernandez-Lane, will provide an update on Nashville’s updated approach to public contracting equity through its Equal Business Opportunity Program and the new Small Business Reserve Program.
Economic Inclusion: A Central Strategy for Economic Development
Wednesday, December 11
Nashville City Club
11:30 a.m.
Atty. Franklin M. Lee, a partner at Tydings & Rosenberg, LLP, is one of the country’s leading authorities on socio-economic policies that promote the use of small, minority-owned, and woman-owned businesses in government contracting. He will share his insights on how governments can leverage economic inclusion to drive a robust economy that allows for minority businesses to thrive. We will also hear from equity strategist Ashford Hughes who will share steps local governments can take to promote economic equity.
A Look at Small Business Reserve Programs and Outcomes
Thursday, December 12
Nashville City Club
11:30 a.m.
Janice Montague is the former director of Minority Business Enterprise Compliance for the State of Maryland’s Office of Minority Affairs. Montague will share the history, lessons learned, and programmatic outcomes for Maryland’s successful Small Business Reserve Program. We will also hear from Senator Brenda GilmoreAshley Northington and Marilyn Robinson who will unveil a legislative proposal that creates a Small Business Reserve program for small and minority business owners statewide.
Register and learn more at nashvillemedweek.org.
Media is invited to attend all MEDWeek Events, including the Minority Business Honors and Awards. Contact Ashley Northington by e-mail at ashley at denorbrands dot com for more information.

ABOUT THE NASHVILLE MINORITY BUSINESS CENTER

The Nashville Minority Business Center is operated by the Community Resource and Development Center, Inc., a nonprofit 501(c)3 social enterprise corporation. Its mission is to foster the establishment and growth of competitive minority-owned businesses in the State of Tennessee. The Nashville Minority Business Center is charged with providing management and technical assistance, and market development services to minority entrepreneurs. The benefits to the community are successful, competitive minority-owned firms, wealth, and profit for the investors and entrepreneurs, high skill, higher paying jobs, increased tax revenues and strong local community development.

Minority Enterprise Development Week powered by Regions Bank.

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