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SOUTHWEST OFFICE SYSTEMS, INC. honored by U.S. Chamber of Commerce

SOUTHWEST OFFICE SYSTEMS, INC. honored by U.S. Chamber of Commerce as 2018 Minority-Owned Business Achievement Winner

Finalists Recognized at Annual Small Business Summit in D.C.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Fort Worth, TX — The U.S. Chamber of Commerce awarded Southwest Office Systems, Inc. (SOS) with the 2018 Minority-Owned Business Achievement Award  during its annual Dream Big Awards Celebration. The annual awards ceremony celebrates the achievements of small businesses and honors their contributions to America’s economic growth.

Vince Puente, SOS President of Sales and Marketing, said “This award is validation of our team’s hard work and dedication.” President of Finance and Operations for SOS, Buddy Puente, said “It’s really an honor to be recognized nationally for our company’s success and contributions.”

The 2018 Minority-Owned Business Achievement Award recognizes a minority-owned, small business that has attained outstanding business achievement and exemplifies the significant contributions made by minority-owned businesses in the country. The business must also have management and daily operations controlled by at least one (1) U.S. citizen of a minority groups.

Award winners were selected by a panel of judges from twenty-one finalists in consideration for each of the six Business Achievement Awards and the one Dream Big Small Business of the Year Award. All twenty-one finalists were also eligible for the Community Excellence Award, which was decided through online public voting.


“The Dream Big awards celebrate those who are achieving success, creating opportunity, working hard, and inspiring others,” said Suzanne Clark, Senior Executive Vice President of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “This year’s finalists were drawn from the largest group of award applications in the history of the program—they are the best of the best. Small business is the strong fiber that knits our nation together—not just economically, but culturally and socially. Thank you for continuing to inspire us and congratulations to all of our award finalists.”

Award winners were announced at the Dream Big Awards Celebration on Wednesday, October 3 in Washington, D.C. as part of the 2018 Small Business Summit, which took place at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

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Southwest Office Systems, Inc., was founded in 1964 by Victor Puente, Sr., and began as a two-man typewriter repair company.  Rapid growth led to sons Buddy and Vince joining their father in 1972; eventually leading to ownership.  Southwest Office Systems has since grown to be the largest independent office equipment dealer in the Southwest. With the strength of being independent and an emphasis on people, product and service, SOS is equipped to meet the demands of the evolving document imaging industry.

Lizz Larsen
Southwest Office Systems
O: 817.255.8624 C: 817.291.8356

2018 BTTBU(TM) Capacity Building Scholarships Awarded

The Dallas/Fort Worth Minority Supplier Development Council named its 2018 BTTBUTM Capacity Building Scholarship winners at the September Quarterly Buyer’s Luncheon.

The winners were:

  • Alexander Debo with Alex Debo Installations, LLC. received OSHA 30 courses presented by the Regional Hispanic Contractors Association
  • Glenn Bradley with Big Hit Creative Group received funds for a custom server and photo quality printer
  • Jean Ferreira with Ferreira Holding Group, LLC received funds towards the purchase of computers and wireless printer
  • Margarita Aguilar with IS Productions, Inc received funds towards the purchase of expanded hard drive storage capacity
  • Sergio Godinez with Versa Printing Inc. received funds for software that allows clients the ability to design their marketing pieces online

The five winners received up to $5000 in cash or in-kind training to meet a specific business need to help grow their business.

“The winners were able to describe and quantify a specific need and dollar amount needed to help them grow their business,” said Heather Herndon-Wright, co-chair of the BUY THOSE THAT BUY USTM committee and chair of the judges who picked the winning submissions.

The total amount awarded was $20,000 and additional $3500 in-kind OSHA training to be conducted by the Regional Hispanic Contractors Association.

Growing the capacity of certified minority business suppliers is a core initiative of the Dallas/Fort Worth Minority Supplier Development Council. Each year, awards of up to $5,000 are granted to MBE(s). The recipient(s) must be a D/FW MSDC certified MBE who has been certified by the Council for at least two years. The recipient must identify a critical need for their business that, if met, will support the growth and development of the business. A total of $141,850 has been  awarded to deserving MBEs to-date and $24,500 in in-kind training scholarships.

The Council recognized the scholarship sponsors – Toyota, Oncor, Nokia, Ericsson, Bank of America, Austin Commercial and Lockheed Martin. In addition, MBE contributors to the fund were Group O, Ampcus, Telcom Electric Supply, World Wide Technology, Asociar and Zones.

Texas Super Lawyers Recognizes Rebecca Hicks in 2018 List

Hicks Law Group PLLC Managing Member, Rebecca Hicks, has been named to the 2018 Texas Super Lawyers list for her work in Construction Law. This is the 5th consecutive year she has been named a Texas Super Lawyer. Prior to 2014, Ms. Hicks was named a Texas Rising Star 7 times in a row.

Super Lawyers evaluates nominees across more than 70 practice areas through a rigorous selection process. Only 5% of Texas lawyers are named in Super Lawyers each year. Lawyers are nominated by their peers and then assessed on professional accomplishments, peer recognition, and community involvement. Super Lawyers is a registered trademark of Thomson Reuters.

Toyota Is 45th Anniversary Sponsor and Inaugural Mentorship Lead

The Dallas/Fort Worth Minority Supplier Development Council is celebrating 45 years of facilitating business connections between our buying entity partners and certified minority-owned businesses. We are proud to partner with Toyota as the Signature 45th Anniversary Sponsor for this significant year of activities. Toyota, a former Corporation of the Year winner
both locally and nationally, provides a strong culture dedicated to diversity, respect for people and our community and continuous improvement.

In addition to being the 45th Signature Sponsor, Toyota is also hosting and conducting the D/FW MSDC Inaugural Mentoring Program. This program was announced at ACCESS 2018 Business Expo. Four minority-owned businesses out of more than 45 applications were selected as the first program participants. The mentees will work with assigned Toyota mentors to help their improve operations, develop marketing direction and understand their financial position. Mentees will graduate from the year-long program in July 2018. The inaugural program is intended to provide a foundation to conduct future mentorship programs with other Buying Entity participants.

E Award Winners Cash In on Kellogg Advanced Management Executive Program at Northwestern University.

E Award Winners Cash In on Kellogg Advanced Management Executive Program at Northwestern University.

Lisa Hanlon, CEO of Teltech Group and Rueben D’Souza, Principal Managing Partner of RD Data Solutions recently had the opportunity to attend the National Minority Supplier Development Council’s (NMSDC) Advanced Management Education Program (AMEP) held at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Business. The week-long session provided attendees with relevant information to grow their business to the next level.

“This was a very insightful session,” remarked Hanlon. “Our company has been successful in our industry, but AMEP provided insight on how to expand and grow our company beyond its current boundaries and focus. It was a timely experience for me and I intend to put some of the tools and thought-processes to work to accelerate our company’s growth.”

D’Souza agreed that the intense AMEP curriculum provided strong analysis of financials, mergers and acquisition understanding, brand protection, innovation strategies and more. AMEP attendees have the opportunity to work and network with other minority-owned business leaders from around the in an all-in, one-week setting held at Northwestern University.

To be eligible for the program the companies must have been certified by NMSDC for at least three years, demonstrate growth and have revenues greater than $3 million annually. In addition, they must be recommended by a corporate member to attend the class.

In the case of Hanlon and D’Souza they were both recommended to attend by D/FW MSDC. Each is an E Award Supplier of the Year winner. The local award not only comes with recognition as the Supplier of the Year, but a full scholarship funded by the Council to attend the program. Teltech Group won the Dallas/Fort Worth Minority Supplier Development Council’s (D/FW MSDC) Supplier of the Year E (Excellence) Award for Class III (revenues between $10 million and $50 million) in 2017. RD Data Solutions was the 2016 E Award Supplier of the Year for Class II (revenues between $1 million and $10 million). Supplier of the Year is awarded to companies who have demonstrated excellence in operation, growth and commitment to the community.

About Teltech Group

Teltech Group delivers creative technology solutions that help clients manage their assets, maintain connectivity, respond to emergency and disaster situations and improve their business performance. Their services include life-cycle asset management, reclaim-recycle-redeploy services, solar energy solutions, innovative emergency response technology solutions and professional services support. In addition, the firm has recently expanded its offerings to include consulting and compliance support related to data protection (personal and business) solutions. For further information related to Teltech, please contact us at 972.466.0480 or visit our website at teltech.com.

About RD Data Solutions

RD Data Solutions is a SAP technology firm based in Texas. Founded in 2002 in response to the growing demand for SAP professionals, the company delivers a wide range of SAP R/3, SAP HCM and Netweaver consulting services Governance and Risk assessments, Best practices in effective Offshoring and SAP BI, BO and BPC training. In addition, the company provides SAP recruiting services. RDDS has created its own Best Practices and Implementation tool kit in most of the above modules. There services are being used by private and public sector agencies. For further information, visit us on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/company/rd-data-solutions/.




D/FW MSDC Board Member Honored by ISM

Greg Spoon, Vice President of Procurement for DFW International Airport and member of the Board of Directors for the Dallas/Fort Worth Minority Supplier Development Council, recently was nominated and won the 2018 Charles J. McDonald Supplier Diversity Advocate Award from the national Institute of Supply Management (ISM). The award was presented during the 2018 ISM National Conference in May 2018.









This award is geared to recognize individuals who are not supplier diversity practitioners, but have had significant impact in identifying and including diverse suppliers in the supply chain. The criteria for the award include:

  • demonstrated accomplishments in advising diverse suppliers about opportunities within the overall business community
  • innovative in terms of increasing business opportunities for divers suppliers through mentoring, requests for quotes and facilitation of enhanced finance options
  • demonstrated achievements which exhibit merit as an effective advocate for diverse suppliers’ business interest
  • commitment to the advancement of supplier diversity and business community interests

Charles J. McDonald Jr. was the first chair of ISM’s Supplier Diversity Group. This annual award was introduced in 1994.

RAM Contracting Honored with Exceptional Partner Award by Cushman & Wakefield

As one of the world’s largest property and facilities managers, Cushman & Wakefield developed the supplier relationship management program to drive profitability and innovative solutions for the firm, clients, and supply partners.

RAM Contracting Receives One of the First Cushman & Wakefield Exceptional Partner Awards

Chicago, IL – RAM Contracting was recently recognized as the Diversity Excellence Award Winner in  the inaugural Supplier Innovation Forum and Awards Program by Cushman & Wakefield. RAM Contracting, owned by husband and wife team, Ray and DeAnna Marsh is headquartered in Dallas Texas.

“We were really surprised and elated to be recognized for this honor by C&W,” said Ray March, CEO of Ram Contracting. “They awarded six companies, including large firms like Staples and Otis Elevator Company. So, it was especially great for RAM to be considered an excellent partner among these other firms.”

The inaugural Supplier Innovation Forum and Awards brought together more than 85 strategic partners, senior business leaders and Cushman & Wakefield executives to collaborate and explore ideas that drive innovation, strategy and business.

RAM Contracting first began working with Cushman & Wakefield as a supplier on the new Toyota Headquarters in Plano, TX. Their initial project was handling an emergency requirement to paint a door in the new facility. RAM Contracting made sure the door was painted and followed back up with their Cushman & Wakefield contact to ensure they were pleased with the work. The answer was the opportunity to do even more work. Little by little, the company has handled project after project, including HVAC, plumbing, electrical, painting, flooring, locksmith services, pest control, drywall and more.

As the requests came in and the jobs were performed, the RAM relationship with C&W Services and Toyota continued to grow. The size of the jobs became bigger, as well. They were recently awarded a remodeling job in the Lexus Parts Depot in Coppell, TX, along with a three-year janitorial contract for the new Toyota Headquarters located in Plano, Texas. In addition, C&W has expanded the RAM Contracting footprint on a national basis. RAM Contracting now performs work in Denver, Atlanta and the Toyota buildings throughout the Dallas/Fort Worth area.

“The growth has been phenomenal,” said Ray Marsh, RAM Contracting CEO. “We handle emergency situations, as well as general contracting work. Working with the C&W and Toyota teams has made our company better, stronger and more competitive in the marketplace. But, the truth is, we could not have kept pace with the growth without the strong and firm leadership of Deanna.”

Ray jokes that Deanna has probably fired him over 28 times but keeps hiring him back! Their work with C&W and Toyota has helped the company in implementing valuable processes and procedural improvements, as well as generating more competitive pricing. The access to cutting-edge innovative ways to do business has generated a new tagline for the company – Innovative Solutions Through Technical Excellence.

About the Award

As one of the world’s largest property and facilities managers, Cushman & Wakefield developed the supplier relationship management program to drive profitability and innovative solutions for the firm, clients and supply partners. The Supplier Awards Program recognized outstanding performance in supporting a continuous drive for operating efficiency and delivering greater benefits to clients. The 2018 honorees were:

RAM Contracting – Diversity Excellence Award Winner
Otis Elevator Company – Safety Award Winner
Carrier Corporation – Innovation/Continuous Improvement Award Winner
Staples, Inc. – Exceptional Service Award Winner
Allied Universal – Total Cost Award Winner
Brightview – Partner in Business Development Award Winner

About RAM Contracting

RAM Contracting began its business offering Mechanical, Electrical, Plumbing (MEP), IT Cabling and other full-service solutions to industrial, commercial and residential clients. The company has continued its legacy services and since expanded into general contracting services and products that include a full array of facility maintenance support, new construction and preventative maintenance. Their differentiator in the marketplace is their ability to rapidly provide emergency and disaster recovery facility maintenance support. Their client list includes DFW International Airport, City of Dallas, USPS and Cushman & Wakefield. The firm has grown their footprint to include Texas, GA and CO, with further expansions planned. For more information about RAM Contracting, contact us at 214.597.0541.

Austin Wins Prestigious Awards Locally and Nationally

Austin Commercial was selected as the large contractor winner of the 2018 AGC Diversity & Inclusion Excellence Award at the 2018 AGC of America Annual Convention.

Austin Commercial was selected as the large contractor winner of the 2018 AGC Diversity & Inclusion Excellence Award at this year’s AGC of America Annual Convention! This is the first diversity award given by AGC, and Austin Commercial was honored to receive this national award in the construction industry.

Austin Commercial also received the National Safety Award by AGC as one of the safest General Contractors in the Country. Both of these awards are national awards given out by AGC.

Austin was also presented the Arizona Million Dollar Circle of Excellence Award for 2017. This Award was given by the Phoenix Minority Business Development Center & the Arizona Hispanic Chamber.

Locally, Austin Commercial was voted as the General Contractor of the Year by the Regional Hispanic Contractors Association for 2017 at their Annual Pillars Award event.

MBE Shoe Organizer Now in Walmart Stores

Robert Liang, West One Products CEO, is finally realizing the fruits of a three-year journey to have his product in Walmart Stores. On April 23, 2018,


D/FW MSDC Board Member Receives Distinguished Alumni Award

The Clarence Beckwith Distinguished Alumni Award, named for Lake Michicgan College’s first president, was given to alumni Cynthia Joseph-Keller, Assistant Vice President – Facilities &  Sourcing, DexYP, Inc. and a member of the D/FW Board of Directors.

The Clarence Beckwith Distinguished Alumni Award is presented to an alumni of Lake Michigan College who has achieved significant success in their personal and professional endeavors.

Cynthia Joseph-Keller is Assistant Vice President at DexYP with an extensive background in real estate, facilities and sourcing. She has previously worked for SuperMedia and Verizon, where she was recognized for her leadership and individual excellence.

Joseph-Keller came to LMC in 1973 to study business administration while working at Whirlpool Corp. After completing her associate’s degree, she earned a scholarship and transferred to Ferris State University. She graduated with honors with a bachelor’s degree in finance.

In 1990, after relocating to Texas, she continued her education to earn an MBA in corporate finance from the University of Dallas. She is a Six Sigma Green Belt and member of the Dallas/Fort Worth Minority Supplier Development Council Board of Directors. She is treasurer for The Links, Incorporate – Fort Worth (TX) Chapter.

Joseph-Keller credits her “topnotch” professors and counselors for providing invaluable support, encouragement and an excellent academic foundation that prepared her for her continued education and career.

Joseph-Keller and her husband, Moses Keller, have one daughter, Madeline Keller, who is also working toward an MBA.