2808 Wheeler St., Houston, TX 77004-5351
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Margo Williams Handy, MWH Public Relations
281.213.9554, 832.492.2407 or email@example.com
Houston Citizens Chamber of Commerce Significantly Increases Its
Partnerships During 13th Annual Pinnacle Awards
HOUSTON (Oct. 25, 2007) – Today, the Houston Citizens Chamber of Commerce
(HCCC) announced a significant increase in its sponsor support, attendance and ongoing
partnerships as a result of its annual awards program, the 13th Annual African American
Business Achievement Pinnacle Awards. Major underwriters were Shell as title sponsor,
Washington Mutual Bank at the Platinum level, BP America, Inc. and Merrill Lynch as
Silver sponsors and at the Bronze level, Continental Airlines and HP.
Over 750 guests attended the Friday, Oct. 19, awards program held at the Hilton Post Oak
honoring African-American business excellence.
Radio One founder Cathy Hughes delivered the keynote address. Hughes encouraged all
attendees to expand their horizons by learning other languages, as well as establishing a
solid Internet presence. “It is vital for an African-American company to utilize the Internet
to expand its business,” said Hughes. “African-American businesses must have a quality
Web site in order to compete in this global economy.”
Greater Houston Partnership President & CEO Jeff Moseley and Tracye McDaniel, Greater
Houston Partnership EVP & COO delivered special remarks.
“The tremendous support of our sponsors and media partners is valuable,” said Gala
Chairman Jeffrey Boney, HCCC vice president and Washington Mutual Bank small
business banking vice president. “We are excited about the partnerships established and
the businesses we assisted as a result of the Pinnacle Awards. We have received
numerous calls about businesses that have made connections and gained new business
opportunities as a result of the gala. Additionally, our sponsor support will enable the
Chamber to establish several business development resources over the next year.”
The Pinnacle Awards spotlight and honor African-American businesses that have achieved
success by combining vision, determination, commitment, perseverance and dedication to
building strong communities.
Ten outstanding Pinnacle finalists were honored and four took home the Pinnacle Award.
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Oct. 25, 2007
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Pinnacle Award Winners:
3131 Properties, LLC | Jason Medlock and Aaron Glenn
Launched in 2000, 3131 Properties, LTD., operates on the "Magic” Johnson model of
economic and community development. Medlock and Glenn have brokered over $127
million in deals including sports, real estate, construction and franchises.
As developers, they deliver their services to historically under-developed communities with
the hope of stimulating local economies and providing new employment opportunities. The
company's newest subsidiary, GlennLock Foods, LTD., employs 315 individuals. The
Frenchy's Chicken brand has been extremely successful for 3131 Properties.
The key to their success has been in the ability to hire great leadership and choose deals
that make sense in the Sugar Land area. Medlock and Glenn chose prime real estate at
the right price and at the right time. Also, the team was able to duplicate the historic
Frenchy’s Chicken brand to mimic the original Scott Street location’s flavor pattern.
Codwell Family Food Center, P.A. | Dr. John Codwell, III
In 1995, Dr. Codwell started his practice with just one employee (himself) and a 950-
square-foot office. Today, Dr. Codwell offices in his own building and has a staff of five.
The center provides medical and surgical care of both the foot and ankle.
Like many African-American small business owners, Dr. Codwell’s greatest challenge was
in finding start-up capital to launch a legitimate, viable medical practice. However, his
perseverance and belief in serving the community paid off.
To encourage increased African-American business ownership, Dr. Codwell believes early
exposure of the entrepreneurial world to our children is key, as are mentorship programs.
Dr. Codwell believes the secret to his success has been to educate his patients and to take
the necessary time with them to explain their medical challenges.
DiverseStaff, Inc. | Carla Lane
DiverseStaff was launched in 2003 with Carla Lane as senior vice president and chief
The company is dedicated to providing organizations with quality staffing solutions
resulting in excellent employment opportunities for its associates. Lane’s business strategy
for growing DiverseStaff is, “Take care of the people and the bottom line will grow.” Under
Lane’s leadership, the DiverseStaff footprint has grown by an additional seven states,
increased its portfolio to include Fortune 100 and 200 clients, and has become a leader in
Lane distinguishes DiverseStaff from other staffing firms by ensuring she connects with the
candidates, the associates and the clients. She also delivers quality to her clients and
associates – she believes in exceeding expectations. Lastly, Lane believes she provides a
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Oct. 25, 2007
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service, she never forgets that. If she doesn’t do it well, someone else will.
The company’s keys to success has been application of its “7 Keys to Success:” “Take
Charge;” “Know Where You Are Going;” “Spread the Word;” “Do What You Do So Well
They’ll Come Back and Bring Their Friends;” “Train, Train and Retrain;” “Measure
Everything;” and “Celebrate Your Victories.”
George E. Johnson Development, Inc. | George E. Johnson
George E. Johnson Development, Inc. was founded in 1974 as Johnson & Sons Realty.
Since that time, the company has evolved into a premier comprehensive real estate
development firm specializing in residential, commercial and community-developments
As the company slogan indicates, "Big enough to serve you, small enough to care,"
Johnson Development represents individual clients with their home-buying needs as well
as public, private and faith-based organizations with their development needs. Through
real estate brokerage, project management and owner's representative services, the
company has completed assignments and managed projects in excess of $1.1 billion.
Johnson states that the greatest challenge of starting the business was being the first
African-American-franchised real-estate broker. There were no examples. They worked
hard and were encouraged by earlier black real-estate pioneers such as Mr. Judson
Robinson, Jr., Mr. Hubbard Coleman, Ms. Lily Fonteno and others.
Pinnacle Award Finalists:
BalyProjects, LLC | Jacqueline Baly Chaumette
Owned by Jacqueline Baly Chaumette, BalyProjects is a consulting firm that specializes in
policy, planning and public affairs. The firm's capabilities include running the entire public
involvement and public affairs process for transportation and other policy plans which will
reflect community values and benefit all segments of the community. BalyProjects also has
been instrumental in local, state and federal elections.
Contracts have expanded significantly for BalyProjects since its inception. Services were
originally only provided for the City of Houston. Now services cover several regions in
Texas and surrounding states.
BalyProjects is now a full-service, one-stop firm for its clients. It helps clients from the
beginning of the RFP phase to the project’s implementation phase. Leading-edge
technology, superb staff training and management have proven a great formula for its
success, but success is not their final destination. Excellence in every area from
streamlined administration to their ongoing relationships with officials and jurisdictions
translate into a superior overall governmental relations experience for everyone.
Houston Training and Education Center, Inc. (H-TEC) | Stephanie Boutte’-Phillips
Operating out of a 9,000-square-foot facility, H-TEC offers seven training and vocational-
career education programs to the underprivileged.
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Oct. 25, 2007
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through her seminar, “A Smile Exudes Confidence,” is to explain the importance of dental
hygiene/ aesthetics and how it relates to self-confidence and social acceptance in the
Dr. Plummer also established CareerSmiles Inc., in 2001. This nonprofit organization was
established in response to a need discovered by the job-placement department at the
Texas School of Business (TSB). It is a nonprofit dental service and funding agency
providing financial assistance, dental education and reconstructive dental services to low-
income adults in order to facilitate job placement and move those adults back into the work
Quality Dialysis | Cindy Barclay
Quality Dialysis, in business for over 14 years, was the first staff-assisted home dialysis
company to provide dialysis services in Texas.
The company believes healthcare is a basic human right. Because of the increasing
demands that chronic kidney disease can put on a patient and his/her family, Quality
Dialysis has expanded its service by creating four separate companies to offer better, more
convenient care to its patients. The company offers physician services, skilled nursing,
health and nutrition, social services, distribution services, transporter services, biohazard
medical waste disposal services, pharmaceutical services and consultation.
Speaking of what makes a business owner successful, Cindy Barclay responds, “I don’t
think there is a recipe. Some people give up too easily. If you have your mind set on a
goal, you have to stay focused on it no matter what. It’s a long journey; just keep knocking
and somebody’s going to eventually open the door.” Barclay also urges people to know
their craft and do it with passion.
Barclay also is the author of a new book titled, “That DAMN Dialysis!” Barclay wrote the
book to fill a knowledge void regarding chronic kidney disease. It offers options for
treatment, information for those predisposed to the disease and the do’s and don’ts of
everyday life with kidney disease.
Sprinklisms, Inc. | Jonathan Sprinkles
Jonathan Sprinkles keeps it real when he steps to the microphone.
He speaks about a life principle that has equipped thousands of college students to work
“smarter not harder.” He starts every speaking engagement with a clear purpose, which is
to equip people with the resources necessary to search their inner self and effectively live
out the principles of leadership, integrity, vision and excellence.
Sprinkles empowers people to LIVE! He developed this concept when he was faced with
his biggest personal challenge, starting his own business. As with most small businesses,
his biggest challenge was coming up with the money to start and maintain a small
business. He left a sales job that was paying $82,000 and instantly went to ZERO. He was
close to giving up and going back to corporate America until one day he heard a quote that
changed his life: “Vision doesn’t chase money, money chases vision!”
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Oct. 25, 2007
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That was his turning point. He stopped focusing on the money and started building a
leadership model that, unlike most in the market, was based on real-life scenarios (not
philosophy) and was relevant to young people. In 2006, he was selected by the
Association for the Promotion of Campus Activities as the College Speaker of the Year. His
personal and professional mantra is, “May it all be done to the glory of God.”
Advocate of the Year Award
New to the Pinnacle Awards this year is to recognize organizations that do business with
and/or provide business opportunities and education to African-American small
“We created the Advocate Award to encourage organizations to continue in its efforts to
equip, empower and educate African-American business enterprises,” said Boney.
The inaugural "Advocate of the Year" was awarded to the Port of Houston Authority (PHA).
The PHA implemented its Small Business Development Program (SBDP) in 2001. The
SBDP helps the PHA contractors make good faith efforts to include small business
participation in all SBDP eligible contracts to provide goods and services to the Port.
Since inception of the SBDP at the PHA, small businesses have received over $200 million
in formal and informal awards.
Under the direction of the PHA Commissioners and executive staff, SBDP Director Gilda
Ramirez and the SBDP staff take a proactive approach by reaching out to certified minority
business enterprises (MBEs) by actively participating with business groups such as the
Houston Citizens Chamber of Commerce, Houston Minority Business Council, Women’s
Business Enterprise Alliance, Native American Chamber of Commerce, and other minority
based business organizations.
The PHA staff also participates in expos and events, organizes training workshops,
conferences and networking forums, and has created with Houston Community College
the Port University. The Port University is intended to give companies an understanding of
how the PHA operates which includes two sessions on how to read and respond to a bid
proposal. The PHA has graduated a total of 183 companies from Port University.
“When this program was launched five years ago, the Port Commission set an annual goal
of 35-percent small business participation. It is a promise that we have kept," said Port
Commissioner, Kase Lawal, chair of the SBDP Committee. "We have exceeded that goal
every year since the program’s inception. Small business owners and their employees are
a vital link in the Port's supply chain. To date, more than 1,000 small businesses are
registered with the Port and more than $200 million in contracts have been awarded. In
fact, approximately 33 cents of every contract awarded by the Port is small business."
Business owners interested in the SBDP should visit the POH Web site at
www.portofhouston.com or call 713.670.2597.
The Advocate Award finalists were: AT&T, CenterPoint Energy, City of Houston, Comcast,
Comerica Bank, ExxonMobil, Halliburton, H-E-B, U.S. Small Business Administration, Shell
Oil Company and University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.
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Oct. 25, 2007
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The Advocate Award was sponsored by H-E-B and DiverseStaff.
Mack H. Hannah, Jr. Upstart Business Award
The second new award this year is the Mack H. Hannah, Jr. Upstart Business Award. The
Upstart Award was created to recognize and provide resources to a burgeoning African-
American business with a high potential for success. The winner must complete a 14-
week course developed in partnership with Texas Southern University. Then, it is awarded
a business package that includes a $2,500 cash injection, a laptop from HP, cell phones
and service from Cricket Communications, business cards and logo creation from D-
Mars.com and other prizes.
This year’s winner is NightLight After Hours Pediatrics. Founded in 2005, NightLight
provides quality, affordable, compassionate, urgent care for infants, children and
adolescents when the primary pediatrician is not available. NightLight is owned by Dr.
Anastasia Gentles, Connie Cazares and Zawadi Bryant.
[Since winning the Upstart award] “We have been exposed to a greater level of support
and a larger network,” said Bryant. “We are now involved in the African-American business
community and it feels great to have so many people rooting for our success. We have
access to businesses that have been around much longer than us. We have reached out
to some of them for advice. We've already seen patients as a result of winning the Upstart
award. Also, I learned some great tips for our next location from the [Texas Southern
University] small business workshop provided to all Upstart finalists. I learned how to
analyze our lease and finance terms to a greater level.”
The Upstart finalists were Kennedi Taylor Concierges and Beaucoup Wings-N-Wings:
Beaucoup Wings-N-Wings | Salimah Muhammad and LaKesha Reed
Beaucoup was formed on December 4, 2006, and opened for business on December 14,
2006, at 3511 Elgin St. Its owners, Salimah Muhammad and LaKesha Reed are on a
mission to provide Houstonians with a quality product made of the finest and freshest
ingredients, rich with regional and international flavors that tantalize the most discerning
palate at a reasonable price.
A dining experience at Beaucoup will incorporate the use of your sight, taste and touch
senses, culminating in a full-body experience that encourages addiction.
Community minded, yet facing the challenges all start-up businesses face, they are
champions of Black-owned businesses supporting each other and eliminating the negative
stereotypes associated with doing business in our community.
Kennedi Taylor Concierges, LLC | Samuel D. Wesley
Contrary to popular belief, a man like Samuel D. Wesley with a servant’s heart can go far
in life. Serving others is a pillar of the faith that powers Kennedi Taylor Concierges, LLC.
They serve our community with an uncharacteristic fervor motivated by an enthusiasm to
accomplish pure customer satisfaction for each client. Wesley takes great pride in the
image that he has built for his company. New clients often say that their logo, Web site and
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Oct. 25, 2007
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marketing materials give them the confidence to trust Kennedi Taylor Concierges, LLC with
their personal affairs.
Their core business is providing errand services to entrepreneurs, executives and
professionals who must move with the speed of commerce. The company was designed to
provide clients with an around-the-clock personal assistant. As a full-service Concierge
Service, they can handle any type of request. Common requests include taking clothes to
the cleaners and personal shopping. They also schedule minor repairs, appliance
installation and home renovations, and supervise all aspects of the work. The most exotic
request they’ve received is to help a client bring his mail order bride from the Ukraine.
Kennedi Taylor can do anything that their clients don’t have time to do.
“Attending the Pinnacle Awards was a very humbling experience because there was such
a wealth of business acumen at each table,” said Samuel Wesley, Kennedi Taylor
Concierges owner. “I look forward to spending time with all of the Pinnacle Award winners
and finalists to draw from their experiences. I also look forward to becoming an active
participant of the HCCC by supporting Chamber initiatives and goals."
The Upstart Award is sponsored by Brown, Brown & Reynolds, Capital One Bank, Cricket
Communications, HP and the Houston Defender.
Sponsors of the 13th Annual African American Pinnacle Awards include Title Sponsor Shell
Oil Company; Platinum Sponsor, Washington Mutual Bank; Silver Sponsors BP America,
Inc. and Merrill Lynch; Bronze Sponsors Continental Airlines and HP; Community Partners
AT&T, Fox 26 and My 20, Greater Houston Partnership, Port of Houston Authority,
Southwest Airlines and Texas Southern University; Upstart Award Sponsors Brown, Brown
& Reynolds, Capital One Bank, Cricket Communications and the Houston Defender;
Advocate Award Sponsors H-E-B and DiverseStaff; VIP Nominee Reception Sponsors
Merrill Lynch and I-10 Media; President’s Pinnacle Reception Sponsors Merrill Lynch;
Chamber Partners Locke Liddell & Sapp, Protectors Insurance, Kroger and Five Woods
Loft and Homes; 2007 Official Pinnacle Awards Ground Transportation Partner Allure
Limousines; Floral Sponsor Lexis Florist; Table Sponsors 3131 Properties, Nationwide
Insurance, A.W. EMS, ExxonMobil, George E. Johnson Development, Inc., MaxwellO
Dental Spa & Wellness, Comcast, Greater Houston Convention & Visitor’s Bureau, Bud
Light, Houston Black Expo, Houston Minority Business Council, Unity National Bank, Frost
Bank, CenterPoint Energy; Houston Training and Education Center; Masterpiece
Solutions, LLC, Omo-Set, Inc., Prairie View A&M University, The Guess Group, and
Presenting Media Partners Radio One, I-10 media, D-Mars.com, and the Houston
Defender, and Media Partners, Houston Business Journal, Rolling Out, Houston Style
Magazine, Gospel Truth, The Houston Sun, FaVor Magazine, HBBIN, Clear Channel
Outdoor, FinalCall.com, AfriPages, J. Griffith Public Relations, Millions More Movement,
ENo Style Magazine and The Herald.
For details regarding 2008 award nominations or sponsorships, please contact Margo
Williams Handy, MWH Public Relations, at 281.213.9554 or visit
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