The Business Feature
Special Business Feature including sections: Supplier Diversity: Exchanging Business Connectors: The Bridge between Latinos and Success Million Dollar: Club Index
Story By: Diane Alter, Steve Penhollow, Jason Ogden, USHCC
Small Business is the backbone of our nation’s economy. Two-thirds of all new American jobs are created by small businesses, and Hispanic enterprises are leading this critical growth; starting new ventures at a rate three times the national average.
An estimated 55 million Hispanics live in the U.S., approximately 17% of the country’s population, according to the Census Bureau. Further, there are more than four million Hispanic-owned businesses throughout the U.S., and their collective annual revenues have climbed to more than $668 billion, according to the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
Furthermore, the number of Hispanic-owned businesses has doubled since 2002. Had these businesses not been created, unemployment rate would have risen to over 10% for the first time in over 30 years, and the recession would have inched closer towards a depression. Hispanic firms helped put a floor on the financial collapse, and helped pave the path toward America’s economic recovery. Hispanics will account for 40% of employment growth over the next five years and more than 75% from 2020 to 2034.
In this issue we want to recognize and celebrate businessmen and women who represent the best of our community. They are critical to our economic recovery and strength, to building America’s future, and to helping the United States compete in today’s global marketplace. Hispanic-owned businesses are fast becoming the bell-weather for future growth.
Their relatively young age cohorts, increasing household incomes, and impact on the financial sector paint a very positive picture for the American economy during the next decade or more. that going forward, Hispanics will have more economic clout, employ a greater proportion of the population and purchase substantially more in goods and services than they do today. The dynamic growth of Hispanic-owned businesses will keep transforming the economic and political landscape in the United States in the years ahead.
Their enterprises are illustrative of the tremendous impact Hispanic businesses have on our nation’s economic prosperity, and a testament to the success of collaborating with corporate
America through supplier diversity programs - a win-win business strategy that is both principled and profitable. We are delighted to publicly acknowledge these business leaders as trailblazers in their respective industries.
Vincent Rossy and CorTech
By: Diane Alter
The way we buy goods and services has dramatically changed over the last decade thanks to the so-called “sharing economy.” This phenomenon has shaken up the employment landscape. Services are now performed on demand by people with the skills, tools and spare time to complete them. More and more people in a growing number of sectors have become part of the “gig economy” in the form of freelancers, contractors and part-timers. Reasons range from supplementing incomes to a more flexible work schedule.
To be sure, we have become a world of part-time workers for a number of reasons. Capitalizing on this growing trend is CorTech.
Founded in 1999 by Vincent Rossy and Gary Nichols, the duo had the foresight to create an innovative business model that combined Rossy’s acumen in IT with Nichols experience as a former owner of a clerical staffing company. The pair recognized a void in the traditional staffing market space and launched CorTech.
The aim has always been to mesh the opportunities employers look for with a skilled workforce that is required to make any businesses succeed. CorTech’s mantra is to “do things the right way.” The company’s corporate culture is based on value, honesty and an unwavering commitment to the delivery of services.
Headquartered in Atlanta, CorTech has been providing temporary staffing solutions in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico to United Parcel Service Inc., also based in Atlanta. CorTech became a key vendor to UPS in 2010 via its relationship with the UPS-managed service provide Manpower-Tapfin.
Without question, CorTech’s partnership with UPS was a major turning point for the company.
“Being a partner to UPS has helped CorTech grow simply by the scale and market share that UPS has and earns,” Rossy told Latino Leaders Magazine. “Having a client like UPS is excellent as they have a world-known brand. Being able to grow our business with a client of their caliber helps to gain additional business and builds a sense of viability in the marketplace for a company like CorTech.”
Indeed, UPS is a global powerhouse in the package delivery and logistics market. Founded in 1907, UPS is one of the most recognized and admired global brands.
The company’s U.S. domestic package segment offers time-definite delivery of letters, documents, small packages and palletized freight through air and ground services in the U.S. The international package segment provides guaranteed day and time-definite international shipping services in Europe, the Asia Pacific, Canada and Latin America, the Indian sub-continent, the Middle East, and Africa. The supply chain and freight segment offers international air and ocean freight forwarding, customs brokerage, truckload freight brokerage, distribution and post-sales services, and mail and consulting services in some 220 countries and territories.
UPS operates a fleet of approximately 110,000 package cars, vans, tractors and motorcycles, and it owns 33,000 containers used to transport cargo in its aircraft. The company employs many retirees who are looking for the next chapter and seek reduced hours with benefits. The primary part-time positions are for package handlers who load, unload or sort within the operations. The company does not discriminate when it comes to age, focusing instead on a person’s ability and desire to do the job. That’s where CorTech comes in.
CorTech understands that to stay ahead, organizations like UPS must run efficiently. And that starts with the best employees. CorTech makes it a priority to understand a client’s business. Allowing CorTech to stand out is its track record for delivering on its promises, and taking every partnership personally and seriously. CorTech’s steadfast dedication to quality, experience, leadership and results are unrivaled in the staffing industry and have earned them the utmost respect from their peers. “We provide staffing services with a sense of respect and integrity,” Rossy said.
CorTech staff will always take responsibility for all actions and will not hesitate to seek advice in pursuit of new opportunities to improve a client’s brand, which in turn improves its own.
April Diez and The Diez Group
By: Diane Alter
Eighty percent of success in business is simply showing up. No one knows that better than the Delaco Steel Corporation, an aluminum and steel manufacturing service center that specializes in blanking (exposed and unexposed), cut to length, laser welding, precision slitting, warehousing and logistics.
Since being founded by Geraldo Diez Sr. in 1973, Delaco has aggressively shown its mettle and muscle by showing how the family-owned business can successfully compete with big players in the space. Today, the Diez Group lead by Geraldo, who works tirelessly with his four children: April (Vice Chair), Sherry (Vice President), Jerry Jr. (President), and Mark (Vice President).
The company has evolved into a conglomerate of eight thriving companies that span approximately 2 million square feet within 10 facilities across a half dozen states. Each operation is strategically located to optimally service its key customers.
Delaco’s chief and long-time customer is Ford Motor Co. Delaco started its storied business partnership with Ford in the late 1970s. Soon after, Delaco developed a string of major contracts with Ford involving steels sales, processing and storage. Their partnership has grown significantly over the years thanks to Delaco’s business prowess, attention to detail and commitment to the iconic American automaker.
“We were instrumental in launching Ford’s Raw Material Supply Program in the early 1990s,” April Diez told Latino Leaders Magazine. “Delaco Steel strives to maintain world-class quality and on-time delivery.
In 1997, the company received the distinction of becoming the first minority steel service center to be awarded Q1 by the Ford Motor Co. We concentrate on making both ourselves and our customers more cost effective.”
In 2010, Delaco spearheaded a scallop blanking initiative, which proved to be a major material and cost savings to Ford.
“We continue to work with Ford to further develop scallop blanks and other cost-saving strategies,” April continued. “Our relationship with Ford has been very successful due to the fact that Ford has clear objectives for growing the business as a minority-owned business (MBE).”
To qualify as a MBE under an Environmental Protection Agency program, an entity must establish that it is at least 51 percent owned and/or controlled by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals who are of good character and are citizens of the United States.
“Ford presents opportunity for diversification and encourages the MBE to realize its potential,” April added. “Ford continues to assist our partnership by rolling out the ONE Ford program. By consolidating suppliers and outsourcing some of the operations, our volumes and opportunities increased.”
In addition, Ford encourage Tier 1 suppliers to meet their minority objectives. That, in turn, provides Delaco with additional business opportunity with the Tier 1s.
Without question, Ford has been tremendously instrumental in the growth and development of the Diez Group.
“We were humbled to receive their prestigious World Excellence Award for Diverse Supplier of the Year in 2015,” April said. “In fact, we have received numerous awards from large original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) such as Ford, General Motors, Fiat Chrysler, and Johnson Controls. We have been recognized by the United Hispanic Chamber of Commerce as a Hispanic Business Enterprise (HBE) Elite in 2014 and 2016, as well as the National Minority Supplier Development Council as a Supplier of the Year and for Business Leadership.”
Delco is proudly the largest Hispanic company within the automotive manufacturing supply chain. Its business connection with Ford is a true partnership.
“The Diez Group values the relationship we have built and maintained with Ford,” April said. “we appreciate all the opportunities, and we gratefully thank them for their continued support.”
Dolores Rodriguez And Milagro Packaging
By: Diane Alter
How does a small Dundee, Michigan, packaging company form a prosperous partnership with auto goliath Toyota Motors Corp.? The answer: with some strategic partnerships and steadfast grit.
Milagro Packaging LLC, which provides packaging services and material such as plastic, foam, corrugated, metal and wood, has enjoyed a thriving partnership with Toyota since 2001, when it formed a joint venture with Concept Packaging. The collaboration allowed Milagro Packaging to offer a minority option to Toyota, which enabled the small-cap company to offer more products and services to the auto giant.
Key to Milagro Packaging’s successful performance as a Toyota supplier has been establishing a close working relationship with the automaker and its associates at all levels of manufacturing and distribution, Milagro Packaging founder Dolores Rodriguez told Latino Leaders Magazine.
“Working across all of the business units of Toyota, suppliers, NAMCs, TMS and TEMA have been an important part of our relationship,” Rodriguez said.
Toyota has been instrumental in helping Milagro Packaging become a better company and supplier by providing guidance and assistance throughout their 16-year relationship, Rodriguez explained.
“Toyota helped us implement the Toyota Production System process throughout our manufacturing and distribution facilities,” Rodriguez said. “National Action Plan of Climate Change (NAPCC) provided hands on assistance when we started our support facility in Ontario.”
Despite all of the company’s successes, Ms. Rodriguez explained that she constantly faces an increasing number of challenges as a small business owner.
“The number of companies that have moved a significant amount of manufacturing off-shore has reduced the opportunity to grow,” she said. “The number of regulations placed on small business by the government create significant additional costs. We are constantly looking to diversify into new products and markets. Selling more services that do not involve a product has helped grow our revenue.”
Without question, Toyota has been a major player in Milagro Packaging’s growth. Also playing a big role in the company’s growth is the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
USHCC is America’s largest Hispanic business organization, representing over 4.2 million Hispanic-owned businesses across the United States that together contribute more than $668 billion to the American economy annually.
The organization also serves as the umbrella organization for more than 200 local Hispanic chambers and business associations in the U.S. and Puerto Rico. For more than three decades, USHCC has been the leading voice for Hispanic business owners in America. From its inception, USHCC’s mission has been to foster economic growth that creates and sustains prosperity for the benefit of the American people.
“UHSCC has been very helpful in introducing me to other companies so that I can expand our customer base,” Ms. Rodriguez added.
As a pioneering entrepreneur and successful business owner, Ms. Rodriguez is always and aggressively looking for news opportunities and new ways to grow the company’s revenue stream. To be sure, scale and scope are important in today’s hyper-competitive market place.
Helping Milagro Packaging thrive are supplier diversity programs. A supplier diversity program is a proactive business program which encourages the use of minority-owned, women-owned, veteran-owned, LGBT-owned, service disabled veteran-owned, historically underutilized business, and Small Business Administration (SBA)-defined small business concerns as suppliers.
As for what advice this blossoming businesswoman has for other business owner seeking opportunities, Rodriguez stresses the importance of joining a regional supplier diversity council.
“They are instrumental in keeping you informed, and getting your company to new prospective
customers,” Rodriguez added. “Make sure and keep your profiles, products and services up to date to ensure that they can provide accurate information to others.”
Senator John McCain
By: Steven Penhollow
In a recent phone interview with Latino Leaders, Arizona Sen. John McCain said it could be argued that the fastest-growing small businesses in the United States are owned by Hispanics.
McCain said there are more than 120,000 Hispanic-owned business in Arizona. Hispanic Purchasing power in the state is in excess of $40 billion, he said, and women own more than 54 percent of Hispanic small businesses.
One of the vital components of all this success is trade with Mexico, he said.
“Mexico is Arizona’s number one trade partner,” he said. “Thirty percent of Arizona’s exports. $16.8 billion in total trade with Mexico in 2015. “111,200 Arizona jobs depend on bilateral trade with Mexico,” he added, “and 65,000 Mexican visitors come here every day to shop and spend.”
In addition to trade, McCain said, there’s the cultural relationship to consider.
“Everything from our cuisine to the celebration of Cinco de Mayo,” he said. “Spanish was spoken in Arizona before English was. Our relationship with Mexico is important, not just economically, but in every other way.”
As Mexico’s economy has improved, McCain said, the number of people coming into the U.S. illegally has dropped to the point that “more people are going back to Mexico than are coming from Mexico into the United States.”
McCain said he is glad that President Donald Trump’s administration seems to have softened its recent rhetoric regarding a proposed 20 percent tax on imports from Mexico to pay for a southern border wall.
“If it happened, you would see severe economic impact on Mexico, which could trigger more illegal immigration,” he said. “It would also have a devastating effect on Arizona’s economy. I was pleased to hear the president’s press person say that it is just one of many options. But it is an option that should be rejected.”
On many economic issues, McCain said he agrees with the administration.
“Reduction in taxes, but most important, reduction in regulations that have stifled our economy over the last eight years,” he said. “This is the slowest recovery from a recession since the Great Depression and one of the reasons for that is the incredibly stifling effect of government regulation on business, including small business.”
Reducing taxes and regulations can be of enormous benefit to the Hispanic community and Hispanic-owned businesses, McCain said.
President Trump has indicated that he wants to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). McCain said NAFTA has been proven to be an incredible success, and wholesale changes to it could trigger chaos.
“(It hasn’t just been a success) economically,” he said, “But in every conceivable way — closer relations, cultural relations. All I am saying is: If it needs to be made better and both sides agree, fine. But a unilateral action by the United States will devastate the economy of Arizona and the economy of Mexico, triggering all sorts of other problems that will result from that.”
This is a very serious situation, McCain said. “I traveled to Mexico City with a number of other senators at the time of the ratification of NAFTA,” he said. “I have a long history of being involved. I traveled with Republican and Democratic senators. Anyone who looks at the state of Arizona’s economy, America’s economy and Mexico’s economy then and now — one of the main reasons we have seen such progress is because of free trade, because of NAFTA.”
McCain said he hopes that cooler heads will prevail. The success of Hispanic-owned businesses in Arizona and other Southwestern states provides an example to the rest of the country, the senator said. “I am incredibly proud of the economic success of our Hispanic citizens and the contributions they have made to Arizona,” he said.
Senator Jeff Flake
By Jason Ogden
A new presidential administration and a new outlook on business and tax regulations could be the key to getting small businesses, both Latino-run and otherwise, off the ground, according to Sen. Jeff Flake, a Republican from Arizona. Flake told Latino Leaders that he hopes the business
regulations will change from what they have been because he believes it would help.
“I would hope that they would benefit from the emphasis on addressing some of the regulatory barriers to economic growth,” Flake said. “I am hoping the Trump administration will continue to where I think they have started to go in getting rid of these barriers.
Flake said changes to the tax code as well as a simplification of the code would be beneficial.
The senator also told Latino Leaders that there were a few things that could be done to help the promotion of Latino businesses, such as helping banks lend more easily to Latinos. “Access to capital is a tough thing and that is making it difficult for small businesses to grow,” Flake said.
He added that the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform bill has worked to push a lot of smaller lenders, which are more apt to lend to small businesses, into larger lenders that are not.
At the same time, businesses do not want to get too big because of Affordable Care Act laws, which require a company to provide health care if a business is larger than 50 employees. Flake said in the future he hoped the regulations would ease.
“Some of the new regulations that were a response to the financial crisis in terms of ratios of capital reserve requirements, I could see those staying,” Flake said. “A lot of those that are intended to look at money laundering and with the border banking.”
But Flake said a lot of the regulations could be rolled back and that most of them are “overkill.”
“I have been talking to bankers saying they could accomplish the same thing with 10 percent of the regulations,” he said. “The overall effort that we’re trying to go through here is to create a conducive tax and regulatory market where the banks will actually go out and look for business, rather than being just concerned with complying with regulation and only doing those loans. (That way it won’t) cause them to be tied up with paperwork.”
Flake said he thinks the market works well when business are not worried and trying to comply with heavily imposed regulations all the time.
“I don’t think we need more government agencies to focus on loans or small business administrations,” he said. “I think we need to lower the regulations.”
Flake recognized that there is some stagnation with growth among Latino businesses. He said with immigration reform and other governmental factors, there could be a slowing in stamina.
“I tried with another of my colleagues, to put out immigration reform that would give more certainty moving ahead to a lot of individuals who are either working in the shadows or are undocumented — or kids that really aren’t able to use the education they received,” Flake said.
He said he was a supporter of the Bridge Act, which would work to provide more children with permanent status in the U.S.
Flake said he also wanted to continue to foster good relationships between the United States and Mexico. “This talk about sending military troops down or just building a wall, that doesn’t do much for neighborliness and we ought to recognize that trade is not a zero-sum game,” Flake said. “It helps us both, or all of us who are involved in it, and security cooperation can be improved.
But it’s only improved if we actually value the relationship we have trade and otherwise with the neighbors.” The senator said he grew up in a rural Arizona ranching community and worked alongside migrant labor.
“We benefited significantly from the relationship we had with those who wanted to come and work,” Flake said. “Many did not have legal status and now do. I have always felt motivation to recognize all the benefits when we have willing workers to take jobs they want to do.
USHCC has compiled a list of top brands that honor diversity. These enterprises have given minority groups an opportunity and have paved the way for other companies to do the same. The USHCC firmly believes in the inclusion of businesses owned by women and minorities, in an effort to broaden the economic development.
$1 billion and up category winners:
•AT&T Services, Inc.
•Avis Budget Group, Inc.
•Ford Motor Company
•Toyota Motor North America
$500 million – $1 billion category winners:
•Pacific Gas and Electric
•Southern California Edison
•United States Postal Service
$250 – $500 million category winners:
•Eagle Rock Village Inc.
•Johnson & Johnson
•The Kroger Co
$100 – $250 million category winners:
•Bank of America
•JP Morgan Chase
•Kaiser Foundation Health Plan Inc.
•The Coca-Cola Company
•Wells Fargo & Company
$75 – $100 million category winners:
•The Home Depot
$50 – $75 million:
•Merck & Co., Inc.
$25 – $50 million:
•American Honda Motor Co., Inc.
•American International Group, Inc.
•MGM International Resorts
•Tarrant County College