By Dawn Scotland
The Truth Reporter
Guests poured into the Toledo Museum of Art’s Glass Pavilion for the Northwest Ohio Minority Business Assistance Center’s inaugural annual gala Saturday evening June 25. Four honorees were highlighted for their success celebrating the NWO-Toledo MBAC’s first year of operation.
“I’m very happy to see all of you here tonight,” acknowledged Stacey Fowler, Regional Director of Ohio Minority Business Assistance Centers, ”We’re here to celebrate a year of amazing triumphs that we’ve been able to achieve on behalf of our minority owned business. Tonight, we’re celebrating our clients, we’re celebrating our partners and our community at large.
“We’re also here to celebrate the work our team has achieved this past year.”
The NWO-Toledo MBAC opened its doors in 2021 and took off running. The center has exceeded its projected goals and the growth over the past three months has been exponential, noted Managing Principal Shanda Gore, EdD.
The evening was a celebration of successes across the board.
In August 2021 the center was assembled and was housed at One Government Center with grant supporters Lucas County Commissioners where they re-introduced themselves to the community. They now have their own office on 3737 W Sylvania Ave. with three Satellite Offices serving 17 counties. During the 2021 fiscal year, NWO-Toledo MBAC has served 205 new clients, procured $5.1 million in contracts and provided 1465 counseling hours though their offices.
The welcome was provided by James Hall (Counselor and Development Advisor for NWO-ToledoMBAC) with Tyrone Alexander, Human Resource Director of the City of Toledo, serving as Master of Ceremonies. An introduction was given by Monica Womack, Chief of Minority Business Division Office of Minority Business of Ohio.
Presentations were given by the Diversity and Inclusion Office of the City of Toledo as well as the Mayor’s Office.
The theme was “Carniball: A Weekend with the Stars” and guests enjoyed masquerade costume items and casino games. The Friday night before supporters participated in a Golf Scramble.
2022 NWO-Toledo MBAC Stars:
- Shooting Star Award – Ella Silva CEO/ President of Garza Construction, Inc. (Fremont, Ohio)
Silva became the president/CEO of Garza Construction, Inc. following the passing of her husband in 2017. With the help of NWO-ToledoMBAC Silva was able to restructure her company, create a maintenance plan for trucks, explore loan opportunities and hire more drivers. She is determined to make Garza Construction, Inc. the best trucking company in the tri-state area. She has grown her fleet of trucks from two to 13 trucks in nine months.
- Rising Star Award – Shalon Carr – Owner of Simplee Cleaning, LLC (Toledo, Ohio)
After years in the automotive industry, Carr started her own cleaning business. NWO-ToledoMBAC helped Carr to restructure her business to provide better wages for her employees, improve her accounting structure and enter a mentoring program to learn different techniques. Simplee Cleaning is continuing to expand its operations in the industry!
- Sunray Advocacy Award – Dawn Watson – Director of Custodians & School Facilities of Sylvania School District (Sylvania, Ohio) The Sylvania School District is the second largest school district in northwest Ohio. Watson oversees 15 buildings: including two high schools, three junior high schools and seven elementary schools and manages 65 employees. She has been recognized numerously for her outstanding work. Watson is a 27-year veteran in the custodial industry and serves as a mentor to clients at the NWO-ToledoMBAC.
- Satellite Spotlight– Terra State Community College (Fremont, OH) Terra State has proudly served Northwest Ohio as a leading educational institution for over 50 years and is an accredited and stat supported institution. They pride themselves in providing the community with accessible and affordable education experiences. Terra State has partnered with NWO-ToledoMBAC to bring education, state awareness and financial literacy to the Fremont/ Sandusky area.
Guest enjoyed open bar cocktail hour with hors d’oeuvre and music by DJ Smooth Flava AKA Dwayne Douglass Sr. Closing Remarks were given by Shanda Gore, EdD.