National Minority Business Officials Meet in Mobile on RESTORE Act Inclusion


The National Deputy Director of the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) of the U.S Department of Commerce, Albert Shen and Angela Washington, a Business Development Specialist out of the agency’s headquarters in Washington D.C., extended invitations to Mobile and Pensacola minority businesses to meet for the purpose of  developing strategies for minority inclusion in RESTORE Act projects.  Meetings were facilitated by Pamela Ramos, the Executive Director of the MBDA Mobile Center held with the Mobile NAACP Branch President, the NAACP Pensacola Branch Economic Development Chairman, Assurance Capital/MAXS Technology Group, Hixardt Technologies, Tony McCray and Associates, and numerous minority business representatives from the Mobile area at the offices of the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce.

The meeting with the Assurance Capital/MAXS Technology Group and Hixardt Technologies was a continuation of the dialogue that began in Pensacola at Hixardt offices in November 2015. The Assurance/MAXS Managing Partners, Tom Drysdale of Orange Beach, Alabama and Mark Maish of Detroit Michigan presented their recommended strategy for Gulf Coast minority businesses, non-profits, agencies, neighborhood groups, and faith-based institutions to utilize the JP Morgan Chase Bank first year report of the bank’s $100 million commitment to Detroit, Michigan as a template for Gulf Coast replication.    

Mark Maish, is a retired attorney from JP Morgan Chase Bank who has chosen Pensacola and Hixardt Technologies as the Gulf Coast hub for Assurance Capital’s launch of a proposed BP Oil Spill Settlement Financial Leverage Initiative.  The MBDA Mobile Center, also, facilitated the invitations for the November 2015 meeting with Assurance Capital in Pensacola. A schedule of next step follow-up meetings is being developed for expanded community and business planning sessions on review and analysis for replication of the JP Morgan Chase Bank $100 million commitment to Detroit.

The meeting with regional minority businesses, which was held at the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce, included an agenda focused on developing a RESTORE Act Minority Inclusion Strategy with input from the MBDA national officials.  The agenda included the following discussions: 1.) The business case for diversity in RESTORE funds distribution. 2.) What’s the best advocacy approach? 3.) Who are the target stakeholders and decision makers? and 4.) What are some best dates, times and locations to consider for follow-up meetings in Mobile and Pensacola?

The Pensacola Voice is collaborating with the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce, MBDA Mobile Center, the Mobile and Pensacola NAACP Branches to provide continued reporting on this strategic initiative.

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