I have had the privilege of being able to Chair the Texas Association of African-American Chambers of Commerce, a statewide organization of Black businesses and chambers of commerce in Texas, America’s strongest economy. Since 2014, I have seen the best of times and worst of times for the 250,000+ Black businesses across our state, as I work with our President Charles O’Neal from Dallas, Texas.
This week in Austin, Texas, reflects the best of times as the Texas Black Chamber will recognize individuals in three traditional areas – Business Excellence, Professional Services, and Media. For the first time, in 2017, we will also recognize the elected official whose work has been most beneficial to Texas’ Black-owned businesses. The G.J. Sutton Award is added to our line-up of awards. Each award has distinct, indelible connections to both the work we do and the quality of life for Black Texans.
The Texas Black Chamber will present the A. Maceo Smith Award, in honor of the visionary leader whose efforts led to the creation of a statewide network of Black chambers of commerce recognizes an individual who demonstrates his or her commitment to excellence in their enterprise. Our efforts to improve contracting opportunities with state agencies, particularly in the professional services disciplines will yield increases in engineering, architecture design and other construction-related contract awards to African American professionals. This year’s A. Maceo Smith Business Excellence Award will be presented to Mr. Rodney Craig, CEO of Summus Industries (Sugarland, Texas).
The William Sidney Pittman Award is the Texas Black Chamber’s award named in honor of the first Black architect in Texas – recognizes the professional who embodies the spirit and passion of this legend. Tony Council, P.E. of TLC Engineering, Inc. (Houston, Texas) is this year’s statewide recipient!
Without an effective means to tell our story, the work of TAAACC on behalf of Black businesses would go unreported. Our state’s Black-owned newspapers provide a critical channel of communication and have done so for nearly 150 years. The Richard Nelson Award, named for the man who first published “The Representative” in 1871, will recognize the tireless, often thankless work of our friends in the media. The San Antonio Observer newspaper, one of many papers of the Publishing Company of San Antonio, to include the Register, are the recipients of the 2017 statewide recognition. I congratulate Waseem Ali & Stephanie Zarriello for keeping the Black Press alive in San Antonio, Texas and being a sponsor in our conference.
Last, but certainly not least, the Honorable G.J. Sutton became the first Black elected official from Bexar County when he was elected to serve in the Texas Legislature in 1972, serving until his death in 1976. His prowess as a leader became quickly evident and he was elected to serve as Chair of the Texas Legislative Black Caucus. The G.J. Sutton State Office Building was dedicated in his San Antonio hometown in 1982. All of our activity as an organization is designed to improve business opportunities for Texas’ African American-owned businesses. This year we will present the G.J. Sutton Award and celebrate with Texas State Representative, the Honorable Ron Reynolds, House District 27 (Missouri City, Texas).
All Black Texans are welcome participate in the 2017 Texas Association of African American Chamber of Commerce Annual Business Conference on Friday to show your support for these Black Business leaders. The conference is being held in Austin, Texas at the Hilton Austin Airport on Thursday and Friday, September 28 -29, 2017.
Tickets are limited and on sale online at TAAACC.org