Partners’ News


On October 23rd, 2019, Governor Gavin Newsome met with the African American Empowerment Committee, a coalition of African American businesses and civic leaders from Northern and Southern California for a second time at Governor Newsome and community membersthe offices of Gene Hale, President of G&C Equipment Corporation and Chairman of the Greater Los Angeles African American Chamber of Commerce (GLAAACC) to discuss a range of issues impacting the African American community, including but not limited to criminal justice reform, homelessness, education, government appointments, and business process reforms for state agencies dealing with providing economic fairness to the African American community. The committee is chaired by Alice Huffman and Pastor Edgar Boyd. Gene Hale is the chair of the small business committee.

The Governor said he is serious about the items the coalition has submitted to him. He explained that his African American appointees include the Director of Caltrans, his Judicial Secretary, Inspector General for Caltrans, Legislative Secretary, Legal Affairs Secretary, Senior Policy Advisor for Higher Education, and other high profile positions. He is still looking to fill middle managers positions because they are the ones that interact with the people on the ground and are more sensitive to the needs of the African American communities.

“The coalition believes the Governor is on the right track to making substantial changes and will meet with the coalition to discuss the progress at the next meeting in San Francisco,” said Ms. Huffman. Gene Hale, chair of the small business committee, said he agrees with the current progress, but there is still a long way to go.

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Professional Development Conference in San Diego Inspired More Than 400 Black Technical Professionals

NSBE Professionals, the 4,000-member organization for STEM practitioners within the National Society of Black Engineers, recently hosted its annual Professional Development Conference in San Diego, California. The five-day event, held at the San Diego Marriott Mission Valley Hotel, attracted more than 400 attendees and provided a healthy atmosphere for networking, employee recruitment and technical training.

The conference began with a “Welcome to San Diego” networking event sponsored by Solar Turbines. Other activities included a reception hosted by NSBE’s Healthcare Innovation Special Interest Group (HISIG) and sponsored by Thermo Fisher Scientific, and a meet and mingle event hosted by NSBE’s Information Technology Think Tank Special Interest Group. Amazon and Facebook sponsored hospitality suites.



Amazon, the Platinum Sponsor of the conference, also hosted a networking mixer, a web service training course and a Tech Talk Series, which offered knowledge about recent technical innovations. An Executive Leadership Luncheon sponsored by the company provided an overview of cutting-edge technologies.


A workshop presented by United Technologies Corporation discussed data and access applications for developing geospatial information systems (GIS) technologies. Other workshop sessions covered topics such as corporate leadership as a black professional and creating start-up businesses. Communication-related workshops included understanding personalities; interview preparation, presented by Dialpad; and branding via LinkedIn and social media. Panel discussions covered diversity topics and included a Mentoring Series.

Baxter Healthcare Corporation, longtime partner with NSBE’s HISIG, shared strategies to navigate challenges in medical device development and discussed healthcare disparities in the black community. HISIG also organized a tour of global medical technology company Becton Dickinson (BD).

The conference’s Luncheon & Distinguished Speaker Series featured William (“Billy”) Cohn, M.D., of Johnson & Johnson, who shared his experiences in running with an idea, assembling a team and raising capital.

The Aerospace Industry Exchange and Collaboration Circle discussed how to leverage industry research to support innovative solutions. Ghana Innovation and STEM Entrepreneurship Centre was present to provide an environment for innovators to build relationships.

Three of NSBE’s 11 Special Interest Groups (SIGs) hosted informational meetings offering opportunities for attendees to get involved with the groups: Women in Science & Engineering (WiSE), Environmental Engineering and Transportation.

A main conference event, the Career Expo, gave employers and academic institutions the opportunity to recruit talented technical professionals. Exhibitors included Accenture, Amazon, Dialpad, DropBox, Ingredion, Ingersoll Rand, Rockwell Automation, RTI, Solar Turbines Incorporated, ThermoFisher, United Technologies Corporation and the University of Washington Bothell – School of STEM Graduate Programs.

To “positively impact the community” is a mandate for NSBE members, and the conference fulfilled that with its #Community Matters: NSBE Public Policy Roundtable and a community outreach event named Self-ESTEM, which exposed middle school and high school students to engineering professionals and science activities.

The conference’s culminating event, the Evening of Excellence Scholarship Gala, raised funds to support NSBE’s Edward Barnette Jr. Community Impact Scholarship, which benefits select NSBE members pursuing STEM education. The gala also celebrated the achievements of some of the best and brightest individuals and organizations in the STEM fields and in the broader community.

To learn about NSBE’s 2020 Professional Development Conference in Miami, Florida, visit the website, or the Facebook page, .

Next Level Business: 2019 Texas Black Expo

Our goal for the 2019 Texas Black Expo (TBE) was to take the event to the next level while simultaneously inspiring other business owners to go higher in their own companies because we believe strong businesses yield strong communities.

We are proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish at this year’s Summer Celebration and other events throughout the year to help positively change people’s lives. With a theme of “Next Level Business: Educating. Investing. Expanding.” we endeavored to connect the dots for small businesses, community members and our youth.

More than 120 businesses from various industries exhibited their products and services before thousands of attendees at the 2019 Summer Celebration. Over the course of two days, business owners came face-to-face with a large pool of customers and potential customers as they displayed their wares and demonstrated their services. Through their appearance at the Expo, exhibitors were able to increase brand awareness, network with other business owners, sell their products and other offerings, and receive valuable, on-the-spot feedback from an engaged customer base.

Businessmen and women at the top of their game shared secrets to their success as entrepreneurs and highlights on how they thrive in business. Attendees enjoyed a light breakfast while learning strategies for their companies.

Top business leaders and organizations that work to foster entrepreneurship and economic empowerment were honored at the Corporate Awards Luncheon. This year’s honorees included Ed Ryland (Arvo Realty Advisors), McDonald’s Houston, Dr. Umekei Smith (US Dentistry), Jerry Martin (KPRC Channel 2).An inspiring keynote address was delivered by the President of Business Operations for the Houston Astros, Mr. Reid Ryan. The event was sponsored by HEB, Enterprise, KPRC Channel 2 and Myrtle Consulting Group.

New this year, was the Aspire Youth Entrepreneur Camp. The camp took place June 17 – 28,2019, and its purpose was to promote entrepreneurial awareness for young, future businessowners. The program got underway with a fun and exciting pep rally, followed by a series of speakers, field trips, and hands-on projects. Students received a business plan format, tools for effective presentations and exposure to dozens of businesses in various industries. The Camp was hosted at HCC’S North East campus and sponsored by the Minority Business Development Agency.

Technology is an important part of every aspect of our lives, so for the 16th annual event, we introduced the Texas Black Expo mobile app! The app allowed attendees to stay updated on all of the weekend’s activities, get descriptions of the panels and even purchase tickets to ancillary events. For the Corporate Award Luncheon, a digital version of the program was made available on, where it was viewed by 226 people during the 90-minute event. The TBE Summer Celebration weekend has massive social media engagement, with Facebook and Instagram being the top platforms for our audience.

Thank you for your continued support, and we look forward to working together next year.

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