Donald R. Cravins Jr., Under Secretary of Commerce for Minority Business Development, congratulates Deidre Malone, founder/CEO of The Carter Malone Group, for her company's recognition as the 2022 Minority Marketing & Communications Firm of the Year. (Courtesy photo)

A company that nets a Minority Enterprise Development Award has earned the highest level of national recognition that a minority-owned firm can receive from the U.S. Department of Commerce. Among the 2022 winners is The Carter Malone Group of Memphis.

Founded in 2003 by President/CEO Deidre Carter Malone, The Carter Malone Group has been named the 2022 Minority Marketing & Communications Firm of the Year. It is one of the Mid-South’s largest minority and woman-owned public relations agencies.

Known as the MED Week Awards, the honors celebrate the outstanding achievements of minority entrepreneurs, as well as the individuals and organizations that have demonstrated their commitment to advancing minority business enterprises.

The awards were awarded in Washington, D.C last Wednesday (Sept. 21) during the National MED Week conference, which convened Sept. 18-24 under the theme Power in Capital and Strength in Equity.

“This award reinforces the fact that minority businesses are successful and thriving,” said Malone.

The Carter Malone Group was nominated by The Tennessee Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) Business Center, which is operated by the Mid-South Minority Business Council Continuum (MMBC Continuum under the U.S. Department of Commerce.

The Tennessee MBDA Business Center is part of a national network focused on the growth trajectory of minority businesses while facilitating access to national public and private sector opportunities.

Deidre Malone and Jozelle Booker during the 2022 MED Week Awards in Washington, D.C. (Courtesy photo)

“We are proud to have one of our MBDA Business Center clients acknowledged amongst the elite firms being recognized nationally for the quality work that they provide on a local, regional and national scale,” said Jozelle Booker, operator of the Tennessee MBDA Business Center and president and CEO of The MMBC Continuum.

The Carter Malone Group (CMG) is a long-time member of The MMBC Continuum.

“We have won many awards over the years but this award means a great deal to me and my firm for a number of reasons,” said Malone, who acknowledged “an amazing staff who always goes the extra mile for our clients and me, and it shows in the quality of our work.”

“(W)e were nominated by one of the hardest working agencies that supports minority businesses, The Mid-South Minority Business Council Continuum through the Tennessee MBDA Business Center it operates.”

Pictured: U.S. Deputy Sec. of Commerce Don Graves (left); Deidre Malone, founder/CEO of The Carter Malone Group, and Under Secretary of Commerce for Minority Business Development Don Charvins. (Courtesy photo)

CMG represents over 25 active clients including; the Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority, the City of Memphis, Comcast, Rhodes College, and Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare.

“The MED Week Award is an incredible honor for The Carter Malone Group,” said Malone. “In 2023, CMG will celebrate a milestone anniversary with the firm hitting the 20-year mark.”

The 2022 National Minority Business Award recipients are: 

  • Robert J. Brown Minority Business Enterprise of the Year – J. Russell & Company. Founded in 1952, the Atlanta-based firm has grown into one of the largest Black-owned construction services firms in the U.S. and has expanded to include service areas such as program management, real estate development, and property management.
  • Minority Construction Firm of the Year – Onyx Enterprises, Inc., is a certified woman and minority owned small business headquartered in Detroit. It provides engineering consulting, project management and construction management services to local, state, federal government, engineering consulting firms and contractors.
  • Minority Export Firm of the Year – Tecma. Founded over three decades ago, Tecma designed a business model, the Mexico Shelter Manufacturing Partnership (MSMP), that has helped clients streamline business operations in Mexico.
  • Minority Technology Firm of the Year – LilliiRNB, Inc. The enterprise solutions company specializes in enterprise Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions, with a focus on retail technology for point-of-sale systems and returns/refund management.
  • Minority Manufacturing Firm of the YearPiping Technology & Products, Inc. Known as a one-stop-shop for pipe supports, expansion joints, shock control devices, and more, Piping Technology & Products and its wholly-owned subsidiaries specialize in a wide range of manufacturing techniques that include metal forming, bellows forming, machining, and welding.
  • Minority e-Commerce Firm of the Year – Curacubby. Curacubby is a complete online school management system that handles enrollment, billing and payment processing, account management, reporting, and revenue growth. After founder Steven Khuong’s son was diagnosed with Autism, a group of passionate parents and educators started a preschool program that offered a whole-child approach to educating children with special needs. Curracubby aims to bridge the gap between quality education and mobile commerce.
  • Minority Veteran-owned Firm of the Year – CG Green Construction Company. A “Veteran-Powered” certified woman, Native American, and Service-Disabled Veteran Owned Company, GC Green is working towards combating climate change and climate resiliency.

Champions of minority business development

  • Access to Capital Award – Tom Espinoza of Raza Development Fund and Erica Y. Miles of Wells Fargo. Miles serves as a senior consultant, SVP for Wells Fargo Bank, building national relationships with diverse businesses and communities and advising on the bank’s company-wide diversity, equity and inclusion. Tom Espinoza is the president, CEO, and co-founder of Raza Development Fund (RDF), the largest U.S. Latino Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) for the past 20 years.
  • Distinguished Supplier Diversity Award – Ralph Sagaille of The Walt Disney Company. Sagaile serves as the director of Supplier Diversity and Sustainability.

Individual recognition

  • The Ronald H. Brown Leadership Award (inspired by the late U.S. Secretary of Commerce) – John F. Robinson, one of the 12 founding members of The National Minority Business Council, Inc. (NMBC).
  • The Advocate of the Year Award – Jason Trimiew of Meta Platforms, Inc. In 2016, Trimiew joined Meta (formerly Facebook) to launch and lead the company’s supplier diversity program and create more opportunity for diverse-owned firms to do business with Meta and the people and communities that Meta connects.
  • The Abe Venable Legacy Award for Lifetime Achievement – Robert F. Smith, founder, chairman and CEO of Vista Equity Partners. He directs the firm’s investment strategy, governance, and investor relations. Smith is also the founding director and President of the Fund II Foundation, which is dedicated to preserving African American cultural richness, promoting human rights, investing in music education, and conserving the environment.