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Southern California Minority Business Development Council, Inc.

Celebrating diversity in business

Spring 2004

Save these Dates!


20th annual Supplier of the Year Awards Luncheon will be held on July 7 at the Omni Los Angeles Hotel. Also, our Corporate Leadership Awards Dinner will be held on Oct.15 at the Beverly Hills Hotel.

For information and sponsorship opportunities, call Shawn Smith at (213) 689-6940, or send an e-mail to [email protected]

Minority Business Opportunity Day Attracts 700-plus Attendees

More than 700 corporate representatives and minority business enterprises attended SCMBDC's 35th annual Minority Business Opportunity Day (MBOD) on Feb. 26 at the Pacific Palms Conference Resort in Industry Hills. One of the largest events of its kind in the western United States, MBOD offered minority businesses access to corporate representatives, seminars for purchasing professionals, workshops that address current business challenges, networking opportunities and more. "With a theme `Connecting Today for Business Tomorrow,' MBOD was aimed at helping to provide connections between minority businesses and corporations so they can grow and prosper," according to John W. Murray, Jr., president of the council. Murray added that this year's event was even bigger than last year, attracting dozens of corporate sponsors and exhibitors.


New Corporate Members

Countrywide Cox Communications Hyundai Metropolitan Water District Ralphs University of Southern California

Workshops and seminar topics included: "Effective Project Costing" with Meskerem Tadesse of The Optimize Group, and Shannon Gavie, Nestlé, USA; "Preparing for the Right Connections" with Murray, Fernando Olivares of the Small Business Administration, and Nicole Ganier Cosme, Act·1 Personnel Services, and "Expanding Your Connectivity" with Kristin Houston and Mary Delmege of the U.S. Commercial Service, and David Josephson, Export-Import Bank of the United States. In addition, a panel of corporate experts offered tips on how minority businesses can more effectively

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MBE Spotlight.....................2 Around the Chapters.............3 Successful Links ................4 Upcoming Events . ..............6

SCMBDC's New Executive Board

The council recently held an election of officers for its executive board. The following officers will serve from 2004 to 2006.

Chair - DeLynne Ano, Nestlé, USA, Inc. Immediate Past Chair - Anna S. Johnson, The Boeing Company Chair, Central Valley Chapter ­ Lee Ann Rice, ChevronTexaco Chair, Orange County Chapter ­ Sandra C. Edmonson, The Boeing Company Vice Chair, Corporate Programs - Anthony Piazza, American Honda Motor Co., Inc. Vice Chair, External Affairs - Joseph Alderete, Southern California Edison Company Vice Chair, Internal Affairs - Richard Chacon, Union Bank of California

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MBE Spotlight

Taking Juanita's Foods Beyond Menudo

For Gina De La Torre-Harpur, growing up in her grandfather's family-run business meant "having as much canned Menudo and tuna as we wanted." Today, De La Torre-Harpur is the third-generation family member to run Juanita's Foods, the world's largest maker of Menudo, a popular Mexican stew.

Since the company's founding in 1946 by George De La Torre Sr., and his nephew, Albert Guerrero, Juanita's Foods has grown from producing Menudo and packing fish for sport fishermen to becoming a leading manufacturer of authentic Mexican food. De La Torre-Harpur's father, George De La Torre, Jr., concentrated on developing other Mexican foods following his father's death in 1968. After acquiring the Pico Pica Hot Sauce brand in 1977, Juanita's Foods built a 135,000-square-foot plant in 1984 and began producing a hot and spicy version of Menudo, Albondigas (a Mexican meatball soup), Pico Pica Taco Sauce and became the first company to introduce a Mexican-style hominy. The Wilmington, Calif.-based company also produces other soups, such as pozole, different varieties of Menudo, red and green enchilada sauce, ready-to-serve mole, and recently introduced a line of authentic Mexican drinks, including Horchata and Champurrado. Its best-selling product remains Menudo, and the company, with its 120 employees, churns out 200,000 cans a day. Moving beyond neighborhood Hispanic markets, the company sells its products to major grocery store chains across the country. "My approach is to turn our attention to the marketing side to get closer to consumers and take advantage of our brands," she says. "Our consumers have roots based in Mexico, but they're looking to maintain their heritage through food. Because of twoincome households, tight family schedules, and other extracurricular activities, there's not much free time to make those authentic dishes," she says, adding that homemade Menudo requires a day to prepare. "That's where we can help keep the tradition alive with our expanding product lines." How does a company grow from $4 million in sales in 1981 to roughly $50 million today? By consistently producing highquality, authentic products. "We find products that aren't currently being developed and try to find those niches," she says, adding that the company strives to be No.1 or 2 in each of its respective food categories. She added that the company has been able to attract high quality employees. "We have great employees and managers and have very little turnover," she says, adding that the average tenure is 20 years.

"We find products that aren't currently being developed and try to find those niches." --Gina De La Torre-Harpur

With De La Torre-Harpur at the helm, and her brother, Mark, as vice president of operations, the company remains a tight-knit, family-owned business. Three years ago, the company added a board of advisors. "These advisors -- impartial, proven, successful business people -- give our family advice on the best way to run the business," she says. Juanita's Foods became certified by SCMBDC last year. "More companies are interested in working with minority-owned companies. There aren't a lot of Hispanic food manufacturers that are privately held, so we could use it [MBE certification] to our advantage and make connections. Being certified has allowed us to prove that we are minority owned."

De La Torre-Harpur's father, currently chairman of the board, turned over the company reins to her in 2000. As president, De La Torre-Harpur says her goal is to continue to build on her father's strategy by focusing on expanding its niche in the Hispanic grocery segment.

Whether there will be a fourth-generation family member running Juanita's Foods remains to be seen. De La Torre-Harpur's children, ages 10 and 12, may be too young to consider that prospect. But at least, like De La Torre-Harpur, they can eat as much Menudo as they like.



Around the Chapters

Orange County

The chapter and Yum! Brands hosted a Construction Matchmaking event on March 16 at Taco Bell's headquarters in Irvine. The event offered information to MBEs in the construction industry on how to do business with Yum! Brands, which is the parent company of A&W All American Food, KFC, Long John Silver's, Pizza Hut, and Taco Bell.

News Briefs

NBA and USC Turn to SCMBDC

Two leading organizations ­ the NBA and USC ­ recently turned to the council to solicit names of certified minority business enterprises (MBEs) for procurement services. "It is gratifying that such well-known organizations see the importance and value of our programs and services," said Council President John W. Murray, Jr., adding that the council forwarded names of several MBEs to the NBA and USC. "We are frequently asked to refer MBEs to corporate members and others. That's a direct benefit of being part of the council."

Central Valley

Lee Ann Rice of Chevron Texaco has been named the new chair of the CV Chapter. She succeeds DeLynne Ano, supplier diversity development manager for Nestlé USA, who is now SCMBDC's chairperson. "Lee Ann is the perfect person to take over as chair and we look forward to working with her to increase our presence in the Central Valley," says SCMBDC President John W. Murray, Jr. "We appreciate DeLynne's hard work, and are delighted that we'll continue to have her valuable input and expertise." ...The chapter hosted a Networking & Certification Workshop on March 24.

New MBEIC Vice Chairs

The Minority Business Enterprise Input Committee vice chairs selected by the council's minority business enterprises were: Vandana Gupta, Ingenious Information Technology, Inc., Los Angeles; Vickie Roddcharoen, V.R. & Associates, Orange County, and Abe Morales, Code-Precast Products, Inc., Central Valley. "We now have representation on behalf of MBEs in our three regions," says Murray, adding that the new vice chairs replace former MBEIC Vice Chair Reginald Dunham, DPI International, and OC MBEIC Chair Otis Bradley, Surepak Containers and Display. "We appreciate Reginald's and Otis' leadership and dedication to the MBEIC." The MBE At-Large Quarterly MBEIC Meeting was held March 11 at American Honda. The event included the installation of the new officers and attracted nearly 70 attendees.

Utility Matchmaking

The Greater LA MBEIC Chapter's "Energetic Connections for Strategic Opportunities" event attracted nearly 70 MBEs and 15 utilities, including Southern California Gas Co., Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, Metropolitan Water District, Southern California Edison, and Southwest Gas Corporation. Hosted by The Gas Company on April 23, the event was designed to strategically match minority suppliers with buyers and decision-makers from the utility industry. The event featured a panel discussion on "Keys to Doing Business with the Utilities" and included: Chuck Pulliam, The Gas Company; John Arena and Nicole Meggerson de Martinez, MWD; Cynthia Ringel, LADWP; Vince Craney, Edison, and J.D. Calhoun, Southwest Gas Corporation.

SCMBDC's New Executive Board

(continued from page 1)

Vice Chair, Supplier Programs - Albert A. Stephens, Jr., Los Angeles Department of Water and Power Chief Financial Officer - Fred Lona, AT&T Corporation Secretary - Ariana Willie, Kaiser Permanente President - John W. Murray, Jr., SCMBDC "We are fortunate to have a board that is dedicated to strengthening our position as the premiere minority business advocacy organization in Southern California," says SCMBDC President John W. Murray. "We are grateful to former Chairperson Anna Johnson for initiating changes and look forward to continuing that momentum under DeLynne Ano's leadership."



Successful Links

Honda Helps Creative Cuisine Serve Up Tasty Meals

It was an opportunity that was too good to pass up: a chance to fulfill a dream with the support of a major corporation, American Honda Motor Co., Inc.

That's the way Sharon Johnson remembers the conversation she had a few years ago with Tony Piazza, Honda's assistant vice president of human resources and administration, in which he encouraged her and colleague Anthony Trujillo to start their own food service management business. Johnson and Trujillo started S&A Creative Cuisine in 2001, and Honda turned over the cafeteria and catering services contract to their new company. In addition to its food service business, Honda also provided S&A with a vehicle, office space, equipment, financial advice, mentoring, and more. "There was a lot of support from Honda from the beginning," Johnson remembers. "Every week, they'd ask, `How are you doing?' It was very encouraging." According to Piazza, Honda doesn't have a formal mentoring program, but the company has mentored and supported the growth of several minority, women-owned and small businesses in the past. Since 2000, Honda has tripled the dollars spent with minority and women-owned businesses, and this year, purchases from these businesses will account for more than $140 million. "We saw two hardworking individuals with a tremendous amount of potential. It was a good decision for Honda and a great opportunity for them. They exceeded our expectations," Piazza says. In addition to preparing 1,500 meals each week day at Honda, S&A -- working out of Honda's facility -has provided food and catering services for Metropolitan Water District, Kaiser Permanente, General Electric, Union Bank of California, Del Amo Hospital, and more. Johnson is grateful that Honda's business has given her company an entrée with other companies. "You say the magic words, `I have a contract with American Honda,' and the light bulb goes on," she says, adding that the company has grown from 18 to 25 employees and revenues have exceeded $1.8 million. She says SCMBDC was also instrumental in helping S&A get started. "They provided me with information, identified key people within the city, and gave me exposure," she says. Most importantly, the council provided minority business enterprise (MBE) certification, she adds. "When I would go out and look for business, companies wanted to know if I was certified. You have credibility and are seen as a viable minority business enterprise." "MBE certification is one of the most important services we offer," says SCMBDC President John W. Murray, Jr. "As S&A learned early on, it definitely helps to get your foot in the door with major corporations." Trujillo left the company last year, and Johnson, who serves as CEO, renamed it Creative Cuisine Concepts. She intends to grow the business, but at the same time, she wants to cultivate and develop her employees. "I want to change people's lives," she says, adding that minorities are often in the bottom rung in the food service industry's corporate ladder. "I want to provide my employees with training so they have a brighter future. "Honda absolutely changed my life for the better by giving me this opportunity. It's time for me to give something back."

Sharon Johnson, CEO of Creative Cuisine, and Tony Piazza, assistant vice president of human resources at American Honda.

At the time, Johnson and Trujillo, both veterans in the food service industry, were working for Aramark Corp., which was providing cafeteria and catering services for the associates at American Honda's North American headquarters. Johnson and Trujillo worked closely with Piazza's team while managing the cafeteria over the years. After realizing their dream was to start their own food service business, Piazza encouraged them to move forward with their plans. He offered them the opportunity to service American Honda, according to Johnson. "We got to know Sharon and Anthony pretty well," adds Piazza, "and they talked about a dream they had of someday owning their own business. The more we talked, the more we realized that Honda might be able to make something happen."

Tips for MBEs from Sharon Johnson:

1. 2. 3.

Get hooked up with the council. They provide you with direction. Network -- get your name out. Be exceptional at what you do. No one is going to give you a contract just because you're an MBE. You have to be exceptional.



Minority Business Opportunity Day

(continued from Page 1)

reach corporations. Panelists included Clark Terrill, Honda; Rueben Smith and Jeff Hall, UPS, and Deborah Pryor, Shell Oil Products, U.S. Also, featured speaker Reginald Layton, director of diversity business development for Johnson Controls, Inc., talked about the company's supplier diversity program. Last year, the company spent more than $1 billion with minority and women-owned firms and was named Corporation of the Year by the National Minority Supplier Development Council.

Taking part in the ribbon-cutting ceremony were: (front row, from left) Audrey Goins Brichi, Vandana Gupta, Anthony Piazza, Sandra Edmonson, DeLynne Ano, Virginia Gomez, Cynthia Ringel, Vickie Roddcharoen, Richard Chacon, Anna Johnson. (Back row): Bob Carlson, Fred Lona, and John W. Murray, Jr.

Corporate Sponsors

American Honda Motor Co.; BP; Toyota Motor Sales, USA, Inc.; Union Bank of California; Southern California Gas Co./Sempra Energy Utilities; Northrop Grumman; The Boeing Company; Nestlé, USA; Warner Bros.; IBM Corporation; Raytheon Company; Kaiser Permanente; United Parcel Service; WellPoint Health Networks; Citigroup/Citibank; AT&T Corporation; Wells Fargo; Nissan North America; Bank of America; Los Angeles Department of Water & Power; ChevronTexaco; Sprint; Boise Office Solutions; Southwest Gas Corporation, and Southern California Edison.

Attendees participated in several workshops and seminars.

Corporate Exhibitors

Miller Brewing Company; Comerica Bank; Apple Computer; Avon Products; The Coca-Cola Company; American Airlines; Metropolitan Water District; U.S. Bank; Orange County Transportation Authority; United Airlines; Enterprise Rent-a-Car; Frito-Lay; Macy's West; Reliant Energy; Shell Oil; Turner Construction; Xerox Corporation; Community Development Commission. Corporate representatives also in attendance were from Fluor; Mars, Inc.; MCI; Robinsons May/Meier & Frank; K-Mart; Nextel Communications; xpdex, Continental North American; Conocco Phillips; AFLAC; County of LA Department of Public Works; Bank of the West; KVS Transportation, Inc., U.S. Commercial Services, and Wal-Mart.

MBE Sponsors and Exhibitors

OFS, The Business Doctors; Rose International; Sherwood Florist; Global Branding Group; South Coast Paper; The U.S. Metro Group; V.R. & Associates, and Adhesive Systems, Inc.

Reginald Layton of Johnson Controls talks to attendees about the company's award-winning supplier diversity program.



Upcoming Events



Smart Tips for MBEs

PR 101: Getting the word out

xpedx Forum and Greater LA MBEIC Quarterly Meeting, Los Angeles OC Chapter MBE Networking Reception, Orange County Supplier of the Year Awards Luncheon, Omni Los Angeles Hotel CV Chapter Matchmaking Event, ChevronTexaco, Bakersfield

about your business

Whatever kind of business you're in, you should think of public relations as part of your overall sales and marketing efforts. PR simply means giving your products and services some visibility, which can translate into increased sales. Different from advertising, it is a cost-effective way to increase your company's profile. Here are a few tips for getting your name out:

Set your goals. Do you want

publicity about a new service or product? What are the messages you want to convey? Once you identify these, you'll know what action steps to take.


News releases.

These can be used to announce a new product or service, a milestone, or event. Send your news to local media and include pertinent information ­ who, what, when, where, and why. Don't forget to include a contact name. (To view examples of news releases, visit While there's no guarantee it will get published, if it's well written and newsworthy, it's possible you'll get some publicity.






Greater LA MBEIC Meeting & Matchmaking Event, Metropolitan Water District, Los Angeles

For more information about these and other events, visit

Events. Invite the media to events,

open houses, product launches, etc. ­ they just might come and write about them. Be sure to have background materials describing the purpose of the event.


Southern California Minority Business Development Council (SCMBDC) is the largest nonprofit minority business advocacy organization in the region, serving 1,300 minority business enterprises and 200 corporate members throughout 13 counties. Our mission is to support and develop minority business enterprises to compete and succeed in the open market. We are one of 40 regional councils in the National Minority Supplier Development Council.

Look for other opportunities.

Consider speaking engagements and other public forums to get your company's name out. Sometimes, the media covers these events and you might find yourself quoted as an expert in your field. By investing some time on PR, you could see your company profile -- and sales -- grow.

Identify key media. Which media reaches your target audience? Put together a list of local newspapers, magazines, TV and radio stations and send them announcements about your company.




515 S. Flower St., Suite1301 Los Angeles, CA 90071 Tel: 213/689-6960 Fax: 213/689-1707


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