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Story and photos by I.C.  Jimenez

November 8, 2012 (San Diego)--Heartland Coalition has received the prestigious “Service Firm of The Year” award by the Minority Business Development Agency.  The award, presented October 25 in Riverside, recognizes individuals and organizations that have demonstrated leadership and commitment in advancing minority business enterprises.  The MBDA theme for this year is “Build it here-sell it everywhere.”

In accepting the award, Dr. Mark Hanson, President of the Board, Heartland Coalition, emphasized that “it takes the highest level of community collaboration and a team effort to create sustainable solutions.” Hanson commended Heartland Directors Alan Cassell, Chuck Brands, Ignacio Jimenez, and Ramiro Sandoval for their efforts in housing, green building and energy, training, and healthcare respectively. Dan Sieu, President of SCCGP, who presented the award said Heartland Coalition was selected  in recognition and gratitude for creating so many jobs in construction and manufacturing in Nevada, Arizona, and California. Mr. Sieu also commended Heartland for its work in economic development and especially for its work with incubator companies, both for-profit and non-profit.

The Mission of the Heartland Coalition is to serve low-income residents of  California, Nevada, Arizona, and Alaska with projects in the areas of career and community development, housing, healthcare, environmental protection and clean energy, disaster relief, education, and public art. The Heartland Coalition generates high road, win/win partnerships that create good jobs, capable employees, fair employers, and sustainable communities. Heartland began in 1997 under its dba Heartland Foundation as a volunteer effort to effect positive change in the Renewal Communities of San Diego County. By July 2003, Heartland’s 58 volunteers and 85 business and community partners had served 748 clients. As of 2012, the Heartland Coalition has served more than 2,500 clients, has hired nine full-time and five part-time employees, and has launched a successful housing rehabilitation program across the nation.

Other recipients honored in various categories included Clem Ziroli Jr., President, First Mortgage Corporation, “Finance Champion of the Year”; Edward Shin, President, NongShim America,  Inc. “Minority Manufacturer of the Year,” Michael R. Peevey, President, California Public Utilities Commission, “Distinguished Supplier Diversity Award.”

Additional  awardees included Son Nguyen, Founder & President Veterans Associations of Real Estate Professionals, “Veterans Advocate of  the Year and Beverly Kuykendall, President & CEO, Federal and Commercial Contracts, Inc. “MBDA Person of the Year.”  The award for “Green Organization of the Year” went to Timothy P. White, Chancellor, University of California Riverside, who was recently named as the next Chancellor of the statewide University of California System.

The many dignitaries in attendance included David Honda, MC and Chairman of So Cal Corporate Growth Partners (SCCGP); Alicia Villarreal, Regional Representative, U.S. Secretary of Labor; Fred Latuperissa, Regional Director U.S. & Foreign Commercial Services, U.S. Department of Commerce; Congressman Joe Baca;  and representatives from U.S. Small Business Administration and the Los Angeles Mayor’s Office.