2808 Wheeler Ave., Houston, TX 77004-5351
For Immediate Release
Margo Williams Handy, MWH Public Relations
281.213.9554 | 832.492.2407 | firstname.lastname@example.org
14th Annual African-American Business Achievement Pinnacle Awards
Honored Houston’s Brightest Stars in Business
HOUSTON (Oct. 23, 2008) – The Houston Citizens Chamber of Commerce (HCCC), its sponsors and nearly 900
guests honored the achievements of 18 small business owners at the George R. Brown Convention Center on
Friday, Oct. 17, during its 14th Annual African-American Business Achievement Pinnacle Awards gala. Proceeds from
the gala help support the programs and mission of the HCCC to educate, equip and empower African-American small
Title sponsored by Shell Oil Company for the second consecutive year, the Pinnacle Awards honor African-American
businesses that have made significant contributions to the community, remain positive and proactive despite
adversity and are visionaries.
Roland Martin, CNN contributor, national journalist and author delivered a rousing keynote address. He shared
several keys to success including avoiding negative people and influences that tear down rather than lift up, the
importance of doing business with one another, and the fundamentals of having faith in God.
Three Pinnacle Award finalists in the industry categories of professional services, hospitality, construction,
communications and healthcare were recognized. Three finalists in the Mack H. Hannah Jr. Upstart Business Award
also were honored.
Presented with Hollywood-like glamour and fanfare, the Pinnacle Award was presented to the following five
Clarence D. Carrington Sr., Oaks Batter-Up Texas – Professional Services
Oaks Batter-Up Texas is a state-of-the-art baseball and softball training facility accessible, both logistically and
financially, to inner-city athletes. For the past 14 years, Oaks has been the springboard for African-American athletes
to receive college scholarships and professional baseball contracts.
Sharmagne Taylor, CMP, On-Site Partners - Hospitality
A global company founded in 1998, On-Site Partners offers meeting planning with a focus on housing, registration
and on-site management of conventions for 500-8,000 attendees.
Jason R. Freeman, Hallmark Capital Group – Construction
Established in 2002, Hallmark Capital Group is an international government support services, disaster recovery and
construction management organization.
Oct. 23, 2008
Sonceria Messiah Jiles, Defender Media Group - Communications
Sonny Messiah Jiles purchased The Defender in 1981 at the age of 27. Serving more than 60,000 readers, The
Defender Media Group is a news and information media company offering a weekly newspaper, newly launched Web
site and newspaper in education publications. The Defender recently celebrated its 75th anniversary.
Zeb F. Poindexter III, D.D.S., Poindexter Dental, Inc. - Healthcare
Poindexter Dental, Inc. was incorporated in 1970 and has been in existence since 1956. Poindexter Dental offers
state-of-the-art diagnostic, preventive, restorative, endodontic, orthodontic, periodontic, prosthodontic, cosmetic, oral
surgery and implant solutions.
HCCC is proud to also honor the following businesses that were selected as finalists from more than 50 nominees:
E. Ann Guliex, All-N-One Services, LLC; Jennifer Dean, Dean’s Professional Services - Smith & Dean, Inc.; Tarsha
Gary, CRAVE Gourmet Bakery & Catered Café; Keisha Ervin, Keisha’s Kreations LLC; Esther Francis and Laura
Thurmond, CBIC Construction & Development, LP; Joseph Henderson Sr., Rock Custom Cabinets; Crystal Brown-
Tatum, Crystal Clear Communications; Natalie J Evans, Evans Mundle Communications; Dr. Razak Balogun and Dr.
Derrill James, Bazile Spine Centre; and Ricky Mayes and Lora Mayes, RN, Beacon Home Health Agency, LLC.
Pinnacle winners and finalists expressed their appreciation:
“Thank you for this honor and recognition from our community. I am inspired by the HCCC's example to do more to
support my colleagues in the hospitality industry and to find opportunities for other African- American companies who
are doing great work,” exclaimed Sharmagne Taylor, CMP, On-Site Partners.
“The night was very memorable and the experience of meeting new and exciting colleagues grateful,” Natalie J
Evans, Evans Mundle Communcations, shared.
Clarence D. Carrington Sr., Oaks Batter-Up Texas said, “The process that we just experienced was life as it should
The Mack H. Hannah Jr. Upstart Business Award went to:
Lakesha Reed and Salimah Muhammad, Beaucoup Café
Established December 14, 2006, Beaucoup Café has become a platform for the community. Its mission is to
represent good service, great atmosphere, the best food, and provide an avenue of purpose and place for the
community. It also seeks to offer a variety of quality food in an inspiring atmosphere.
The Upstart Award is sponsored by Capital One Bank, DiverseStaff a Lane Staffing Company, HP and Parsons.
From 30 nominees, Mack H. Hannah Jr. Upstart Business Award finalists were:
A/List Models got its start in August 2006. Its mission is to support community events through compassion, expertise
and structure to brand, build awareness for, and incorporate diversity in any non-profit organization charity, or school
setting by using modeling industry strategies and techniques.
Taylor Smith Consulting, LLC
Oct. 23, 2008
Formed in December 2006, Taylor Smith Consulting, LLC has a mission to provide a professional services program
to the private and public sectors that promote positive employee relations, outstanding customer service and
improved public relationships, while stimulating economic growth. The firm’s services include:
procurement/purchasing, contracting, business development, management consulting, customer service center
operations, strategic planning and project management just to name a few.
The Advocate Award of the Year was awarded to Houston Community College System (HCC). HCC supports small
businesses by providing an employee designated to help maneuver the owner through the HCC system and help
with obtaining certifications. African-American vendors garner a significant number of contracts and new minority
participation has increased by 127 percent.
Additionally, HCC outreach efforts include advertising in African-American media outlets, co-hosting monthly
procurement meetings, and utilizing its HCCTV to publicize upcoming small business events.
Advocate Award finalists were Comerica Bank and Houston Minority Business Council. KBR is the award title
The Media Champion Award was presented to D’Artagnan “D’Art” Bebel, Vice President and General Manager, Fox
26 KRIV-TV, MY 20 KTXH-TV and MyFoxHouston.com, and the entire Fox 26 and My 20 family for its tireless
support of the community.
Comerica Bank was the recipient of HCCC’s inaugural Spirit of the Community Award. Comerica was selected for its
leadership in the Houston community through monetary support and volunteerism. Accepting the award was Irvin
Ashford, Texas Community Development and External Affairs Manager, Corporate Compliance and Public Affairs.
Pinnacle underwriters included: Title Sponsor Shell Oil Company; VIP Reception Title Sponsor Comerica Bank;
Advocate Award Title Sponsor KBR; Advocate Award Co-Presenting Sponsor H-E-B; Upstart Award Co-Presenting
sponsors Capital One Bank, DiverseStaff a Lane Staffing Company, HP and Parsons; Official Airlines of the 2008
Pinnacle Awards Southwest Airlines; Chairman’s Reception Sponsor: Merrill Lynch; Bronze Sponsors: Chevron,
Houston Community College System, Wells Fargo Bank and TXU Energy.
Table Sponsors: Aetna, Amegy Bank, AT&T Yellow Pages, CBIC Construction & Development, LP/Hallmark Capital
Group, Dean’s Professional Services – Smith & Dean, Inc., ExxonMobil, George R. Brown Convention Center,
Glennlock Foods, Ltd., Houston Minority Business Council, Houstonians for Responsible Growth, METRO,
Nationwide Insurance, Silver Eagle Distributors, and Unity National Bank.
Community Partners: Aramark, AT&T, Carter-Gaines Images, CenterPoint Energy, Citi Streets Corporate
Transportation, Cruise Control Valet, Darryl & Co., Eden’s Plantscaping, Grey Goose, Houston Area Urban
League Young Professionals, Keisha’s Kreations, Lexis Florist, Port of Houston Authority, WaMu and
Media Partners KRIV-TV Fox 26, KTXH-TV My 20, Radio One (KMJQ Magic 102.1 FM, KBXX 97.9 The Box and
KROI Praise 92.1 FM), The Wash Allen Show, Houston Business Journal, D-MARS.com, i10mediagroup, Jones
Magazine, Rolling Out Magazine, DBA Business Media, Gospel Truth Magazine, Who’s Who in Black Houston,
Womentality Magazine and The Houston Sun.
About Houston Citizens Chamber of Commerce:
Founded in 1935, the Houston Citizens Chamber of Commerce has a mission to help secure business opportunities
for African-American business owners, entrepreneurs and professionals and provide them with programs and forums
to educate, equip and empower the growth and prosperity of their businesses. For more information, log onto
www.hccoc.org or call 713.522.9745.