Upstate Minority Economic Alliance Announces Community Engagement Award Finalists

Companies to be recognized at UMEA’s inaugural awards event, May 24

Syracuse, NY – The Upstate Minority Economic Alliance (UMEA) congratulates several public and private organizations that help fuel the region’s economy through their commitment to Minority and Women Owned Business Enterprises (MWBE) growth. UMEA Community Engagement Awards finalists were selected from an incredible pool of thoughtful, active and dedicated community members for this honor.

During the event UMEA will also highlight WBE Businesses on the Horizon including: Me’Shae Brooks-Rollings; Eillen Collins, Admin On Call; and Global Access.

Rickey T. Brown, Executive Director of UMEA.

“Through this important event we recognize the many minority-owned companies that help fuel the region’s economy through their persistence, commitment, and dedication to increasing opportunities for all MWBE businesses,” said Rickey T. Brown, executive director of UMEA. ”We are grateful to these individuals and organizations for their leadership and impact on our community.”

A single company or individual will be recognized in each category at UMEA’s Community Engagement Awards, May 24. The event celebrates and recognize the many public, private, and corporate institutions that support and contribute to the success of our regional MWBE firms.

The event will also feature a keynote address by Vaughn Irons, chief executive officer of APD Solutions, and Atlanta Businessman of the Year.

Vaughn D. Irons, Chief Executive Officer, M.B.A., C.A.P.S

Vaughn D. Irons, 15 year resident of metropolitan Atlanta and eight year resident in District 5 with much consideration and prayer, has humbly decided to seek election as 5th District Commissioner, DeKalb County.

Vaughn was born in a caring but economically distressed Syracuse, New York. Although both parents were actively involved in his life, he was primarily raised by a single-mother who stressed education and fighting for human rights. He is a product of his family roots in Thomasville, Georgia and in Bamberg, South Carolina where his father and mother’s families lived. Both of his parents were the first in their families to attend college. Vaughn’s proud mother is currently a senior administrator at Syracuse University in New York and Vaughn’s father is one of the first African-Americans to receive a Master Degree in City Planning from the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech).

At an early age, Vaughn learned the value of saving and homeownership from his grandparents who purchased the family’s first home IN CASH after saving for 48 years – and Vaughn took an interest in neighborhoods and community from that time forward. He realized the inconsistencies between neighborhoods and desired to do something about it one day. He committed his life to being a part of creating and developing community solutions instead of just complaining about their problems. Read more about the keynote Speaker click on the following link: Vaughn D. Irons, Chief Executive Officer, M.B.A., C.A.P.S

Community Engagement Awards Finalists
 Executive of the Year
  • Kerry Quaglia, Chief Executive Officer, Home HeadQuarters Inc.
  • David Nutting, Chairman and CEO, VIP Structures
  • Robert Simpson, President, CenterState CEO
Procurement Professional of the Year
  •  Lamont Mitchell, Director of Minority Affairs and MWBE Compliance Officer, City of Syracuse
  • Tajuana “Tae” Cerutti, Division of Purchase, Onondaga County
  • Katelyn Wright, Executive Director, Greater Syracuse Land Bank
 Community Partner of the Year
  •  Pathfinder Bank
  • United Way of Broome County
  • Central New York Community Foundation
 Innovator of the Year
  •  Deborah Little, Lil More Stix
  • Community Organization of the Year: Home HeadQuarters Inc.
 Community Development Project of the Year
  • Price Rite Supermarket
  • O.D.E. Development Project
  • Salina 1st, LLC