Minority contractors honored at Golden Shovel Awards

Keynote speaker and 2021 BET Business Icon of the Year Deryl McKissack addresses the crowd at the third annual Golden Shovel Awards. (Photo courtesy The Way Up Creative Group)

When you’re great at what you do, a lot of folks want to let you know, which was the case at the third annual Golden Shovel Awards and Business Expo at Globe Life Field in Arlington.

The event honored the top minority contractors throughout the North Texas area that are active members of the National Association of Minority Contractors (NAMC).

Master of ceremonies for the evening was DeDe McGuire from K104 FM, with Fort Worth native singer/songwriter Susan Carol providing entertainment. The keynote address was delivered by BET’s Business Icon of the Year (2021) award winner Deryl McKissack of big-business construction fame.

The event also included a number of local dignitaries, including Mansfield Mayor Michael A. Evans and Arlington Mayor Jim Ross.

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Congressman Marc Veasey provided a proclamation, noting the NAMC-DFW, founded in 2016 by Demetria Bivens, “advocates for a diverse membership to access contracts, resources and increase readiness within the construction industry through collaboration with interested stakeholders.”

Guest speaker Shelby Scales from the U.S. Department of Transportation, told the crowd of more than 400 about Justice 40, which she explained is 40% of the amount spent to address the disparities in climate impact, transportation disadvantages, health, environmental, and economic disadvantages. She encouraged those in attendance to become more involved in change initiatives on the federal level by commenting on proposals online, participating in bids and solicitation, planning, and public engagement.

“We need you at the table. We need your membership at the table. We need to hear from you,” Scales said. “We need to hear about the good stories that are happening, but we also need to hear about your challenges as well. We cannot do it all by ourselves, as we know.”

McKissack’s address was based on the message of perseverance through challenges with a recurring theme of “You won’t break my soul.”

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The most heartfelt award of the evening, Golden Shovel’s Champion Award, was presented by Bivens. Through tears – her own and those of the recipient – the award went to Christina Brooks, who was hired as the city of Fort Worth’s first Diversity and Inclusion Officer in 2019.

Other awards presented:

  • Transformation of the Year: Skystream Aerial
  • Community Outreach and Diversity Advocacy: AT&T
  • Project of the Year: Moody Center for Breast Health, PHHS
  • Major Corporate Partner of the Year: McCarthy Building Companies
  • Public Entity of the Year: Dallas Independent School District
  • Safety Excellence: JE Dunn Construction
  • Supplier of the Year: Fast Signs-North Arlington
  • Contractor of the Year: The Crowther Group
  • S/MWBE Firm of the Year: Butler and Butler Construction

The evening’s opening remarks were given by NAMC National President Wendell Stemley.

“I want to thank the DFW chapter for doing a great job of bringing all components of our industry together for this event. From architecture to engineering to construction to suppliers, large or small, they made sure we had the right people in the room,” he said. “With that, it was great seeing our national and local dignitaries, major corporate partners and MWBEs networking at the business expo and dining together at the awards gala, because we need them all to succeed.

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“And I strongly believe some of the success that lies ahead started at the Golden Shovel Awards.”

Gradlin Franks, board chairman of NAMC DFW, said, “I am very thankful for all the support of the municipalities, businesses and organizations who attended the event.”