Small Firm Wins Big

Lagrant Communications hit the jackpot. After outbidding the competition, the 17-person communications company landed a four-year $4 million government contract to take over media planning for the California state lottery. Lagrant beat out Carol H. Williams Advertising (No. 6 on the 2002 BE ADVERTISING AGENCIES list with $72 million in billings), the firm handling the account for the last decade. Says Lagrant President and CEO Kim Hunter (pictured above), “It was the biggest highlight of my entire 12 years to have won a prime government contract on our own rather than through subcontracting. Now we are the lead agency, and I am a happy man.”

Minority-owned firms practice diversity too. Just ask NetCom Solutions (No. 42 on the 2002 BE INDUSTRIAL/SERVICE 100 list with $76 million in sales). The technology firm announced its new minority supplier diversity program, which it will dedicate 3% of its revenues to minority subcontractors. “It just makes sense, ethically and business-wise,” says NetCom Chairman and CEO Emmit J. McHenry. “An increasing number of states are joining the national trend in requiring that specific dollar amounts or percentages of contract funds go to MWBE (Minority and Women’s Business Enterprises) companies…. We are in a position to facilitate this.”

A new deal is uncapped. Coca-Cola Enterprises Inc. sealed an agreement with Citizens Trust Bank (No. 3 on the 2002 BE BANKS list with $292.4 million in assets) and 24 other minority-owned U.S. banks to finance a $26.5 million credit facility. More than half of the participating banks are African American-owned and all are members of the National Bankers Association (NBA), a trade association of minority- and women-owned banks throughout the nation. Citizens Trust Bank, the largest bank in the southeast, led the charge. “Citizens Trust Bank approached me some time ago about this deal,” says Vicki Palmer, senior vice president, treasurer, and special assistant to the CEO of Coca-Cola Enterprises. “[The relationship] allowed us to do two things: be good corporate citizens and encourage other corporations to support minority businesses.”

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