PITTSBURGH, PA – Lorenzo Downing, 24-year Air Force Veteran turned business solutions provider, has been named the first Minority Vetrepreneur of the Year® by the National Veteran-Owned Business Association (NaVOBA), publisher of Vetrepreneur® magazine. The Minority Vetrepreneur of the Year® is an expansion of NaVOBA’s prestigious Vetrepreneur of the Year® award program, which honors the finest role models the veteran-owned business movement has to offer. Downing and his company, Spartan Business & Technology Inc. (Spartan), are featured in the October issue of Vetrepreneur® magazine.
“To be selected as the first Minority Vetrepreneur of the Year®, is certainly a proud moment in my career,” said Downing. “This honor reaffirms my decision to step out on faith and start a professional services firm. It hasn’t been without its challenges, which makes receiving this award extremely gratifying!”
Lorenzo Downing personifies how the skills and attributes ingrained in military service provide the perfect recipe for civilian leadership success both working at established companies and as an entrepreneur himself. Downing enlisted in the U.S. Air Force immediately following high school as the Vietnam War was coming to a close. After finishing his enlistment, he went to the University of South Carolina, where he earned his degree in business administration, and joined the ROTC program. Downing was then commissioned back into the Air Force. Following his more than 24 combined years in the Air Force, during which time he earned a master’s degree from Harvard, Downing leveraged his skills as an acquisitions officer to a lucrative post-military career in corporate America.
Through hard work, dedication and taking advantage of his skills learned through both his time in the Air Force and large corporations, Downing made his dream a reality in 2010 by launching Spartan Business & Technology, a company delivering quality solutions in IT portfolio management, business process re-engineering, organizational development and more. Downing grew Spartan from barely more than $59,000 in revenues at the end of 2011 to more than 100 full-time and contract employees, many of them veterans, and more than $8 million in revenues by the end of 2013.
The honor is bestowed on a Minority-American veteran who demonstrates the attributes crucial to leading a flourishing business; sustained business growth and success; and extensive aspirations to cultivate veteran entrepreneurship.
Downing and other Minority vetrepreneurs will be honored at a special reception sponsored by Allstate Insurance Company and Heroes Vodka at the National Minority Supplier Development Council Conference and Business Opportunity Fair at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, FL. The conference will bring 6,000 corporate executives, procurement officers and supplier diversity professionals together to re-energize their collective efforts to “Certify > Develop > Connect > and Advocate” for solid minority firms in the global corporate supply chain.
The annual Minority Vetrepreneur of the Year® is the third in a series of new awards NaVOBA has bestowed this year. Earlier this year, the organization named Louisa Long, the first annual Woman Vetrepreneur of the Year® and Rogelio “Roger” Reyes, the first annual Hispanic Vetrepreneur of the Year®. The overall 2014 Vetrepreneur of the Year® will be revealed in the November/December issue of Vetrepreneur® and formally awarded in December at the National Veterans Small Business Engagement in Atlanta, Ga.
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About the National Veteran-Owned Business Association (NaVOBA)
NaVOBA unites the nation’s more than 3-million businesses owned by military veterans by providing a single voice to advocate for important issues. For more information, visit us at http://www.navoba.com.
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