MBOC salutes business owners

By New Pittsburgh Courier Editor Staff

Known for his passion to help people reach their next level of success in life, Mitchel Nickols, PhD, lived up to his reputation while providing the keynote address during Pittsburgh’s Minority Enterprise Development Week celebration. “Are you repositioning yourself,” he questioned during his luncheon speech.

“The economic climate has our attention. Available opportunities depend on you,” he told the audience. Nickols an educator, professional business coach and speaker encouraged the mixed crowd of business people, business assistance groups and supporters to look at things differently. “It’s like when you are driving and go the wrong way the GPS (global position system) tells you to recalculate. You can’t continue to do things the same way.”

Held in conjunction with the National Minority Enterprise Development Week conference in Washington, D.C., the Pittsburgh event is sponsored by the Minority Business Opportunity Committee. Each year local minority, veteran and women-owned business owners are recognized for their success and efforts for being a vital component in strengthening America’s economic state as well as impacting people’s lives within the community. This years’ theme was Emerging Industries and Markets: A Blueprint for Success.

 GREAT WORK—Awardees Gilbert Cannon, Richard Taylor, Esq., Edward Greene and Richard Portis standing in for Kenneth Elliot stand with Dr. Mitchel Nickols, center, after his keynote address. (Photos by Diane I. Daniels)

GREAT WORK—Awardees Gilbert Cannon, Richard Taylor, Esq., Edward Greene and Richard Portis standing in for Kenneth Elliot stand with Dr. Mitchel Nickols, center, after his keynote address. (Photos by Diane I. Daniels)

Other activities of the event included networking with the numerous exhibitors which served as a venue for businesses to access information, tools and resources to grow their businesses.

The seven awardees were Darcia North Wind of Northwind Engineering, LLC and Gilbert Cannon of Cannon Systems, Inc. Both were 8(a) Business of the Year awardees given by the U.S. Small Business Administration. North Wind, business of the year and Cannon graduate of the year.

Edward Greene, DBE Coordinator at Port Authority of Allegheny County received the Donald S. Carter Lifetime Achievement Award. Richard Taylor, Esq.CEO of Imbue Technology Solutions, Inc. was recognized as the Minority Business of the Year. Chris Kail of Target Office Products, Inc. was Women Business of the Year. Kenneth Elliot, owner of the Elliot, Group, LLC. was Veteran Business of the Year and Elizabeth Bowers of the Department of General Services received the MBE/WBE Advocate Award. All five were MBOC awardees.

Benjamin Butler, executive director of MBOC served as Master of Ceremonies of the luncheon. Barbara Fisher of the SBA gave opening remarks and presented awards, Toni Silva, director of Supplier Relations at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center was acknowledged for being a continuous supporter and Platinum sponsor of the program. The overall MED Week activity was planned and organized by Christina Damiano.

Nickols is the founding and senior pastor of the Bibleway Christian Fellowship Church and the executive director of the Eden Center both located in New Kensington. Serving the Alle-Kiski Valley area, the Eden Center provides multi-cultural, spiritually-based opportunities. Its main goal is to be a place where wholesome, positive living can be nurtured, while promoting spiritual, economical, and educational redevelopment.

A believer in education he has a Ph.D. from the University of Pittsburgh. He attended Slippery Rock University, Penn State University and the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary where he has earned three college degrees. He formally served as an adjunct professor at the Community College of Allegheny County, taught both undergraduate and currently teaches graduate courses in Leadership Studies and Community Ministry at Geneva College.

Nickols is executive producer and host of the nationally televised, five-time national award-winning talk show on Cornerstone Television called “A Nickols’ Worth. He also is an award winning newspaper columnist, a grant writer, business coach, curriculum writer, conference speaker, consultant, keynote speaker and serves on several regional boards.

Admitting that he is the chairman of the Board and acting president of Cornerstone Television Network, a national network with a multi-million dollar budget because of his life experiences, Nickols pointed out that it is often necessary to pull from every aspect of our life. “We all have and wear different hats and have to pull from them at different times in our life.” Using the analogy, he described hats as life experiences such as people we have met, places we have been, education, the way we grew up and situations we have encountered. “At times in life all hats have to be used,” he said pulling out a stack of hats.

Nickols said that you shouldn’t be measured by the moment. “Expand your thinking, understand your calling and be confident.” His ending message was, don’t quit, recalculate and be willing to make a legal u-turn.

MBOC serves as the focal point for developing partnerships with the city, county, state and federal governments as well as public and private sectors to encourage economic development opportunities for minorities, veterans and women.

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