In the highly competitive world of technology, competition is fierce. But in the equally, if not more, cutthroat world of municipal contracting, competition is the component that determines whether a business enjoys the spoils of success and lives to contract another day. Al Booker of Visions Security Solutions admits that while winning isn’t everything, it means a lot, especially when the award is one of the coveted Top 2011 Business Awards at the DiversityBusiness.com annual conference. The security IT expert explained to rolling out that his company understands the significance of being a minority-owned business and extols the practice. –roz edward
How important is being a Minority Owned Business Enterprise (MBE) in the current marketplace?
It’s huge. The state has to award a certain percentage of contracts to minority contractors. There are not a lot of minority-owned businesses in the realm of IT security. Our company is owned by a woman who is really a visionary, Victoria Newsome. She created user-friendly software to support the technology, and now, we supply all of the schools with their camera systems as well as a lot of the businesses in the area, including Georgetown University. We are a server-based IT provider for camera security systems.
Why is diversity a factor in your business?
Washington, D.C., is a mix of people. Our company is a diverse company, and people of all nationalities work with Visions Security. We contract our services with vendors that work in that same diversity realm, and they include all ethnicities. Being that the culture here is so diverse, word spreads around Washington about who is hiring people with different backgrounds … and being woman-owned has even more impact.
What role does networking play?
A major one. There is not a lot of exposure in the market, even for a minority-owned company like ours, unless you have a huge advertising budget where the world can see you. Networking at events like the DiversityBusiness.com conference is an important part of the process. A lot of times the driving factor is that you can meet and talk with others who can provide a service that you’re in need of.
What do you look for in a potential employee?
I look for their drive and their passion. If they are coming in to apply for a position, they need to say more than I need a job. You have to be competitive, and let me know that you love what we do and support it. And, of course, their qualifications matter. You have to be up on your IT game.