Since the institute’s inception in 1997, its founder, Carmen Garcia, had the vision of establishing a forum to educate and inform minority businesses on state issues that would have an impact on their businesses.
The initial legislative trip to Austin provided the participants an opportunity to meet state legislators and to discuss pertinent issues during that legislative session. Thus, the need for a "MBE Public Policy" project came to fruition.
The purpose of this public policy day in Austin is for minority businesses to voice their opinions during the legislative sessions at the Texas State Capitol. The initial contingent to Austin during the 75th Legislative Session was made up of more than 20 businesses supported by the Dallas minority chambers and the Texas Association of Mexican-American Chambers (TAMACC).
In 1999, the Dallas/Fort Worth Minority Business Council joined the initiative and the concept was accepted by a variety of other minority groups statewide such as the Texas Association of Mexican American and African American Chambers of Commerce. That year, the Historically Underutilized Business legislation (known as the HUB bill) was introduced, and the participants played a major role in the implementation of changes to the way the state of Texas did business with minority businesses. The statewide elected officials recognized our contributions and enthusiasm in addressing issues important to the success of minority businesses in Texas, and the inclusion of the group’s participation increased.
A group of additional supporters, in 2001, envisioned the mission to empower the legislative process on a nonpartisan effort to develop active participation on public policy issues. It was then that the focus took on another level of inclusion: public policy. That year, the Minority Business Enterprise Public Policy Day in Austin drew interest from the Fort Worth and Houston areas, including minority business councils and members of both the African American and Hispanic contractors associations and chambers of commerce. Thus, in 2003, approximately 100 participants went to Austin and the participation of some 10 statewide organizations was now on board, and the one-day event in Austin became one of "inclusion".
The organization and its efforts to educate the MBEs on the importance of public policy continues to grow as was apparent during the 84th Legislative Session in 2015, when more than 150 business owners and advocates attended the Legislative Day activities at the state capitol in Austin. Participation and support has continued to increase throughout the years.
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Carmen García accepted the position of Director, Outreach Programs for Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART), July 14, 2008.
In her role, García oversees DART”s Outreach Programs by directing, coordinating and administering the agency’s minority outreach program as it relates to minority contracts and D/MWBE vendors. She maintains programs relative to the needs of the community. She develops and maintains external strategic partnerships and serves as a liaison to major chambers representing minorities, women and other groups whose goals include the development of economic opportunities for minorities and women.
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Ruben Landa is an experienced and accomplished leader in the architecture, engineering and construction industry. He has more than 17 years of experience in public involvement, public affairs, communications and diversity program management. His career includes time with STV Incorporated, HDR Inc., the Texas State Senate, K Strategies Group and now with WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff, where is the Senior Communication Manager for the Texas and Mountain region of the US.