In 1995, Frank Tucker realized his lifelong dream to become an entrepreneur. Today, Tucker Technology, Inc. is a full service telecommunications and information technology contractor employing 48 workers. Tucker Technology provides engineering, installation and maintenance of structured cabling solutions for a wide range of telecommunications cabling infrastructure projects and offers contract and project based staffing.
In 1996 in the process of starting his business, Tucker heard from friends about the SBA 8(a) Business Development Program, a business assistance program for small disadvantaged businesses, which offers a broad scope of assistance to firms that are owned and controlled at least 51% by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals. Under the Small Business Act, certain individuals are presumed socially disadvantaged: African-Americans, Hispanic Americans, Asian Pacific Americans, Native Americans (American Indians, Eskimos, Aleuts, or Native Hawaiians), and Subcontinent Asian Americans. The 8(a) BD program helps thousands of aspiring entrepreneurs to gain a foothold in government contracting.
The same year Tucker Technology also qualified as a Historically Underutilized Business Zone (HUB Zone) Program small business. The HUB Zone Program helps small businesses in urban and rural communities gain preferential access to federal procurement opportunities.
SBA’s 8(a) Business Development and HUB Zone Program certification were invaluable to Tucker Technology's early growth. Tucker recalls, “First and foremost, certification advanced our sales. Because of the intense vetting process, we had immediate credibility once certified. This enabled us to close large public and private contracts. Secondly, we were able to get our foot in the door with federal government agencies at a time when we needed to supplement our private sector and local government business.”
However, Tucker is pragmatic about the role of 8(a) Business Development and HUB Zone certifications in the bigger picture of his company’s growth. “I advise African-American entrepreneurs to not assume that certification programs will advance their businesses to its fullest potential. Minority and disadvantaged business programs do have value as one of many success tools, but they are not the end all. Minority business owners, like all business owners, must stay aggressive on all fronts in order to compete in the marketplace.”
Tucker counsels young and aspiring entrepreneurs on a regular basis. He shares his sales-focused philosophy with them as well as lessons he has learned about relationships, morality, and the social impact that a business can have—creating careers and changing lives. Tucker’s most important protégé, however, is his own daughter Conchita, who recently completed her Harvard MBA and has taken the title of President of Tucker Technology.
“Tucker Technology, Inc. is seeing increased growth as a result of Conchita’s leadership,” her father said proudly.
As part of the succession plan, Tucker has moved into the positions of Chairman and CEO. Conchita has already opened an office in New York City, which has increased the company’s national footprint. Both of Conchita’s brothers also work for the company, in Chicago and Los Angeles.