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SBA names De La Paz minority small business person of the year CORPUS CHRISTI, TX — Armed with a binder of pictures of projects his company has done, Arnold De La Paz travels the country getting The D.L.P. Group Inc.'s, name out there. It is a role that builds on De La Paz's past as a salesman and has netted The D.L.P. Group such projects as a $5 million auditorium in Oak Ridge, Tenn., and a building for the Federal Bureau of Prisons in Grand Prairie. The contracting company also has put its touch locally on such projects as painting work for the American Bank Center and the Richard M. Borchard Regional Fairgrounds.
That body of work made De La Paz the U.S. Small Business Administration's Minority Small Business Person of the Year for the agency's Lower Rio Grande Valley district. A Corpus Christi native, De La Paz began the business in 2000 with a small loan granted about a decade ago by a Wells Fargo Bank representative named Yolanda Olivarez, who now heads the Small Business Administration's multistate region. De La Paz said his company is involved in projects from the design phase through construction. The D.L.P. Group contracts the design work to an architectural firm and then builds the structures, but marketing has been able to lead the company through lean economic times. 'Marketing, whether in the commercial or federal government contracting sectors, is about finding out what customers want, then setting out to meet their needs, provided it can be done at a profit,' De La Paz said. 'Our nation has always been about the urge to dream and the will to enable it.' This year is the 29th year the Small Business Administration has celebrated Minority Enterprise Development Week in collaboration with the U.S. Dept. of Commerce, SBA Corpus Christi Branch Manager Debbie Fernandez said.