Businesses Recognized at 5th Annual DBE Awards

Communications Director

Kristin Farley
(865) 215-2589

400 Main St., Room 691
Knoxville, TN 37902

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Businesses Recognized at 5th Annual DBE Awards

Posted: 09/17/2020
At the fifth annual Diversity Business Enterprise (DBE) Awards ceremony held Wednesday morning, Mayor Indya Kincannon and City of Knoxville Purchasing Department staff members honored small, women- and minority-owned businesses who have helped the City meet its core goals. 

The awards also recognized City departments and staff for their commitment to reaching out to DBEs with procurement opportunities and contracts.

Every year, $50 million to $70 million is awarded in City contracts, and roughly 1 in 3 City dollars spent in competitively bid contracts went to small businesses in the last fiscal year.

Honorees are:

AVCO Technologies, Above and Beyond Award

AVCO Technologies responded to a deadline and the challenges of COVID-19 to install a new AV system for the Knoxville Fire Department Training Academy. The AVCO team worked around KFD’s schedule to complete work before a planned new class of KFD Recruits began training. They also identified a new system component, which resulted in a savings to the City. 

“The fruits of their labor and knowledge has resulted in a system that will serve the City of Knoxville for many years, as well as enhancing our training capabilities with cutting-edge technologies,” KFD’s Pat Armstrong wrote in his nomination. 

Patriot Lawn, Impact Award

Patriot Lawn received high marks for its year-round business model, which allows Public Service to contract for projects any time of year. Their first contract with the City was for Suttree Landing Park landscaping and they now hold the contracts for mowing that park and additional areas. 

Shelton General Contractor, Impact Award

“Rarely do we see a company who touches so many different aspects of the Knoxville community through their projects,” began PBA’s nomination of Shelton General Contractor for the Impact Award. Shelton completed several projects for PBA in the past budget year, including upgrades to the City County Building, Knox County Health Department, Young Williams Animal Center, and the John T. O’Connor Senior Center. 

“Not only do they excel within the project itself, but also administratively in how they submit accurate invoices and the sharing of information regardless of the task. If these characteristics were not enough, their employees go out of their way to assist Knoxville residents even while they are in the midst of projects. They have been a great partner for PBA and for the City of Knoxville.”

Marvin Thomas, Rising Star Award

Marvin Thomas’ reputation proceeds him. When his paint job in the parking lot of Knoxville Racquet Club caught the eye of Parks and Recreation Director Aaron Browning, Thomas got the call to consult on Parks & Rec’s needs at Maynard Glenn ballfields and, later, the Inskip Pool. 

“Both parks are heavily utilized during open hours,” says Browning. “We've seen the trend of more people coming and only staying a short time rather than in the past of staying all day, so having safe parking lots is a plus for everyone and keeps cars from parking on the nearby streets.”

Scientific Sales, Minority-owned Business of the Year Award

Scientific Sales earned its nomination from the Fire Department by doing research on projects, mainly those that help firefighters safely respond to calls that involve hazardous materials. 

“This research saves time and effort for KFD, and frees up our personnel to perform other needed duties,” says Pat Armstrong.

Saf-T Enterprises
, Woman-owned Business of the Year Award

The City’s Public Service Department always stocks personal protective equipment, but their needs increased with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Saf-T Enterprises sales rep Leroy Lynn stepped up and earned a nomination from Ben Buckner, Logistics and Supply Manager in the City's Public Service Department. 

“He is constantly checking on us to make sure we have the supplies needed for operations,” Buckner wrote in his nomination. “They are always bringing us new technology to try. There have been several PPE items I didn’t know were available, and Leroy called me up to ask if he could bring it by to show me. From chemical spill kits to PPE, they have helped out in many ways.” 

A&W Resources, Small Business of the Year Award

The Public Service team has received tremendous service from A&W Resources during the COVID-19 crisis, when supplies like hand sanitizer and disinfectant sprays have been critical and in high-demand. Buckner also praised the company’s quick delivery service. 

Media Manipulation Studios, Young Entrepreneur Award

Another example of pandemic-inspired ingenuity informed the choice for this year’s Young Entrepreneur Award. As staff members of the Small Business and Diversity Outreach Office began working from home in March, they imagined new ways to engage with and inform DBEs. A referral to Ron Levy and his Media Manipulation Studios led to the creation of six DBE training videos that will benefit the department’s efforts even when staff members are back in the office fulltime.

William Hinton, Public Service Facilities, received praise for his efforts to stock the warehouse with supplies purchased locally and given this year’s Employee Advocate of the Year Award.

The following City departments earned Advocate Awards for their commitment to diversity businesses: Engineering, Fleet, PBA, and Inspections and Codes Enforcement

Learn more about the Purchasing Department at, and follow them on social media at BizWithCityKnox on Facebook and Twitter