One Woman, Four Businesses, Each WBE Certified
“I made the most of my certification by getting involved right away…[it] gave me the opportunity to meet amazing people- WBEs, corporate and government professionals that are mentors, friends and customers today.”
Patti Winstanley, President of Aztec Promotional Group, has been a certified Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE) and member of the Women’s Business Council – Southwest (WBCS) for over 10 years. She is involved with the Council in many ways including serving on the Women’s Enterprise National Forum and several WBCS committees. She is the recent winner of the WBE Advocate of the Year Award given at the annual Parade of Stars Awards Gala.. Patti has gone above and beyond in utilizing her certification, so we asked her how she has been successful through certification in not just one, but all four of her companies.
How has WBCS membership benefited your businesses?
My WBCS membership helps me gain access to business opportunities and mentorship with corporations, the government, and other women business owners. I have also found opportunities to go after larger jobs through partnerships with like-minded WBEs. I can meet other business owners all over the US and abroad through the 14 Regional Partner Organizations, WeConnect International, and other WBENC strategic partners.
What is your favorite WBCS event and why?
The Business Works Expo gives our companies a chance to show what we do through products and visuals. We have had buyers express surprise at all we have to offer, and the details that our proprietary CRM software affords.
What is the best reason for another WBE to get certified?
If they meet the requirements, why wouldn't they? The initial requirements can be arduous, but I always tell people that it requires you to get your "house" in order.
What is the one thing you wish you knew before joining?
I wish I knew that not every WBE has million dollar contracts when they first start. Some grow by multi-millions with one contract. You have to put what you do in prospective.
What are the benefits of having WBENC and Texas HUB certification?
Texas HUB (which is different than federal HUBZONE certification) gives WBEs access to the CMBL- Centralized Master Bidder List, which shows all of the state's open RFPs. They hold events and have managers that can help throughout the state.
How did you make the most of your certification in your first year?
I made the most of my certification by getting involved right away. I attended events in the Dallas area and volunteered to be on the Certification Committee and conduct site visits in Austin and the surrounding areas. Both gave me the opportunity to meet amazing people- WBEs, corporate, and government professionals that are mentors, friends, and customers today.
How has WBCS helped connect you to other WBE's for mutually beneficial partnerships/business deals?
I have been very fortunate to represent WBCS on the National WBENC Forum, so I have been able to meet not only WBCS WBEs, but also many across the US and internationally. I have confidence that they will complete the job on time and exactly as we ordered. Last year, we were a 2nd tier supplier for thousands of embroidered apparel items for another WBE. Their uniform contract included multiple manufacturing facilities with WBE certification. I made that partnership through WBCS; they knew we would work overtime to make sure that even the last minute orders were completed on time.
Why did you decide to have all of your businesses certified?
Our four companies are stand-alone and have history in each of their communities. They are similar, but also unique in what they offer.
Our Tucson company, Tee Time, USA, provides screen printing, embroidery and sublimation, and is an Arizona corporation. We are licensed for The University of Arizona to work with Indian reservations and host stores for corporations, city departments and other educational, government and business customers.
Graham Embroidery in Waco, TX supplies custom, state, US, and international flags and award banners. Graham Embroidery also specializes in mason aprons, chenille patches and embroidery. We are proud that our employees at Graham age from 19 to 82 years young, with years of hand crafted artisanship skills. Graham shares a 56,000 square foot facility with QTI Promotions and Apparel, Inc. that provides customer and contract screen printed and embroidered apparel, including uniform programs, banners, and fulfillment.
Aztec Promotional Group, is a screen printing and embroidery, banner, button, and fulfillment company in Austin, TX with an additional sales office in Dallas that has punch-out capabilities. Aztec has developed its own proprietary software systems since 2005 that traces and tracks all aspects of our customers order, including an on-line art approval that avoids mistakes and saves money. Aztec purchases companies that have good structure, but need a little help, which has allowed us to save hundreds of jobs.
Given differences in geography and competencies of each company, certification has been important as it has given different opportunities to each of our entities.