Michele Bannister, CEO Cervus, Inc.

PACE WBC and procurement client Cervus, Inc. is a Women Veteran owned and certified small business located in the County of Los Angeles. CEO, Michele Bannister, her husband, Andre W. Bannister Jr. (Co-Owner, VP Government Procurement), and Peter Cardenas (Co-Owner, VP Director of Project Management) created this as a Veteran Collective Company in 2019, owned and operated by three successful veterans. Cervus, Inc. is a Solar Installation & Construction company which recently became an authorized dealer for SunPower Corporation, a top five ranked solar panel company by consumer reviews.

Michele Bannister served 7 years in the military and was Honorably Discharged. She has over 10 years’ experience working as an Operations Manager, managing residential and commercial mortgage loan sales, short sales, forbearances, loan modifications, VA, FHA, conventional and conforming, purchase, construction, rehabilitation, investor purchase and refinance loans. Including herself, the three Veteran owners had dedicated a significant portion of their lives to serving in the United States Armed Forces. Each partner’s exceptional talents combined with their previous Veteran’s professional experience is what makes the Company thrive. As a veteran-owned small business, Cervus, Inc. strives to embody the ideal values attained while serving in the United States Armed Forces. “Our core values are centered around, loyalty, respect, selflessness, honor, and integrity.” Currently, Cervus, Inc. services residential and businesses located in Los Angeles and surrounding counties.

Aided by PACE Procurement Manager, Mr. Andrew Barrera, Cervus, Inc. was able to complete a solid business plan, incorporate, create a well-defined capabilities statement, get registered on various contracting Supplier Vendor Portals, and obtain numerous Small Business Certifications over the course of 2019. CERVUS is now designated as a Women Owned Business (WBE), Disabled Veteran Business Enterprise (DVBE), Small Business Public Works California Small Business (SB), Emerging Business Enterprise (EBE) and are a participant of the City of Los Angeles Enterprise (LSBE). Finally, in late December 2019, Cervus, Inc was able to secure a business location, ready and able to start the new year. Through the diligent guidance of Mr. Andrew Barrera, and motivated leadership of Michele Bannister, Cervus, Inc. was able to jump start the new year with a $58,000 contract from LA County Public Works on January 13, 2020. This contract was completed by February, but the positive momentum in hindsight during this challenged 2020 Covid-19 crisis year, has proved monumental. Cervus, Inc. repositioned itself to land numerous remodeling contracts totaling $223,727 extending into 2021. The Company is looking forward to continue their business development strategies to take Cervus. Inc. to the next level.

Kelly Nguyen, CEO IDLOGIQ, Inc.

PACE Business assisted Ms. Kelly Nguyen, CEO and cofounder of IDLOGIQ in aligning her company for procurement opportunities in Los Angeles County. IDLogiq is a disruptive technology company that provides Global 5000 companies with highly secure, FIPS-compliant, state of the art cryptographic products and services to combat counterfeiting. Currently, and in light of the national pandemic COVID-19 crisis, IDLOGIQ and it’s Tracelogiq technology is one of two companies under PACE Business that has progressed to an advanced review stage in the information technology sector within the Internal Services Department (ISD) of Los Angeles County. Kelly’s team consists of other entrepreneurs with a proven track record of successful exits in high-tech, pharmaceutical, and medical industry. Through Kelly’s leadership, her company envisions a world free of counterfeit drugs, electronics, clothing, and much more within a global environment working together for business efficiency and safety.

Kelly is an experienced entrepreneur and executive with a proven track record. Prior to IDLogiq, Kelly was the CoFounder/CEO of Mission Road Pharmacy, a specialty pharmacy with an annualized revenue of $160M+ and growing at more than 200% annually prior to being acquired in 2012. Kelly holds 3 pending patents on blockchain-powered cryptographic and anti-counterfeit technology, and holds a Doctor degree in Pharmaceuticals from the University of California, San Francisco.

Despite the well credentialed entrepreneurial team Kelly has surrounded herself, and the various technology recognition successes over the past two years, the extremely long sales cycle of their various disruptive technologies has kept IDLOGIQ from securing consumer mainstream recognition that could lead to greater local and national contracts leading to widespread consumer application. Four months ago, through mcGyver mcCargar on the PACE marketing team, Kelly met with Ms. Swann Do of the Women’s Business Center who guided her in securing SLB (Small Local Business) Certification, and pre-LBE (Local Business Enterprise) Certification that would better position her company for higher profile government contracts. From our PACE Finance, loan counselor Phuong Le met with the IDLOGIQ team to discuss optional business working capital loans and to further them along, introduced them to our PACE Procurement specialist Mr. Andrew Barrera. Mr. Barrera saw great potential with Kelly and IDLOGIQ and assisted her in drafting various capability statements and proposal submittals on various contract portals. Both Swann Do and Andrew Barrera have also introduced IDLOGIQ to the PACE WorkSource to source and find future qualified people for potential job opportunities upon securing some of these contracts.

Under the current National and State of California Disaster declarations due to the current and ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, PACE Business and procurement specialist Mr. Andrew Barrera continues working diligently with positioning Kelly and IDLOGIQ with many new government contract opportunities. To date successful proposal submissions include the ISD of LA, as well as the City of Long Beach which is also highly considering an IDLOGIQ contract. IDLOGIQ is currently also being considered for a possible ventilator production contract through it’s OEM agreement with Metran Co. Ltd of Japan who’s inventor/founder has been a long-time IDLOGIQ Advisory Board member. With the securing of these crisis demand solutions for local, state and national contracts, IDLOGIQ will easily double its annual revenue, and be in a strong position to hire additional employees in pursuit of delivering on these highly prioritized company procurement awards.

Aishah Yco, K&A Textile, LLC.

PACE only recently crossed paths with Ms. Aishah Yco, a young aspiring entrepreneur, at our Mid-City partner AADAP where she had taken a temporary job as a receptionist while building a startup online cosmetic accessory business. In a casual discussion while at AADAP, she shared her online business ambition and soon developed a trust with PACE business counselor Frank Sosa. Amidst the recent Covid-19 national “safer at home” quarantine and mandated brick & mortar business closures, PACE business counselors helped Aishah within weeks, turn her online cosmetic startup into a now growing wholesale importer.

Having established overseas supplier relationships due to her cosmetic startup endeavor, Aishah had one supplier convert to mask manufacturing. She immediately saw an opportunity and established an export agreement that would provide her wholesale surgical masks and other PPE medical supplies now in urgent global demand due to Covid-19. In a short time and in concert with her sister back in Singapore, she was able to move quickly with PACE business counselor’s advice and a referral to Mr. Andrew Barrera, PACE procurement specialist. Mr. Barrera walked Aishah through the rigorous application and necessary requirements.

After just a few weeks, Aishah had attained an official state LLC, tax ID, seller’s permit, as well as other city, county and state registrations needed to put her in an advanced LA County vendor position to acquire a coveted medical tender contract. Her county order is now pending further product clearance hurdles and price negotiation but is looking very promising. Having her sister’s help in Singapore, she has launched a company website and identified numerous other potential clients. To date K&A Textile LLC has also secured at least three private orders, including the AADAP office, and other preliminary requests of up to a million units.

Now officially established here in California as the wholesale company K&A Textile LLC, Ms. Aishah Yco is cofounder with sister Kathleen (who will operate from her residence in Singapore), and a third partner based in Ireland. They truly are now positioned to grow as an international company. Currently, Aishah is managing the domestic US ramp up. Plans now include, searching and finding a suitable warehouse within the county; and besides herself, adding a support staff of at least one administrative or a shipping and receiving assistant.

Aisha serves as partner and marketing director based in K&A Textile LLC’s head office in California, USA. Her business development with organizations in the US are adding value to the company. She has a background in Business and Tourism in Singapore in 2010-2013 and BA in Business Management in Los Angeles, California. She will lead and participate in procurement activities that support all key business objectives in the US. PACE business counselor Mr. Frank Sosa continues to work with Aishah, recently helping her to open an HBSC account for her new LLC. PACE procurement specialist Mr. Barrera also continues to guide her toward other procurement opportunities. Aishah Yco and K&A Textile LLC ( is grateful for all the support PACE has provided throughout this whole process that has literally changed her life.

Rosa and Elizabeth, ALAS Media

Local latina sisters Rosa and Elizabeth Ruvalcaba Mendez, both co-owner entrepreneurs behind ALAS Media launched their video production company in 2007. From the beginning they performed a multitude of various marketing, corporate and documentary projects from equestrian to cultural, lifestyle to social impact, and from commercial to non-profit. In 2016 they met Mr. Andrew Barrera who has consulted them progressively and now under PACE has helped them open the door towards regularly bidding on government and private sector contracts. Over the years they have attain at least 9 different business certifications with the most recent in 2019 being the WBE and CPUC. PACE Procurement has helped them develop their capabilities statement, identify target contractors, and design a unique infiltration strategy to have their product seen by appropriate procurement officers. Tier 1, 2 and 3 contracts are now being pursued with A, B and C ranked target client lists. Utilities and large corporations have been identified such as Commercial Banks and Metro. Small Cities & County Departments as well as large nonprofits and local Chamber contacts have been facilitated and annual events earmarked for future bidding opportunities. This past January ALAS Media was awarded a year-long contract with Metro to create construction progress video content for public broadcast. This one contract helped ALAS Media increase their annual sales by 25 percent. Future procurement business is no doubt looking bright for ALAS Media. 

Currently, under the National and State of California Disaster declarations due to the COVID-19 pandemic, ALAS Media has been impacted with many annual event contracts postponed or in many cases cancelled all together. The sisters were able to secure a Federal Payroll Protection Plan (PPP) loan over the summer months of 2020 which has helped them maneuver the Covid19 crisis. PACE Procurement continues to work closely with the sister’s, opening up new bidding opportunities that look promising for additional diverse projects. Both Rosa and Elizabeth still maintain the passion for their storytelling work and are ever grateful as well as excited to continue working with PACE Procurement. The government and private contracting world has proven to provide the balance in client diversity that has and will continue to help ALAS Media sustain long term success. 

Amber Wynn, Chistopher Rashad Holdings, Inc.

Ms. Amber Wynn, who promotes herself as a “philanthrepeneur,” secured a $47,000 Tier II contract to provide Grant Writing workshops for 28 non-profit organization located primarily in South Central LA. The contract, through Heluna Health as primary contractor, is under the County Department of Public Works. Amber was first introduced to PACE Business Development Center and procurement specialist Mr. Andrew Barrera through attendance at his Procurement Workshop in the fall of 2019. As an accomplished professional with Phd. credentials, Andrew saw great potential in Amber who desired to seek contracts assisting non-profits with fund raising, reporting & executive management services. Andrew conslulted her in the procurement contracting process, which starts with having a high quality service to offer. 

Having over 30 years of nonprofit experience, including program development, strategic planning, nonprofit management, board development, capacity building, grant writing & fund development, (largest award $3.2 million), Amber has served in numerous positions including Program Administrator with Congresswoman Maxine Waters’  Youth Fair Chance program, Grant Writer/Media Outreach Director for University of California Cooperative Extension, Los Angeles County, Executive Director for Girls Inc. Los Angeles, Grant Writing Instructor for Cal State University, Dominguez Hills, Philanthropic Development Manager for DaVita, a Fortune 500 company, Program Director at Pancreatic Cancer Action Network giving out $7 million in research grants and currently, as a nonprofit consulting entrepreneur. Amber received her undergraduate degree in English from Loyola Marymount University, and her Master’s degree in Public Administration. Amber provides a SIMPLE, SMART, SAVVY approach to management consulting by leveraging her experience as grant writer, nonprofit leader, board member, funder and business professional to provide companies with a clear road map for development, management, compliance, sustainability, and growth.

Andrew continued to work with Amber, registering her business on the various Supplier Vendor Portals (i.e. LAUSD, LACCD, DGS, LA County, etc.), and guided her to start securing Small Business Certifications, Contract Sourcing, Capability Statement development and submitting proposals. He also discussed various areas how Amber could generate revenue, and helped her identify those non-profit entities capable of affording her consulting fees and the possibility of expanding her professional services into the for-profit sector. Under PACE Business Development Center procurement specialist Andrew Barrera, Amber Wynn had developed a solid short term goal to go after contracts and/or services that she could secure immediately. Within two month Amber was awarded this first contract and is on her way to secure other lucrative contracts in both the non-profit and private for profit sectors.

Gung Hoe Garden Girls, Inc.

Ms. Katharine Pinney and her all female landscape company Gung Hoe Garden Girls, Inc. successfully secured a $48,201 private sector landscape contract. Beginning in August 2019 and following the counseling of PACE procurement specialist Mr. Andrew Barrera, Ms. Pinney was able to generate numerous bid invitations for commercial, residential and private sector contracts ranging from $50,000 to $2.3M. Ms, Katharine Pinney is a licensed landscape contractor and Public Works Contractor, able to execute designs at the highest standards and on budget. Extensive horticultural knowledge of California native plants and vegetate suited for our Mediterranean climate has been her calling card. She also has drafting skills and is capable of producing full landscape plans within HPOZ and HOA guidelines.  As a project supervisor she is very familiar with zoning requirements and able to procure necessary permits at City Departments.  Her attributes include the ability to collaborate and interact with project managers, subcontractors, architects, landscape architects and other industry professionals.  She is comfortable working with people of diverse backgrounds and able to collaborate as a team member at all levels. 

Gung Hoe Garden Girls, Inc. is located in the Lincoln Heights District of Los Angeles, CA 90031.  Ms. Pinney is a passionate 10+ year experienced landscape designer, specializing in creating eco-friendly outdoor spaces and gardens. She was referred to the PACE Business Development Center by Mr. Andrew Barrera, who is now the Procurement Counseling Manager. Mr. Barrera knew Ms. Pinney would be a good fit for his new procurement program and would be helpful in re-aligning her business with procurement opportunities.

Andrew helped Ms. Pinney review her business growth plan, cash flow needs, and assisted her design a business expansion strategy that includes government procurement opportunities. By February 19th Katharine received her 6th invitation for a private sector $50,000 contract and on March 3rd with the assistance of Mr. Barerra she was awarded the contract. As with other previous bid invitations Mr. Barrera walked Ms. Pinney through the entire bidding process to help position her final business bid in the best way possible for obtaining the contract. Since being awarded the $48,201 private sector “Matoba Project”, she has been invited to bid on another municipal project through Gensler, an international architectural firm and the Prime Contractor. This exciting City of Los Angeles project involves the Old Washington Irving Library Renovation, a transformation of an historic library branch from the 1920s into an archive, research, exhibition, and education center. Gung Hoe Garden Girls is now experiencing tremendous contract growth opportunities under the assistance of the PACE Business Center. We know her business will be a great success as the demand for her unique landscaping credentials and project management skills grow with each new contract!

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