Amid criticism over the way in which city business is awarded, the District's minority contracting agency this week is sponsoring a series of minority enterprise development programs "to focus on the positive attributes of minority business," its director says.
Maudine R. Cooper, director of the D.C. Office of Human Rights and the Minority Business Opportunity Commission, said her agency is "reaching out to the community this week" through the Minority Enterprise Development Week programs.
Some 300 youths will participate today in an all-day workshop on developing entrepreneurs. On Wednesday, MBOC will hold public seminars in each of the city's eight wards, and various business workshops will be held Tuesday and Thursday. The week winds up with an awards breakfast Friday.
Last year the D.C. government awarded 39 percent, or $185 million, of its contracts to minority-owned firms. A Washington Post review of 30 major contracts found several instances in which friends of Mayor Marion Barry were principals of firms that were given business.
In addition, the FBI is investigating certain city contracts, and some members of Congress are seeking a law to prevent the city from offering sole-source contracts.
"It is going to take a lot more than MED Week to change the community's attitude toward MBOC," Cooper said. "There are a whole bunch of misperceptions about what we do. But since I have taken over the commission in January, we have taken a giant step forward, and now it is time to celebrate."
Among the improvements, she said, were more streamlined technical assistance and certification processes, a larger staff and a computerized method of tracking city contract awards to minority businesses.
Radiation Systems Inc. has changed the name of its Laux Communications Inc. subsidiary to the Satellite Network Antennas division.
The company said the name change at the Cincinnati unit reflects a shift in its focus from home satellite dishes to business communications networks.
The home satellite market "wasn't going anywhere for us. It dried up, and in January 1986 we let go of most of the production people in Laux," said Richard Patton, vice president of business development for Radiation Systems, which is based in Sterling.
The company is terminating four more employes from the manufacturing side of the division and moving the other eight management employes to Duluth, Ga. There, Satellite Network will work with Radiation System's SatCom Technologies division in establishing point-to-multipoint communications networks. Point-to-multipoint systems transfer information from one central location to many branches.
"Technically, Satellite Network Antennas is still a subsidiary, but we have named all five of our subsidiaries divisions because we think that their products can best be sold under one family name," said Patton. Radiation Systems manufactures and installs a broad range of antenna systems.
VNU Amvest Inc. has acquired Disclosure Inc., a private firm based in Bethesda that sells information about publicly held companies.
Disclosure Inc. provides information based on Securities and Exchange Commission filings since 1968. Clients can retrieve the information through on-line databases, compact discs or Demand Service Centers located in the United States, Canada, Japan and Britain.
VNU Amvest is an American subsidiary of Verernigde Nederlandse Uitgeversbedrijin, a large Dutch publishing company.
The Commercial Bank of Bel Air, Md., an affiliate of First Virginia Banks Inc., has agreed to purchase three Maryland National Bank branches in Havre de Grace, Edgewood and Churchville, Md.
The acquisition will "significantly increase The Commercial Bank's already strong position in the Harford County market," said Robert T. Gentry, its president and chief executive. The account balances at the three locations total $67 million.
Maryland National, a subsidiary of MNC Financial, said the sale is part of a program to restructure the company's branch network. The Commercial Bank will hire Maryland National Bank's employes at the three branches.
The acquisition must be approved by regulatory authorities.
The U.S. Air Force exercised its third-year option on a $18 million contract with PHP Healthcare Corp. in Falls Church.
The contract provides for nursing care in several units of the Wilford Hall USAF Medical Center in San Antonio, Texas. PHP also helps the medical center complete administrative and other related services.
PHP Healthcare is a health services company that designs health-care programs for government at the local, state and federal level.
PRC Realty Systems, a division of Planning Research Corp. of McLean, has signed a letter of intent to acquire MultiList Inc. of Denver.
MultiList, a division of Realtron Corp., supplies computerized information systems and photo listing books to about 80 boards of Realtors and multiple listing service organizations throughout the country. PRC Realty provides similar listings to 145 organizations nationwide.
MultiList has more than 300 employes and annual revenues of about $20 million.
James McGrath Morris, principal owner of Isidore Stephanus Sons Publishing in Ithaca, N.Y., has bought a majority interest in Seven Locks Press Inc. in Cabin John.
Seven Locks publishes what "midlist" books -- books that turn a small profit after average sales of fewer than 3,500 copies. Its books are distributed by the National Book Network, a subsidiary of the University Press of America.
Morris said he plans to make no major changes in the operation of Seven Locks. The two firms will continue to operate separately but will probably combine their design, typesetting, advertising, distribution and billing services.
"My first priorities are to fully computerize the firm this fall, pursue subsidiary-rights sales, and increase the company's marketing efforts," said Morris.
Calvin Kytle, founder and chairman of Seven Locks, will become publisher emeritus. The present staff will be unchanged, except that president Andrew E. Rice will retire later this year.
International Technology Corp., a wholly owned subsidiary of Iverson Technology Corp., has received a $30 million contract to supply the Federal Bureau of Investigation with more than 3,000 Tempest-rated personal computers.
Under the federal Tempest program, computers are "hardened" to prevent electronic emissions that could allow outsiders to eavesdrop.
Iverson is adding seven service centers and 40 employes to its staff to fulfill the contract work. Iverson, based in McLean, installs Tempest workstations and other security hardware and software.