The regional office of the Small Business Administration has recognized the best of the best among minority owned small businesses in its 14 county district.

Francisco Guerrero, founder and president of Edinburg based-Valley Metro Security has been named the Minority Small Business Person of the Year for the SBA's Lower Rio Grande Valley District.

The company provides armed and unarmed security officers to high level clients, which locally include South Texas College, the City of Edinburg, and major corporations who have operations on the U.S. side of the border.  

VMS is contracted by the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Marshals Service, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Federal Bureau of Prisons to provide services ranging from federal courthouse security, and federal detention facilities management. VMS also performs hospital confinements and prisoner escorts.

VMS is also currently bidding for contracts in five different states, according to Guerrero. The security firm currently employs more than 600 trained officers stationed in the Valley, and at the company's headquarters in Batavia, New York.  

"That's the good thing about small business. You don't have limits. The limits are rather what you put on yourself. Our goal is to create as much employment as we possibly can.

"That has been a driving force," he said. That is, to always be focused on a goal, rather than monetary or prestigious awards. Our main goal has been to create jobs, and help those in our community."

Guerrero comes from a law enforcement background. After working as a security officer in his youth, he then went into law enforcement, where he served as a police officer in Miami, working for the Metro Dade Police Department before moving to the Hidalgo County Sheriff's Office.

VMS began in 2001 with five security officers. At that time Guerrero appealed to Mexican business owners who in essence became the spring board into major contracts, and enabled the staffing of security among the various Maquilas and companies in the Free Trade Zone.  

"What sets these gentlemen apart is they are very ambitious, and they really take the time to look for the contracting opportunities out there," said Rick Carrera, procurement specialist with UTPA's Small Business Development Center.

Carrera has been working with VMS for the past year, assisting the company in their endeavors to secure exclusive, and lucrative government contracts. SBDC assisted helped VMS get 8(a)-Certified, and in the process, helped them get on a schedule to do business with the General Services Administration.

An 8(a) contract is an SBA minority business program, which enables firms to compete in an open market, according to SBa. The program facilitates the award of contracts, and provides business development assistance.

"They (VMS) do the research that is necessary, and take the initiative to go out there and take it further, finding people they can talk to, to be successful," Carrera said. "The fact that they want to pursue government contracts, well that's why they're here now."