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Contractor of Year award going to CTI Construction

If you ask Don Salazar, president of CTI Construction, what has contributed to his company's impressive growth, his answer is simple.

"We try to build really nice things, do what we say, and maintain an above-professional manner, from vice presidents to the laborers in the field," Salazar said. "We try to treat our people better than anyone else, and in return we expect more."

Simple, perhaps. Just not easy.

But CTI, a Riverdale-based design-build firm Salazar founded in 1998, seems to have found a way to make it work. By 2001, the company reported $1.1 million in revenues, which more than doubled the next year. In 2004, the company saw $9 million in business, and it should exceed that in 2005.

For its success, the U.S. Small Business Administration named CTI Construction Inc. its Utah 8(a) Contractor of the Year, as part of its annual awards event. Salazar will receive the award today at the fourth annual Women and Minority Entrepreneurial Conference.

The conference, sponsored by the Multi-Ethnic Business Committee and the Women's Business Center at the Salt Lake Chamber, will be held from 8:30 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. at the Hilton Salt Lake City Center, 255 S. West Temple.

The chamber also will present its 2005 Visionary Award at the conference to Barbara L. Reeves, Small Business Liaison at the University of Utah Purchasing Department. The award is given to a corporation, organization or individual who has seen great vision in serving the needs of the growing minority community through employment, training, upward mobility, purchasing from minority vendors and service to the community.

In addition to his job at CTI, Salazar serves on the board of directors of the Utah Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and is chairman of the board of the Ogden Area Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

"Don Salazar is one of Utah's many successful Hispanic entrepreneurs, and the Utah Hispanic Chamber of Commerce is very proud of Don and his business," Robert Rendon, chairman of the board of the Utah Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, said in a prepared statement. "Don is an example of the many Hispanic entrepreneurs in Utah that continue to make a substantial economic contribution to the state."

Steve Price, the SBA's assistant district director in Utah, said that combination is part of what makes Salazar impressive, and why he epitomizes in many ways the goal of the SBA.

"Don's done great things, and he'll represent us well regionally and nationally," Price said. "He's got a viable business, increases in revenues, and he's a stalwart in the community.

"The reason these awards are a big deal to the SBA is that minority- and women-owned businesses make up the fastest growing segment of small business owners. These are the growth markets, and they've been historically underserved. So it is important for the SBA, and the public in general, to recognize them and reach out. Because the fact is that not only are these businesses doing as well as everyone else, they're also leading the country in growth."