2013 Louisiana Minority Small Business Champion of the Year
D. Mauricio Diaz arrived in New Orleans from Honduras in 1969. He proudly states that he received his green card and social security card on a Friday and started work on a Monday. In his first years in the United States, he worked as a wiper in the merchant marines where he sailed on a vessel delivering ammunition to soldiers during Vietnam. During his vacation time from the merchant marines, he worked washing dishes at the Roosevelt Hotel.
After spending 20 years working as a mechanic at the Regional Transit Authority, he purchased his first Shell gasoline station with mechanic bays in Metairie, LA. All he could afford was a failing gas station that all had given up on, but he still saw potential. He believed with hard work, common sense and customer service he could turn the station around. For several months, Mr. Diaz worked as the mechanic and his wife as the cashier.
16 years later, Mr. Diaz now owns 20 gasoline stations and convenience stores. He employs over 115 people in the New Orleans area, 95% minority, and 82 % female. At the age of 62, Mr. Diaz still oversees the operations of the stations with the aid of his wife, daughter and son.
Diaz, Inc. has received numerous awards from Shell, including the Pectin Award in 2006 for a high level of commitment and execution following Hurricane Katrina. Diaz hopes to grow to 30 locations within the next 5 years.
The SBA Awards highlight the impact of outstanding entrepreneurs, small business owners, and others from all 50 states and U.S. territories during National Small Business Week (June 17 – 21, 2013). The Jefferson Chamber will host a special luncheon on June 5 at Metairie Country Club to present awards to the local champions. Over the past five years, Jefferson Chamber-nominated businesses have won a total of 39 state-wide SBA awards in several different categories, including one national winner. For more information about the awards, winners and the special events, visit www.jeffersonchamber.org.