OAKLAND -- Samuel Washington
has no problem finding the nations of Belize or Belgium on a world map.
Some of his
bread is buttered there. Washington is founder and CEO of Side Bar & Associates Security, a growing, minority-owned Oakland company that has positioned itself to earn millions of dollars by taking advantage of the demand for homeland security in the United States as well as abroad, a market spurred by the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
Overseas, the company has won a bus security contract in Belgium.It provides security for the U.S. Embassy
in Belize and teamed with a major security company in Germany.Washington
also has won contracts to guard several federal buildings and laboratories in Montana and Irvine.
"I would say that $4 million of the $7 million we earn annually is a result of Sept. 11, 2001" said Washington
, speaking on a cell phone from Long Beach, where he
also maintains an office."A lot of now-successful small businesses couldn't make it in a very competitive private sector, so they turned to the federal government for opportunities ... and that's what we did." Washington
, 55, has opened offices in Germany and Texas.He
has 250 employees and is licensed to do business in seven states.
"I was basically referred by other government agencies," said Washington
, a native of Long Beach but an Oakland resident for 15 years. The Oakland company
has secured work from the Federal Aviation Administra tion to provide security for Air Traffic Control Towers at the Oakland International Airport, and from the U.S. Coast Guard
for work in San Francisco, Petaluma, Sacramento, San Pedro and Seattle. Washington
business in October 1997 and uses his
experience in security, food services, janitorial and administrative support services.
"We started managing accounts in the janitorial industry and then we wanted to secure government contracts," said Washington
...Washington said he later reached out to successful 8-a program participants and graduates, and large companies that had managed federal government contracts. Washington
, whose Oakland office is at 7700 Edgewater Drive, impressed officials at Security USA, an 8-a program graduate with revenues of more than $22 million a year.
Recommendations from U.S. government agencies and Security USA
get the jobs in Brussels, Belgium and Belize City, he
Some 14 months ago, Washington
started a nonprofit foundation called WorkUSAmerica, setting aside $25,000 to train more African Americans so they could secure government security jobs that pay nearly $25 a hour.After Sept. 11, 2001, many blacks with even minor criminal records lost those prized jobs and Washington
vowed then to help train others.
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