For almost all of Amtec’s 62-year history, we had not participated in local, state, or federal offerings designed to help small businesses grow. On the federal level, the Small Business Administration (SBA) offers many programs to help small businesses become stable and grow. Their program offerings are abundant ranging from learning resources to coaching, contracts for small businesses, loans, and more.
At the state and local levels, there are many program offerings with the same intent. Recently, Amtec applied for and has been certified as a Minority-Owned Business by an organization of California Public Utilities. The California Public utility organization has a goal to spend a percentage of its annual budget with Minority Businesses Enterprises (MBE).
To qualify as an MBE, the owner of more than 50% of the company stock must be a qualified minority. Robert Underwood founded Amtec back in 1959. Bob wasn’t a minority. A few years later, Bob was joined in the business by a partner, Peter Van Dyken. In 1984, Scott Kuethen (Underwood’s son-in-law) came to work at Amtec as a recruiter. In the early 90’s Scott began buying Amtec stock. By 2002, Scott owned over 90% of Amtec shares.
In looking at Scott’s last name, you’d never guess he’s a minority. As it turns out Scott was adopted when he was three years old. In his early teens, Scott began searching for his biological sister, mother, father, and grandparents. This decades-long search led Scott to the discovery that he is a Native Hawaiian. He’s known this for several decades but until recently he’s never used that heritage to aid in business development.
As a Native Hawaiian registered with the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, Scott and Amtec are pursuing business development opportunities afforded to minority-owned businesses. These opportunities range in scope but are intended to help small minority businesses grow and become more competitive among large businesses with greater resources.