Get to Know a Top Advocate for the Business Community

Getting to Know Daniel Parra

MOCONNECT recently spoke with Daniel Parra, MCEDC’s Director of Small and Minority Business Development. A well-known advocate in the community, Daniel helps to fill gaps and find what’s needed to help grow businesses. He also helps to cultivate partnerships and opportunities within communities.

MOCONNECT: How long have you been working in the economic development field and tell us about the work you do in our community.

Parra: I have worked in the economic development field for over 20 years. My focus is to connect and build relationships with the many diverse communities in MoCo and I regularly speak with our residents and leaders. By learning about their constituencies, services, and priorities I can help them fill any gaps to grow their businesses.

Previously, I took the lead on a program that enhances leadership and language skills for immigrant workers who work in the construction, landscaping, janitorial services and auto mechanic fields. Through this program, I created an alliance with the Washington D.C. Hispanic Construction Association and supported the launch of the new Mr. Car automobile dealerships and Barron’s Lumber locations in Montgomery County.

MOCONNECT:  Tell us about your background.  

Parra: I graduated from the Universidad Autónoma de Colombia, Santafé de Bogotá, Colombia with a Bachelor of Science degree in economics in 1988. I am fully bilingual in English and Spanish, which allows me to be a voice for the local Hispanic community.

For example, while part of the Latino Economic Development Corporation, I managed projects like the development of the Mid-14th Street/Tivoli North Business Association and fostered partnerships with local Hispanic and mainstream media.

MOCONNECT: You work quite a bit with growing businesses and becoming an integral part of the community, helping to bridge gaps and pave the way for businesses, particularly entrepreneurs.

Parra: Yes, without question. Every day I get to be a resource for our local minority business community.

Recently I helped minority-owned businesses, like Elite Insurance, Bell Flowers and HelioCampus Inc., be a part of the County’s MOVE program. It is a great initiative that offers an incentive to businesses to receive a rent subsidy to reduce start-up and relocation expenses. Helping them thrive, regardless if they are a small or large business, a new or existing company, is not just a job to me, it is an honor. 

MOCONNECT: What is something most people don’t know about you?

Parra: You can find it in my bio, but I like to have a little fun when out of the office. My daughter challenged me to go sky diving. I thought, why not? I can wing it. However, as thrilling and exciting as it was, I think I’ll be staying on the ground from now on unless I need to travel somewhere by plane.

I would consider myself a food connoisseur, as I enjoy exploring new restaurants in the surrounding areas. I also highly value and make an effort to spend time with my family, whether that be going to sporting events or jumping out of an airplane, thousands of feet in the air.

Learn more about ways that MCEDC can help grow Women and Minority Business in the County.