NMSDC travels to New Orleans
for its annual conference
The associated day-long business fair boasted a total of 640 booths, nearly
200 of them belonging to big companies looking to talk seriously with diverse suppliers
The National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC) traveled to New Orleans, LA last October for its annual conference and business opportunity fair. Asian, Black, Hispanic and Native American business owners, corporate supplier diversity pros, purchasing and supply-chain execs and other corporate decision-makers got together for four days at New Orleans’ Morial convention center. The event was held in the Crescent City once before, in Y2K.
The conference was co-hosted by the Louisiana Minority Supplier Development Council, one of NMSDC’s thirty-eight regional councils. Its theme was “Minority businesses and corporate America: a recipe for success.”
“Strong minority businesses can play a significant role in this country’s economic recovery,” says NMSDC president Harriet R. Michel. “It is my hope that the conference and business opportunity fair introduced our corporate members to outstanding minority suppliers from Louisiana as well as other states.”
The event began with the single-day business opportunity fair. The next two days featured a full schedule of workshops and plenary sessions led by CEOs, supplier development people, government and corporate purchasing pros.
PepsiCo named corporation of the year
The conference ended with an awards banquet that honored corporations, suppliers, minority supplier development leaders and NMSDC councils.
PepsiCo received the corporation of the year award for its achievements in minority business development. In 2008 the company spent $614 million with nearly 400 NMSDC-certified minority businesses, increasing its first-tier spend by 10 percent over 2007. The company’s combined first- and second-tier spend totaled more than $900 million.
PepsiCo funds scholarships that send minority business owners to NMSDC’s advanced management education program at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, and participates in many other NMSDC programs. It is also active with several NMSDC regional councils and the United Kingdom’s Minority Supplier Development group, and was a founding member of the Canadian Aboriginal and Minority Supplier Council.
More awards given
NMSDC presented a number of other awards. Benita Fortner, director of supplier diversity at Raytheon Co, received the minority supplier development leader of the year award.
Four minority-owned firms were recognized as national suppliers of the year for their business savvy and community service: The Voice of Your Customer (Cincinnati, OH), a marketing and consulting firm; General Data Kommunications and Networking (Pines, FL), an IT software consulting company; MarkMaster (Tampa, FL), a stamping and sign company; and Artech Information Systems (Cedar Knolls, NJ), an IT staffing and consulting firm. Twelve other minority businesses were honored as regional suppliers of the year.
The Georgia Minority Supplier Development Council was named council of the year. Raytheon’s Benita Fortner was honored a second time, along with James Lowry, an authority on minority business development. Fortner and Lowry received special appreciation awards for their long-standing accomplishments and volunteer leadership with NMSDC.
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