Diversity/Careers in Engineering & Information Technology



October/November 2014

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Diversity/Careers October/November 2014 Issue

Anniversary Q&A
Jeep Cherokee team
Tech pros with disabilities
Financial IT & BI
Asian Americans
Women at Kleinfelder
Science Genius

MBEs in tech
News & Views
Regional roundup
Supplier diversity

Diversity in action
News & Views
Veterans in action



October/November 2014

MBDA recognizes 2014 National Minority Enterprise Development Week award winners

Washington, DC – The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) honored thirteen organizations, businesses and individuals at the National Minority Enterprise Development (MED) Week conference held in Washington, DC in August.

“This year’s MED Week awardees exemplify growth, diversity and transformation, and are true champions for the minority business community,” said Alejandra Y. Castillo, MBDA national director. “We’re very proud of their tremendous achievements in helping grow the national economy through innovation, job and wealth creation.”

The awards celebrate and recognize outstanding achievements of minority entrepreneurs based on the challenges the business has overcome, total revenues, total jobs created and the economic impact the business has had on its community. MBDA also recognizes individuals and organizations that have demonstrated leadership and commitment in advancing the minority business community.

The 2014 Abe Venable Legacy awards for Lifetime Achievement went to Michael A. Grant, president of the National Bankers Association and, posthumously, Henry T. “Hank” Wilfong, Jr, founder of the National Association of Small and Disadvantaged Businesses (NASDB), an advocacy group.

Michael K. Robinson, program director for global supplier diversity at IBM, received the Ronald H. Brown Leadership award.

Advocate of the Year awards were presented to Sue Au Allen, Esq, national president and CEO of the U.S. Pan Asian American Chamber of Commerce (USPAACC), and Lance C. Morgan, CEO for Ho-Chunk, Inc, an economic development corporation for the Winnebago tribe of Nebraska.

Diane G. Dempsey, director of socio-economic business programs at BAE Systems Intelligence & Security, received a Distinguished Supplier Diversity award. The Access to Capital award went to Ronald Newsome, director of Stonehenge Capital Company, LLC.

Armando Guzman, Perspectiva Nacional anchor at Entravision Communications, received the Media award.

Minority Retail Energy Firm of the Year was awarded to Hightowers Petroleum Company.

Other awards included Minority Manufacturer of the Year to Detroit Manufacturing Systems, LLC; Minority Manufacturer of the Year to Ruiz Food Products, Inc; Minority Construction Firm of the Year to Venegas Engineering Management & Construction; and Minority Exporter of the Year to Universal Companies, LLC.

For more information on the 2014 MED Week award winners and ceremony, visit medweek.mbda.gov.

August/September 2014

NMSDC honors top supplier diversity proponents

New York, NY – The National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC) honored Joan N. Kerr, director of supplier diversity and sustainability at Pacific Gas & Electric Company, for her outstanding commitment to supplier diversity and minority supplier development.

Kerr was recognized at a leadership gala in May at the Hilton New York Midtown along with Richard A. Hughes of Procter & Gamble, Diane Lin of Starbucks, Fernando Hernandez of Microsoft, and minority business enterprise (MBE) leaders William G. Mays, Roderick Rickman and Daniel Sung Park.

More than 1,200 guests attended the black-tie event, including CEOs and executives of Fortune 500 corporations and Asian, black, Hispanic and Native American business owners from across the country. Jay Williams, recently sworn in as assistant secretary for economic development at the U.S. Department of Commerce, provided keynote remarks. Karen Finney, of MSNBC’s Disrupt with Karen Finney, was the emcee.

Kerr won the Trailblazer award, which recognizes an innovative corporate leader whose pioneering spirit has paved the way for the creation of robust supplier diversity processes throughout a ten-plus-year career. She was acknowledged as a mentor for other supplier diversity professionals.

“Under Joan’s leadership, Pacific Gas & Electric has more than doubled its annual spending with diverse business enterprises to over $2 billion,” said NMSDC president Joset Wright-Lacy. “She and her company are true examples of the power of a diverse supplier base on our global economy.”

William G. Mays, the chairman and CEO of Mays Chemical Company (Indianapolis, IN), was recognized for his achievement as a minority business owner. Mays won the MBE Clarion award, which honors an inspirational minority business leader with an established record of success for more than twenty years. The award celebrates achievements that provide a platform to tout the value of minority suppliers to the global corporate supply chain.

“Mays is nothing short of a great success story, and he continues to inspire his newer colleagues as they forge their own business paths,” said Wright-Lacy. “Mays started as a one-person operation, and now owns a company that today serves clients in all fifty states, Puerto Rico and Mexico.”

Hughes, chief purchasing officer for the Procter & Gamble Company, won the Clarion award, which honors a corporate leader who has demonstrated the value of minority supplier development for more than twenty years.

“Since Hughes became the chief purchasing officer, Procter & Gamble has spent over $20 billion with minority-owned suppliers,” said Wright-Lacy. “His leadership is a testament to the results a supplier diversity process can achieve with unwavering commitment.”

Roderick Rickman, the chairman and CEO of Rickman Enterprise Group (Detroit, MI), won the MBE Trailblazer award, which recognizes the owner of an MBE whose pioneering spirit has laid the foundation of success for other MBEs throughout the NMSDC network.

Diane Lin, director of global procurement at Starbucks Coffee Company and board chair of NMSDC affiliate Northwest Mountain Minority Supplier Council, and Daniel Sung Park, founder, president and CEO of Eclaro International (New York, NY), were honored with Catalyst awards.

The Catalyst award is presented to a supplier diversity professional employee of a corporate member company who has five to ten years of experience in a corporate supplier diversity role, and to an MBE who has been actively engaged within the NMSDC network for five to ten years. Recipients demonstrate exceptional leadership while engaging internal and external peers in support of NMSDC’s mission.

Fernando Hernandez, supplier diversity director at Microsoft Corporation, received the Robert M. Stuart Leadership award, which is presented to a supplier diversity professional at a corporate member organization in recognition of “overwhelming support and generosity that elevates the entire NMSDC network.”

The Vanguard award went to Carolyn Mosby, president of the Mid-States Minority Supplier Development Council. The award is presented to an NMSDC affiliate council president who has exhibited leadership in driving the value proposition for minority supplier development among corporate and MBE constituents throughout the NMSDC network.

WBE Alom receives inaugural Gold Eclipse award at NWBOC Decades of Excellence II gala

Fremont, CA – Woman-owned business Alom was honored in May with a 2014 Gold Eclipse award by the National Women Business Owners Corporation (NWBOC). Hannah Kain, president and CEO of Alom, received the honor, which recognizes the company for its extensive outreach to diverse suppliers and its exceptional supplier diversity program.

For more than a decade, Alom has practiced a partnership model with its diverse suppliers, facilitating technology solutions, mentoring them, and supporting their cash flow with expedited payments. Alom’s supply base management team and development team designed a state-of-the-art vendor management system to give staff and clients extensive data, including diversity spend reporting and sustainability metrics. These initiatives have enabled Alom to achieve impressive tier 2 diversity spending.

“Having a strong and diversified supplier base is critical for our success as a global supply chain company,” Kain said. “We and our customers believe in being inclusive. We are honored that NWBOC recognizes our commitment and the work of our supply base management team. It is a very meaningful recognition to receive the first Gold Eclipse award.”

“This is a unique award program that recognizes certified women business owners for outstanding achievements. We are proud to present it to Alom,” said Janet Harris-Lange, NWBOC president.

NWBOC Eclipse awards honorees were announced at the organization’s Decades of Excellence II awards gala at PGA National Resort and Spa in Palm Beach Gardens, FL. The award program was created by NWBOC to recognize, reward and celebrate the achievements of certified women business owners.

Alom is a global supply chain management firm, serving as a partner to its Fortune 100 clients in the technology, automotive, medical, telecommunications, and utility/energy sectors. Its expert team of strategists, engineers, and specialists operate in Alom’s headquarters and its fifteen affiliated facilities around the world.

June/July 2014

BMW’s tier 1 Supplier Diversity Matchmaker Conference sees increase in supplier participation
Spartanburg, SC – BMW Manufacturing hosted its third annual tier 1 Supplier Diversity Matchmaker Conference in April. The event drew more than 1,400 professionals from women-owned and minority-owned companies for a day of professional development and networking with 136 BMW tier 1 suppliers. Supplier participation increased 10 percent over last year.

Philip Heinrichsdorff, vice president for procurement at BMW Manufacturing, kicked off the event with supplier diversity results for the plant’s direct and indirect supply base. “Not only have we significantly increased our direct spend with women and minority-owned tier 1 suppliers by 237 percent since 2011, but we are also dramatically impacting the buying decisions of our tier 1 suppliers. They increased their minority spend by over 500 percent since 2011, the year we launched this event,” he said.

The event included breakout sessions and a business opportunity fair featuring booths from 136 tier 1 suppliers. Guests were introduced to several of the BMW Group Intercultural Innovation award winners. The Intercultural Innovation award is a partnership between the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) and the BMW Group that aims to select and support the most innovative grassroots projects that encourage intercultural dialogue and cooperation around the world.

“The BMW Group’s commitment to diversity is well documented around the globe,” said Andreas Kalscheuer, TS-M-1, manager of indirect purchasing for Plant Spartanburg. “Spartanburg’s matchmaker event is another great vehicle to bring awareness to the importance of a diversified supplier base to deliver qualified, competitive vendors for BMW and our business partners.”

Louise Connell, TS-M-3, who organized the event, said, “The networking has proven successful and provides more opportunities for minority and women-owned companies to meet our tier 1 suppliers. This opens the door for them to have more business opportunities, even outside of BMW.”

Keynote speakers were Pamela Prince Eason, president and CEO of Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) and Butch Graves, president and CEO of Black Enterprise.

World Wide Technology, Inc, a $6.5 billion company and the largest African American-owned system integrator, attended the event as a minority-owned business. Client director Sal DeMarco said he was back for the second year. DeMarco said, “We are trying to do business with firms locally, especially BMW, and we are making some headway.”

National Grid and CVS Caremark showcase business connections at supplier diversity event
Providence, RI – In April, National Grid and CVS Caremark held a business opportunity event in Providence for local diverse businesses and potential suppliers. The Power of Connections conference was designed to expand the number of current and potential business opportunities for local diverse businesses, primarily those that are women, minority or veteran-owned.

The event brought together more than 200 diverse businesses. They participated in networking sessions and attended workshops focused on how National Grid and CVS Caremark purchase goods and services. They had one-on-one matchmaking opportunities with buyers from the two companies and training sessions on diversity certification.

National Grid currently works with 2,500 diverse businesses, generating more than $700 million in revenue for those companies annually.

“National Grid believes in the power and benefits of doing business with a diverse network of suppliers,” said Timothy F. Horan, president of National Grid in Rhode Island. “Our company continuously looks for opportunities to support local economic growth, like this Power of Connections event.” The relationships the power company develops with diverse businesses at these events are invaluable, he noted.

“CVS Caremark is committed to developing business relationships with diverse-owned companies,” said David Casey, senior vice president of workforce strategies and chief diversity officer at CVS Caremark.

“I commend National Grid and CVS Caremark for their commitment to expanding opportunities for women, minority and veteran-owned businesses,” said Providence mayor Angel Taveras. “A diverse business community strengthens our economy, and we must make every effort to ensure that our state’s diversity is fully reflected in the pool of vendors providing goods and services across Rhode Island.”

National Grid and CVS Caremark are also sponsoring participants in a curriculum designed by the Professional Education Center at the Roger Williams University School of Continuing Studies (Providence), where potential suppliers learn how to participate in the two companies’ supply chains.

National Grid has held additional Power of Connections events in its Massachusetts and New York service territories.

California Public Utilities Commission supplier diversity program hits procurement milestone
San Francisco, CA – The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) announced in March that companies participating in its supplier diversity program have hit a new milestone: procuring $8.5 billion in goods and services from women, minority and disabled veteran-owned business enterprises.

The CPUC encourages companies to procure from diverse suppliers, generally small businesses. In the latest revision of its general order 156, the CPUC encourages investor-owned utilities to purchase 21.5 percent of goods and services from diverse firms (15 percent minority-owned firms, 5 percent women-owned firms, and 1.5 percent disabled veteran-owned firms). Utilities and communication companies report annually on their procurement purchases from these enterprises. Reports detailing 2013 spending were submitted to the CPUC in March and show an approximate $500 million increase in procurement over 2012.

Of the more than thirty companies participating in the supplier diversity program, those doing the most business with diverse firms in 2013 include Pacific Gas & Electric Company: $2.3 billion, or 42.1 percent; Southern California Edison: $1.4 billion, or 40.99 percent; AT&T: $1.2 billion, or 51.57 percent; AT&T Wireless: $999 million, or 27.74 percent; Sprint: $546 million, or 41.88 percent; San Diego Gas & Electric: $453 million, or 44.88 percent; Southern California Gas Company: $428 million, or 45.38 percent; Verizon: $115 million, or 48.84 percent; and Comcast: $64 million, or 22.35 percent.

“Thanks to the state’s supplier diversity program, utilities and communication companies are investing in the diversity of America, and they continue to do so at an increasing level,” CPUC president Michael R. Peevey said. “I commend the companies for this accomplishment and challenge them to continue to grow their opportunities with diverse businesses. Small and diverse businesses are the backbone of our economy and play an important role in the state’s economic well-being.”

April/May 2014

WPEO honors outstanding women business owners and corporations
New York, NY – The Women Presidents’ Educational Organization (WPEO) recognized outstanding achievements of women’s business enterprises (WBEs), corporations and women’s business advocates in New York, Northern New Jersey, Southern Connecticut and the Washington, DC, Maryland and Virginia areas at the WPEO’s annual awards breakfast in March at the Pierre Hotel in New York City.

As the Northeast regional affiliates of the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC), the nation’s leading advocate of women-owned businesses and third-party certification organization, WPEO certifies that companies have met official criteria as businesses owned, managed and controlled by women.

The 2014 awards for outstanding corporation went to PepsiCo for the New York region and Exxon Mobil Corporation for the DC region. Jaymie Mitchell of Bank of America was named outstanding women’s business advocate.

WBEs Hallie Satz of HighRoad Press in the New York region and Jacqueline Smith of New Kent Coatings in the DC region received Star awards. President’s awards went to Mary Nittolo of the Studio for the New York region and Carol O’Riordan of the O’Riordan Bethel Law Firm for the DC region.

Criteria for the winners of the outstanding corporation awards include accomplishments in support of women business owners and the women’s business community, innovation, Done Deal program participation, and overall commitment to the mission of the WPEO. Advocate awardees are selected based on significant involvement with WPEO and support of women-owned businesses. The president’s award winners are selected by Dr Marsha Firestone, WPEO president and founder, and Sandra Eberhard, executive director of WPEO DC; winners “have gone above and beyond in their service to the WPEO.”

“It is my privilege to recognize these extraordinary WBEs, corporate members and advocates in the New York and Washington, DC regions,” said Firestone. “This is our fifteenth anniversary year, an auspicious moment in our history. I am proud of all that WPEO has achieved to increase access to business opportunities for WBEs,” she said.

WBENC announces best companies for WBEs
Dallas, TX – The Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) recently announced the fifteenth annual list of America’s top corporations for women’s business enterprises (WBEs). The list is the only national recognition of leading corporate supplier diversity programs.

The corporations are recognized for their efforts in breaking down barriers and proactively integrating WBEs into their supply chains, says Pamela Prince-Eason, WBENC president and CEO. “Our top corporations know that stronger WBEs will drive new sources of revenue, deepen customer satisfaction and generate a stronger economy.” WBENC is the largest U.S. third-party certifier of WBEs and an active advocate for women in business.

The top corporations were honored at the WBENC Summit & Salute to Women’s Business Enterprises, which took place in March in New Orleans, LA. The event showcased the companies’ top executives who discussed the inclusion of WBEs in the supply chain. The event drew 1,500 attendees, including C-suite and senior executives of WBENC corporate and government members, WBEs, WBENC’s regional partner organizations (RPOs), and other stakeholders in the women’s and diverse business community.

Forty-five companies were included on the list, among them AT&T, Capital One, Ford Motor Company, PepsiCo, Pitney Bowes, the Coca-Cola Company and UPS.

The theme of the Summit & Salute was “Join Forces. Succeed Together.” The event is designed to drive business development and collaborative success among WBENC’s corporate and government members and WBEs. This year’s Summit & Salute was sponsored by Accenture and Ernst & Young LLP.

The Summit & Salute also honored fourteen WBE Stars, each one representing a WBENC RPO. Among those honored was Jacqueline Cleary, CEO of Atlas Data Systems, along with several other engineering and IT-focused firms.

This year also marked the twentieth anniversary of the Women’s Business Enterprise Council South, headquartered in Louisiana.

“We look forward to additional companies joining the list of America’s top corporations for women’s business enterprises, and to following the successes of our current honorees as they continue to ‘Join Forces’ and ensure that leading companies are recognized for their commitments. ‘Success together’ will allow WBEs to thrive,” Prince-Eason said.

February/March 2014

Chrysler Group receives NMSDC’s Company of the Year Innovation award
Auburn, MI – Chrysler Group LLC has received the inaugural Company of the Year–Innovation award for 2013 from the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC).

Since 1983, the Chrysler Group has purchased more than $50 billion from minority-owned suppliers.

“I’m pleased to present our inaugural Innovation award to Chrysler Group,” says Joset Wright-Lacy, president of the National Minority Supplier Development Council. “Its High Focus supplier program is a best practice that creates a win-win for Chrysler and its suppliers, and serves as a great example of supply chain innovation.” The High Focus program, established in 2011, works with tier 1 Chrysler suppliers to equip them with the tools and support to increase their spending with diverse suppliers and achieve their diversity goals. The diversity spend status of each supplier is monitored monthly and reviewed with the supplier quarterly.

Since the program’s inception, fifty-two suppliers have improved their minority purchasing by more than 92 percent, more than $325 million. Chrysler is the only automaker to include diversity sourcing performance at the tier 2 level as a criterion on a supplier’s scorecard.

The company’s annual Matchmaker event provides minority-owned, women-owned and veteran-owned businesses access to Chrysler Group’s tier 1 suppliers and to decision makers in the company’s procurement organization. The program has generated more than $2 billion in new business opportunities for exhibitors since 2000. In 2013 the event attracted more than 3,000 participants. More than 270 minority-owned, women-owned, veteran-owned and majority-owned Chrysler Group suppliers participated in the day-long event.

“Chrysler Group’s supplier diversity program brings together our culture of inclusion with our passion for innovation,” says Scott Kunselman, SVP of purchasing and supplier quality at Chrysler. “We are very proud that programs like Matchmaker and High Focus not only create new business opportunities for minority suppliers but set benchmarks that other companies can emulate, moving the entire supplier diversity landscape forward.”

The company’s supplier diversity goals require that 10 percent of a tier 1 supplier’s procurement buy be sourced to certified minority suppliers. Chrysler Group announced early in 2013 that it spent $2.1 billion with approximately 200 minority suppliers in 2011, representing 8.5 percent of its total annual purchasing. Women-owned businesses, which are tracked separately, accounted for $301 million of the company’s spending. Overall, Chrysler Group purchased $31 billion in direct and indirect parts, materials and services in 2011.

Raytheon’s Fortner is new WBENC board chair
Washington, DC – The Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) has named Benita Fortner chair of the WBENC board of directors.

Fortner is director of supplier diversity for Raytheon Company (Waltham, MA). She previously served as first vice chair to Laura Taylor, VP of strategic sourcing and procurement operations at Pitney Bowes Inc. Taylor became WBENC board chair in 2011 and will continue to sit on the board as immediate past chair.

“Benita Fortner has been a tremendous partner to me over the last three years. We at WBENC are proud and honored that she will bring her talent and deep experience to leading the board,” Taylor says.

“Benita is an outstanding professional,” adds Pamela Prince-Eason, WBENC president and CEO and a former board chair. ”I have enjoyed working with her in her many roles. She has contributed greatly to the WBENC board, and I am very excited that she will be our organization’s board chair.”

Prior to her role as first vice chair, Fortner chaired member services and programs for the WBENC board. She has been involved in minority and women business outreach and development for more than twenty years, and has served in numerous leadership roles for business, government and educational organizations.

She was national chair for National Minority Enterprise Development (MED) Week from 2002 to 2004, and was named MED chair emeritus in 2005. She has also served on the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Small Business Week planning committee.

Fortner was an NMSDC Advocate of the Year and received a Diversity Leadership Award from the Black Engineer of the Year (BEYA) organization.

Prior to joining Raytheon, Fortner was corporate liaison officer and manager of socioeconomic programs for Hughes Electronics Corporation, where she held many management positions over a twenty-eight year career. She has undergraduate and graduate law degrees from Golden West University and completed Raytheon’s Business Leadership program.

Northrop Grumman honors suppliers for supporting Socio-Economic Business Programs
Falls Church, VA – Northrop Grumman Corporation honored thirty-two suppliers for their outstanding performance in support of its Socio-Economic Business Programs (SEBP).

The SEBP strives to ensure that capable small businesses receive the maximum practicable subcontracting opportunities on all major programs. It focuses on businesses classified as small disadvantaged, woman-owned, veteran-owned and service-disabled veteran-owned, historically underutilized business (HUB) zone, AbilityOne, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender and historically black colleges/ universities (HBCUs), as well as minority-serving institutions.

Among the suppliers receiving awards were American Product Distributors Inc. (Charlotte, NC), Boecore, Inc. (Colorado Springs, CO), Corporate Subscription Management Service (Montvale, NJ), LTC Engineering Associates, Inc. (Sarasota, FL), Open SAN Consulting (Atlanta, GA) and Westech International (Albuquerque, NM).

“We recognize the critical role our small business suppliers play in helping us meet our aggressive SEBP goals, and in applying innovation, affordability and top performance to meet the increasingly challenging global security needs of our customers,” said Harry Q. H. Lee II, vice president of corporate contracts, pricing and supply chain at Northrop Grumman. “The awardees demonstrated superior business support and made outstanding contributions to our service-disabled veterans’ outreach, mentor-protégé programs, HBCU goals, AbilityOne program, and other initiatives.”

In 2013, Northrop Grumman spent $6.9 billion with approximately 9,500 suppliers. More than 36 percent of Northrop Grumman procurement spending goes to small businesses and W/MBEs. The company has met and exceeded its 23 percent small business statutory goals for the last ten-plus years.

NY & NJ Minority Supplier Development Council presents awards at fortieth gala celebration
New York, NY – Minority entrepreneurs and Fortune 500 companies were honored at the New York & New Jersey Minority Supplier Development Council’s fortieth anniversary partnership awards gala held in December at the New York Marriott Marquis.

The council presented the National Corporation of the Year award to Johnson & Johnson. Con Edison received the Regional Corporation of the Year award. Theresa Harrison, director of supplier diversity at Ernst & Young, LLP, was named Advocate of the Year. In addition, the council presented the Chairperson’s award to Emmett Walker, president and CEO of Walker International Transportation and chair of the council’s minority business input committee.

Supplier of the Year awards were presented to several multicultural businesses that distinguished themselves in business and service to their communities. Among the recipients were two IT-focused MBEs: staffing firm Eclaro International and IT solutions provider Pride Technologies.

“For forty years, the council has been instrumental in helping thousands of New York and New Jersey minority companies grow their businesses,” said Pauline Gebon, chairperson of the council and VP for supplier diversity at Adecco North America (Melville, NY). “The council’s fortieth anniversary is a tribute to the long-term positive impact of the collaborations between our certified minority businesses and our corporate members.”

Ernst & Young’s Harrison was the corporate co-chair, and Noorali Sonawalla, founder and CEO of Sunrise Systems, was the MBE co-chair. Gold sponsors included Avis Budget Group, BNY Mellon, Con Edison and PepsiCo.

The council, a National Minority Supplier Development Council affiliate, has approximately 200 corporate members and 1,300 certified MBE participants. Its jurisdiction covers New York State through Trenton, NJ.

Emilia DiMenco is new president at Women’s Business Development Center
Chicago, IL – Emilia DiMenco was named president and CEO of the Women’s Business Development Center (WBDC, Chicago) in August. She succeeds co-founders Hedy M. Ratner and Carol Dougal.

Ratner and Dougal founded WBDC in 1986 when less than 10 percent of U.S. businesses were woman owned. It was one of the first women’s business assistance centers in the country. WBDC has helped more than 66,000 women in the greater Chicago area, and also helped establish fourteen additional women’s business assistance centers in six states.

DiMenco joined WBDC as COO in 2010 after a thirty-year career as an executive vice president with BMO Harris N.A. She had served on the board of WBDC for several years before that.

At WBDC, she launched two microloan programs with a pool of nearly $1 million. She led an initiative to automate the organization’s economic impact monitoring and reporting which has led to a significant increase in financial contributions.

DiMenco contributes to civic and professional organizations and serves on a number of boards and councils. She’s a leader in Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP), helping the organization develop policies for access to capital for women-owned businesses.

Since its founding WBDC has grown from a two-person operation to a national presence in women’s economic development with a budget of $3.3 million.

Pennsylvania-New Jersey-Delaware MSDC recognizes corporate diversity and supplier excellence
Philadelphia, PA – The Pennsylvania-New Jersey-Delaware Minority Supplier Development Council (PA-NJ-DE MSDC) announced its corporation and supplier of the year winners at the MSDC Choice awards gala held recently at the Hyatt at the Bellevue in Philadelphia, PA.

The celebration brought together over 450 guests, including Fortune 500 executives, minority business owners, public and private sector leaders, and government officials.

“It was a great night to celebrate corporate diversity and supplier excellence,” said Wade Colclough, president and CEO of the PA-NJ-DE MSDC. “It was gratifying to honor our corporate members for providing contract opportunities for diverse MSDC-certified MBEs and to recognize those MBEs who consistently provide stellar service to corporate America.”

Comcast NBCUniversal, the global media and technology company, received the National Corporation of the Year award. AmeriHealth Caritas Family of Companies received the Regional Corporation of the Year award. Both awards honor the winning companies’ supplier diversity engagement, contracting activity, leadership, and minority business enterprise (MBE) development.

Four MBEs were named Suppliers of the Year, based on sales revenue, high-quality products and services, contributions to the growth and development of society and their communities and other criteria. The recipients were Jidan Cleaning, LLC; Wu & Associates, Inc.; Union Packaging, LLC; and Populus Group, LLC.

Saunjah Powell-Pointer, associate director of supplier diversity at Merck, and Marla Hamilton, VP of marketing and business development at Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation, were named Advocates of the Year.

Merck, BNY Mellon and Johnson & Johnson were the event’s top gold sponsors.

PA-NJ-DE MSDC is an affiliate of the National Minority Supplier Development Council. It represents over 150 corporate members and 425 MBEs with more than 35,000 employees and $14 billion in total revenue. It serves southeastern Pennsylvania, South Jersey and Delaware.

December 2013/January 2014

Mississippi River bridge project utilizes diverse contractors and workforce
St. Louis, MO – More than 15 percent of the $700 million cost of the new Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge over the Mississippi River at St. Louis was spent on contracts with disadvantaged business enterprises (DBEs). The overall project, which includes roadway approaches on both the Missouri and Illinois side, provided 229 contracts worth more than $108 million to 113 certified minority-owned and women-owned companies.

Women make up nearly one in every ten workers building the $230 million main span of the new bridge, according to Kwame Building Group, the firm overseeing the project’s diversity and workforce inclusion for the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT). More than one in five workers on the bridge main span are minorities. Among the MoDOT employees are two women engineers and three minority engineers.

The bridge connects downtown St. Louis and southwestern Illinois. It’s a four-lane cable-stayed bridge with a main span of 1,500 feet, and will carry Interstate 70 traffic. It is expected to open in February 2014.

As of September, women workers had performed 9.9 percent of the construction work hours on the main span of the bridge, and minority workers had performed 22.3 percent. U.S. Department of Labor goals encourage at least a 6.9 percent female workforce and at least a 14.7 percent minority workforce on any federally funded project in the region, including the new Mississippi River Bridge project.

MoDOT’s ongoing effort to expand job access and diversity in transportation projects, first implemented on the New I-64 expansion project in St. Louis, has been named “The Missouri Model” by the Washington, DC-based nonprofit Conference of Minority Transportation Officials (COMTO).

IBM receives NMSDC’s Corporation of the Year award
San Antonio, TX – At its national conference and business fair in October, the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC, nmsdc.org) named IBM (Armonk, NY) Corporation of the Year. The award recognized the company’s achievements in minority business development.

The awards ceremony capped a four-day conference and business opportunity fair attended by nearly 6,000 corporate executives, supplier diversity professionals, government agency representatives and minority business owners from around the world.

The Corporation of the Year award is the organization’s top award. NMSDC recognizes a major corporation dedicated to improving the overall participation of Asian, black, Hispanic and Native American suppliers in the global corporate supply chain. Finalists for the award included Ford Motor Company, Johnson Controls, Raytheon and Toyota.

“IBM’s unwavering commitment to supplier diversity predates the chartering of NMSDC in 1972,” said NMSDC president Joset Wright-Lacy. “The technology giant was one of the first corporations to start a supplier development program. Over the course of four decades, IBM has solidified its position among the leading practitioners of global supplier diversity.”

IBM was a founding member of NMSDC, and spent $3.3 billion with first and second-tier diverse suppliers in 2012. IBM has been active in minority supplier development since 1968 and has consistently spent in the $1 billion-plus range with minority and women-owned suppliers since 2000. IBM was the first information technology company to become a member of the Billion Dollar Roundtable.

The Corporate Excellence in Access to Capital award, one of two new awards, was presented to Bank of America for its Small Business Reserve Grant program.

Chrysler Group LLC was honored with the inaugural Corporate Innovation award for its High Focus Supplier program, which encourages lower- performing suppliers to improve by creating a structured reporting process.

NMSDC also presented Reginald K. Layton of Johnson Controls with the Minority Supplier Development Leader of the Year award. The Houston Minority Supplier Development Council was named NMSDC Regional Council of the Year. Minority-owned firms Ad Pro, 21st Century Expo Group, Way To Be Designs and Guy Brown were honored as national Suppliers of the Year.

Twelve minority businesses were honored as regional Suppliers of the Year: Cube Care Company; Custom Service Plastics, Inc; Diamond Restoration, LLC; GDKN Corporation; Metal-Era; New Age Communications; Osceola Consulting; Pride Technologies; Rose International, Inc; Tempo Creative Consultants; World Wide Technology, Inc; and Zycron, Inc.

Women’s Business Development Center honors entrepreneurs and advocates at annual conference
Chicago, IL – Nearly 2,000 women and men attended the Women’s Business Development Center’s (WBDC) twenty-seventh annual Entrepreneurial Woman’s Conference in September at Chicago’s McCormick Place.

Successful women entrepreneurs and advocates who have demonstrated a commitment to strengthening women’s business ownership and economic development received honors at the Hall of Fame awards luncheon.

Carolyn Gable, CEO of New Age Transportation, Distribution & Warehousing Inc. (Lake Zurich, IL), was named woman of the year; Lili Hall, president and CEO of Knock (Minneapolis, MN), received the entrepreneurial woman of the year award.

OfficeMax received the annual corporate support award for its ongoing commitment to the advancement of women and minority-owned businesses and for its steadfast dedication to WBDC.

For more information about WBDC, visit www.WBDC.org.

Kwame’s Tony Thompson receives Award of Distinction from Missouri Community College Association
St. Louis, MO – Anthony “Tony” Thompson, CEO and chairman of the board for MBE Kwame Building Group (St. Louis, MO), received the Award of Distinction from the Missouri Community College Association (MCCA) in November. The annual award, one of the association’s highest honors, is presented to an individual for sustained service and commitment to a local community college.

Thompson was recognized for his nineteen years of service and commitment to the St. Louis Community College (STLCC) Foundation.

“Tony is an ardent advocate of St. Louis Community College and consistently helps sponsor fundraisers that provide financial support to our students,” says Jo-Ann Digman, executive director of the foundation.

Thompson has been a member of the STLCC Foundation board of directors since 2006, and has served on its strategic planning, scholarship, finance and audit, and fundraising committees. He also is a member of the STLCC chancellor’s corporate advisory board.

In 2006, Thompson established the Jack Thompson Endowed Scholarship Fund in honor of his father, to help students at STLCC-Forest Park get their associate degrees. In 2012 he served as honorary chair of the college’s fiftieth anniversary golf tournament, a major event that raised funds for student scholarships.

Thompson and his wife Kim established the Kwame Foundation to support universities and schools that improve educational opportunities for minority students, including STLCC. Kwame Building Group has been recognized as one of the forty-eight companies that are most supportive of historically black college and university engineering schools.

Kwame Building Group, an employee-owned company, is a pure program and construction management firm providing estimating, scheduling, project planning, value engineering and other project management services as an independent advocate for owners and developers.

BRK Electrical Contractors saves bridge project $1 million
St. Louis, MO – BRK Electrical Contractors (St. Louis, MO), a minority-owned company working as a subcontractor on the Mississippi River Bridge project, was recognized by the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials for its contribution to the bridge project.

BRK suggested a way to reduce the expense of running the bridge’s utility lines, but still meet the project’s standards. It was one of several suggestions the subcontractor provided for the bridge project; altogether BRK saved the project more than $1 million.

The suggestions were made as part of the Missouri Department of Transportation’s (MoDOT) value engineering process. Contractors make suggestions that are evaluated by MoDOT and approved if the suggestion saves money and meets department standards. Any savings are split evenly between MoDOT and the contractor.

BRK was founded in 2003 by Marion A. Hayes III. It is a certified MBE electrical contracting company.

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