HISD supplier diversity team nominated for national business award

The Houston Minority Business Development Agency, a division of the U.S. Department of Commerce, recently nominated the HISD supplier diversity team for a Distinguished Supplier Diversity Award.

“Anytime you’re recognized by your peers and colleagues is an incredible feeling,” said Bernard Willingham, HISD Team Lead for Supplier Diversity. “The best awards occur when an entire team is recognized. We have a small but energetic team that is fully vested and engaged in our efforts to encourage diversity among HISD’s supply chain.”

The district’s supplier diversity team is being recognized for increasing its certified diverse supplier spending from $45 million in 2009 to $148 million in 2013, adding to its diverse supplier base, and ending the HISD 2007 bond program with minority- and women-owned business enterprise (M/WBE) participation at 33 percent, a program high.

The supplier diversity program’s efforts to foster joint-venture and mentor-protégé relationships among M/WBE firms and to increase its diverse supplier commitment for the HISD 2012 bond program were also factors that led to this award nomination.

“We’ve taken a very focused, business-like approach to achieving the goals of our supplier diversity program,” Willingham said. “We’ve used every means to educate potential minority- and women-owned business enterprises about our procurement processes, the opportunities we have available, and how to position themselves to take advantage of those opportunities.”