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Minority business group recognizes U-M

The Michigan Minority Business Development Council (MMBDC) has named the University the 2002 Corporation of the Year.

Each year, the MMBDC recognizes individuals and corporations that have significantly contributed to cultivating opportunities within Michigan’s minority business community.

“The entire U-M purchasing team is ecstatic about being recognized by the MMBDC for our successful Supplier Diversity Program,” says Timothy Slottow, interim chief financial officer, who accepted the award on behalf of the University at the organization’s 19th annual awards dinner Oct. 1.

“This program has fueled our ability to build a strong base of high-quality, minority-owned and woman-owned suppliers, which provide world-class goods and services to the University while at the same time helping us contain our supply cost,” Slottow says.

Director of Purchasing Phil Abruzzi says: “Our commitment to diversity among the vendors we deal with is an important part of the University’s overall commitment to diversity. While many people can talk about the theory of diversity, we put it into practice with our dollars.”

The University has pursued supplier diversity since 1974 and hired Louis Green as a full-time diversity manager in 1999. According to Green, the University has spent more than $40 million with businesses owned by minorities, women and people with disabilities. The percentage of dollars spent with diversity vendors has increased for five years running, he says. Green, a nationally recognized expert in this area, has been featured on a public television national roundtable on supplier diversity.

The Supplier Diversity Program also has been recognized by the National Association of Education Buyers and was selected to host the 2003 National Conference on Best Practices in Supplier Diversity.

Founded in 1978, the MMBDC is a privately funded, non-profit business development organization dedicated to enhancing the professional development of its members as well as fostering relationships between major corporations and minority-owned businesses.

“The MMBDC annual dinner is one of the nation’s premier minority business events,” says E. Delbert Gray, president and CEO. “It unites decision makers from some of the country’s biggest companies with minority-owned business leaders to celebrate the power of diversity, but more importantly, to build relationships that enable continued growth.”

The speaker at this year’s event was Earl G. Graves, founder and publisher of Black Enterprise magazine, and chairman and chief executive officer of Earl G. Graves, Ltd.

For more information about MMBDC, visit


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