On October 4, 2016, the Southern California Minority Supplier Development Council (SCMSDC) hosted its annual Leadership Excellence Awards gala at the prestigious Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Downtown Los Angeles. In addition to celebrating 32 years of excellence in supplier diversity in Southern California, the event honored outstanding individuals and corporations for their continuous support and contributions in advancing supplier diversity.
As an affiliate regional council of the National Minority Supplier Development Council, Inc. (NMSDC), SCMSDC is the largest nonprofit minority business advocacy organization in Southern California. Its goal is to provide a direct link between corporate America and minority-owned businesses, and currently serves about 1,700 minority business enterprises and 200 corporate members throughout 13 counties.
The Corporation of the Year Award was received by Southern California Edison (SCE), one of the country’s largest electric utilities. It scored the overall highest marks on supplier diversity activities, including its supplier diversity policies, programs, best practices and overall spend results. They have a highly diverse group of employees: In 2015, 57% of their employees were minorities, while 59% of their new hires were minorities.
The other two prestigious awards went to Technology Integration Group (TIG) Founder, President and CEO Bruce Geier, who received the Spirit of Supplier Diversity Award, and SoCalGas Chairman and CEO Dennis Arriola, who received the Leadership Excellence Award. Upon accepting the award, Arriola said, “As the son of Mexican immigrants, I know what it means for communities and diverse businesses to struggle and not have the same opportunities as others. That’s why I’m especially proud to receive this award because it comes from Southern California Minority Supplier Development Council – a group that believes in the same values that are important to me and SoCalGas.”
In expressing her congratulations to the two individuals, SCMSDC President Virginia Gomez also praised their consistent efforts and dedication: “As extraordinary leaders, Dennis Arriola and Bruce Geier have raised the bar for others to follow. Dennis Arriola is an internal and external champion for the inclusion of diverse businesses at SoCalGas, which under his watch, has consistently been among the best in minority procurement spend and has also fostered the growth of minority business enterprises.” She added, “As a minority entrepreneur himself, Bruce understands the importance of doing business with other MBEs.”
Awards were also given to corporate members for their exceptional supplier diversity achievements. Toyota received the Sustainability Trendsetter Award for its innovative programs to help diverse firms enhance their capacity. Comcast NBCUniversal, recipient of the Community Visionary Award, was honored for its presence in the community and for providing educational opportunities and professional development to diverse firms. Lastly, SoCalGas took home the Purchasing Heavyweight Award for consistently being the best in minority procurement spend.