Purdue conference to help minority business owners network

November 9, 2015  


WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Purdue University's Office of Supplier Diversity Development, in partnership with the Supplier Diversity Development Coalition of Greater Lafayette, will host the annual Relationships to Partnerships Sessions on Nov. 20 to help minority and women business owners in Indiana connect with coalition businesses.

The daylong conference, themed "Navigating Your Firm's Financial Future," starts at 8 a.m. in Stewart Center. Michael A. Grant, president of the National Bankers Association, will be the luncheon keynote speaker. He also is board secretary for the Minbanc Scholarship Fund for minority banks.

The Greater Lafayette Supplier Diversity Coalition encourages diversity and facilitates partnerships among small, diverse businesses and members of the Greater Lafayette business community.

"The value is we have so many potential customers for minority and women business entities in one spot," said Jesse L. Moore Jr. director of Purdue's Office of Supplier Diversity development. "We have had great success connecting with minority and women business entities from across the state and creating business relationships that have benefited them as well as Purdue and other coalition businesses."

Moore said the theme for this year's sessions is timely and important for all business owners.

"We'll have panelists who have managed their firms' finances successfully and will be able to provide insights for others on this critical issue," he said.

This year's plenary session will be 8:30-10:30 a.m. in Stewart Center, Room 218, and will feature a panel discussion on "How to Navigate Your Firm's Financial Future." Scott Walker, president and CEO of Greater Lafayette Commerce, will be the moderator. Walker has more than 20 years of experience in economic development and industry and oversees all strategic plans and implementation for the chamber.

Also on the panel:

* Audrey Taylor, CEO of netlogx, who has worked in the information technology business for more than 25 years. She has worked in the insurance, finance and human resources industries.

* Sam Yadav, president of Quest Safety Products LLC. He has more than 25 years of executive management experience in the safety industry. Quest has received several awards, including Supplier of the Year from Mid-states MSDC three times.

* Michael Felix, who has been in commercial banking with Fifth Third Bank since 2004. He has facilitated banking relationships for his clients as an underwriter, relationship manager and team leader.

* Grant, president of the National Bankers Association. A corporate consultant for 15 years, customers of Grant's firm, of which he was a co-owner, included Marriott and Ritz-Carlton Hotels, McDonald's Corp., Harrah's Casinos, Westin and Hilton Hotels, Dell Computers, and the Cracker Barrel Corp.

"Each year the annual conference continually draws new minority and women-owned businesses that allows coalition members the opportunity to meet and discuss business possibilities," said Rick Morrissey, purchasing manager for the City of Lafayette. "This generates introductions to new products and services along with competitive pricing. Oh, and did I mention that this is the main purpose of our coalition mission: to afford minority and women owned businesses the opportunity to compete with today's larger suppliers?"

Two concurrent sessions take place 10:30 a.m. to noon in Stewart Center. Session 1, which is on construction, A/E and related services, will take place in Room 206. Session 2, which is on marketing, IT and professional services other than A/E, will take place in Room 214 AB. The sessions will be followed by a business resources and networking session from noon to 12:30 p.m. and an awards luncheon from 12:30-2 p.m. in Purdue Memorial Union's North Ballroom.

"The Relationship to Partnership sessions have opened numerous opportunities for unknown suppliers to offer their services to Oerlikon Fairfield," said David W. Martin, head of Global Supply Chain-Americas for Oerlikon Fairfield. "With Oerlikon Fairfield Manufacturing being a global supplier, we sometimes lose sight of potential local suppliers. The Relationships to Partnerships sessions gives those suppliers the perfect setting to not only showcase their services but also get a face-to-face meeting with a world-class customer. Over the past few years we have doubled our spending with local minority-owned service producers through this setting."

Over the years, Relationships to Partnerships has helped minority- and women-owned businesses meet clients such as Caterpillar, Tate & Lyle, Ivy Tech Community College, IU Health, Fifth Third Bank, Oerlikon Fairfield, Caterpillar, Evonik, netlogx, and Greater Lafayette Commerce.

Those interested in attending this year's event can register online at www.conf.purdue.edu/r2p11. For more information, or to register, contact Marta Foth at marta@purdue.edu

Writer: Greg McClure, 765-496-9711, gmcclure@purdue.edu 

Sources: Jesse L. Moore Jr., 765-494-3739, jlmoore@purdue.edu

Rick Morrissey, 765-807-1151, rmorrissey@lafayette.in.gov

David W. Martin, 765-772-4560, dmartin@fairfieldmfg.com 

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