Supplier Diversity at Purdue

Headshot of Melissa St. John Melissa St. John, RID, NCIDQ, CEO and Owner of Relocation Strategies

One of the most important reasons for this newsletter is to showcase the success of diverse firms here at Purdue.

This quarter we did a Q&A session with the owner of Relocation Strategies Inc., Melissa St. John.

Relocations Strategies logo

Q. How would you describe your business?

A. We are a full-service transition management company creatively solving clients problems by increasing efficiency, saving substantial money, time, and peace of mind. We currently provide Purdue move management services for, relocations, and renovations.

Q. How did you get started in your business?

A. After graduating from Purdue, having studied Interior Design, I spent time in the Commercial Real Estate industry. Participating in a variety of services, I gained valuable experience that I now use daily. I was particularly drawn to move management with all its moving pieces and logistics. Following that interest, I joined Relocation Strategies in April of 2004, buying the company outright in 2007.

Q. What do you consider your company's core strengths/areas of expertise? What separates you from competitors?

A. Relocation Strategies combined years of experience and unique approach to our services set us apart. We take the role of the advocate, ready to address your every need. We look for opportunities to solve problems, save money, time and peace of mind.

Q.You just finished moving all the departments out of the old Freehafer building, was this your first project at Purdue?

A. Over the last 10 years, we have worked on a number of projects with Purdue University and have a dedicated Project Management team currently supporting Purdue on a wide range of projects. The Wang hall move, involving the relocation of three very large dynamometers, was one of our most challenging and rewarding projects, opening the door to the industrial side of our business. We were also grateful to be a part of the Freehafer move, previous to the building being demolished, as that was a significant staff relocation.

Q. What do you find most challenging about running your own business?

A. Any business owner will tell you that maintaining a life-work balance is key to both their health and their business health. It is important to get work done, but it is never worth doing so at the expense of family and friends.

Q. What would you tell someone who is thinking about starting a business?

A. Do it! There is a great quote from Amelia Earhart; Someone once told me that if you don't do something every day that scares you and you are not growing, you are dying.She illustrates a brilliant approach to beginning anything. Don't fly blind, identify contingencies, but fear is just a natural part of the process.

Q. What's your personal philosophy on how you handle business?

A. I am aware that our clients are the future of Relocation Strategies. My personal mission is to bring value to any project we touch and provide outstanding customer service always. If our client has saved time, money and received a solution that assists their business to be productive as well as innovative, we have all succeeded!

Q. What projects are you currently working on that you'd like to highlight? Or what projects are on the horizon that you're excited about?

A. ALSF (Animal Life Science Facility) (2017):Relocation Strategies is very excited to continue our relationship with Purdue on the new ALSF building. This move will include a variety of labs and departments (including the Butcher Block) from (5) different buildings on the south side of campus. Large lab equipment, freezers, and chemicals will present a unique collaboration between faculty, staff, and movers.

Q. What excites you about the future of supplier diversity?

A. Many organizations, such as Purdue, have increased the number of strategic partnerships they support. The community has developed around a common goal of service to each other and that brings an enormous degree of civility to the world of business. With a foundation in that common goal, growth can truly be endless. Suppliers help buyers, and suppliers help other suppliers.

Relocation Strategies is just one of many diverse businesses that were awarded an opportunity to grow this past quarter.

We believe that highlighting these successes will help shape perceptions, internally and externally.

Externally, we want to show the diverse business community that there is real substantial economic opportunity here at Purdue University.

Internally, we want these success stories to act as object lessons on how valuable and capable diverse firms can be.

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