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Indiana Ag News Headlines
Conference Assists Businesses Owned by Minorities, Women, Veterans
Indiana Ag Connection - 11/10/2017

Purdue University's Office of Supplier Diversity Development, along with the Supplier Diversity Development Coalition of Greater Lafayette, will host the annual Relationships to Partnerships Sessions on Nov. 17 to help minority, women and veteran business owners in Indiana connect with coalition businesses.

The daylong conference, themed "Pitfalls and Rewards of Business Partnerships," starts at 8 a.m. in Stewart Center on Purdue's campus. This is the 13th year for the sessions.

"This is the largest event in West Central Indiana that brings together diverse companies from all over the state to meet with larger companies here in the Greater Lafayette community," said Jesse Moore, Purdue's director of supplier diversity. "The Tippecanoe County commissioners and the mayors of both Lafayette and West Lafayette sign a proclamation designating Nov. 17 as Supplier Diversity Day."

Melvin Gravely II, majority shareholder and CEO of TriVersity Construction, will be the conference's luncheon keynote speaker. Gravely has more than 26 years of business management, sales and strategy experience, including positions with Fortune 500 businesses The Timken Co. and IBM.

He is also the founder of the Institute for Entrepreneurial Thinking Ltd., a think-tank focused on getting the best results from minority business development initiatives.

"Melvin Gravely is a dynamic speaker and successful entrepreneur," Moore said. "His knowledge of the economic consequence of the changing landscape and demographics in America and the role diverse businesses must play in that change is presented in a lively and engaging manner. This will be his third appearance at the Relationship to Partnership Sessions."

This year's plenary session will be 8:30-10:30 a.m. in Stewart Center, and will feature a panel discussion on the day's theme "Pitfalls and Rewards of Business Partnerships." Scott Walker, president and CEO of Greater Lafayette Commerce, will moderate the panel. Daryl Williams-Dotson, president and CEO of WDi Architecture; Hal Darring, president and CEO of Global Parking System; Jessica Nickloy, president and CEO of The Etica Group; and Howard L. Stevenson, managing partner of Stevenson Legal Group, will also participate on the panel.

Also during the conference, the coalition will recognize three companies that exhibit "diversity and excellence." Winners of the 2017 Golden Handshake Award are Purdue University Physical Facilities, large company; Tippecanoe School Corporation, new coalition member award; and Indiana Oxygen, veteran business.

Purdue Physical Facilities has engaged in a number of activities recently that have positively contributed to efforts to include more opportunities for diverse firms. The group made web-based enhancements including an ePlanroom that houses all bid documents and reports in a centralized location, continued to engage with the Supplier Diversity Development Advocacy Council, held forums for general contractors and architecture/engineering firms to showcase current and future projects, and increased utilization of the construction manager as constructor delivery method, which leverages the competitive nature of the market to include more participation opportunities for diverse firms. These actions have resulted in over $28 million in contracts being awarded to women, minority and veteran-owned companies in the immediate past fiscal year.

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