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Area agencies strive to assist MWDBEs
Created on Wednesday, 13 March 2013 09:10 Last Updated on Wednesday, 13 March 2013 09:10 Published on Wednesday, 13 March 2013 09:10 Written by Diane I. Daniels Hits: 1064
READY FOR BUSINESS—Curtis Morehead of Emerald Electrical Services; Ruth Byrd-Smith, director of the Allegheny County MWDBE Department; Robert Chambers of RWIV; Lisa Coffey of All Purpose Cleaning; Joel Acie, MWDBE project manager of supply chain management, and Toni Silva-Jeter, director of supplier relations both of UPMC; Bob Marshall of Professional Mechanical; and Ronald Scott of RS Supply take a breather during the 32nd Annual Duquesne Light Home and Garden Show. (Photos by Diane I. Daniels)
For 31 years the Duquesne Light Home and Garden Show has provided thousands of exhibitors locally nationally and internationally a venue to showcase their products and services. This year the Supply Chain Management division of the Supplier Diversity Program of UPMC provided sponsorship for five of their minority, woman-owned, and disadvantaged businesses (MWDBE) to participate in the 32nd annual event. A good experience and a great opportunity to make contacts is how the MBEs described the 10-day affair.
“This is our way to showcase a few of our vendors. To expose them to a larger audience,” said Toni Silva-Jeter, director of supplier relations at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.
She also pointed out that their presence at the show demonstrates UPMC’s commitment to the region.
The experience was each of the Supply Chain Management vendor’s first time to participate in the Home and Garden Show, which is considered the largest home event in Pennsylvania and one of the highest quality Home Shows in the United States.
Businesses taking part in the show at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center included All Purpose Cleaning Inc., Emerald Electrical Services LLC, Professional Mechanical Sales and Services, RS Supply LLC and RWIV LLC Construction.
In business 35 years, All Purpose Cleaning is a complete facility maintenance service that offers high quality, low cost and on time performance to commercial and industrial clients. Their clients are inclusive of some of the largest general contracting companies in the region, sports teams, government entities and non-profit agencies.
The most experienced of the five companies, Lisa Coffey, director of administration, said the Home and Garden Show was good for their business. Acquiring hundreds of leads, as a result she said her company, is going to reinstate the residential cleaning component of their firm. With more than 100 employees, she said they are truly a family establishment. Her mother Mary founded the business, her brother John is operations manager and four of six grandchildren work in the business.
While continuously introducing his business to people as they approached his table, Curtis Morehead distributed material explaining that Emerald Electrical Services, owned by he and his wife Deborah had the capabilities to provide electrical services for large and small jobs.
“Even though our projects have consisted of major jobs like the Consol Energy Center and this building, the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, you never know who is patronizing this show. A developer can be attending with his family that needs my services,” he said.
Emerald Electrical Services is an electrical power and datacom contracting firm. Morehead said working with Jeter and the staff of the UPMC Supply Chain Management team has been good for his business.
“We have been certified with the PA Unified Certification Program for at least four years. It’s awareness like this that the certification has brought to our company,” he said.
Also dealing with large projects like the Consol Energy Center, the Rivers Casino and UPMC East, Bob Marshall, sales manager for Pro-Mech described the experience at the Home and Gardens Show as priceless. Agreeing with Morehead he said you never know who might come pass your table.
In business 18 years, Pro-Mech, owned by Stanley Loper, is a full service preferred contractor who specializes in sales, service, installment and maintenance of energy conservation systems, commercial and industrial refrigeration and HVAC equipment.
“We are a minority company that does majority work,” described Marshall. “We are a union contractor that has grown from a $2 million firm to a $10 million firm with 60 employees.”
Based in Homewood and classified as your reliable source for paper products, janitorial and sanitation supplies, RS Supply, owner Ronald Scott said for the last eight years he has been striving to provide his clients with products from the highest quality manufacturers at competitive prices. Serving a clientele consisting of churches, daycares, the University of Pittsburgh and the Pittsburgh Pirates he said their customer service vision is to be regarded as the best and most sought after Jan/San Solution provider in the Pittsburgh region by leveraging a commitment to provide quality products and services and high level customer satisfaction. While showcasing his company during the March show he said he made contacts that he hopes leverages into profitability.
The neophyte of the five firms, Robert Chambers III, CEO and owner of RWIV Construction thinks he gained the most from the experience. “Being here assisted in getting my name out in the region and helped in building a bigger footprint in the residential sector,” he said.
For the past year Chambers has been focusing on providing all phases of building design and construction services. Considering himself an established construction industry professional with experience in all phases of the construction field, Chambers believes that his unique skill set adds great value to the building process for a wide range of project owners. Since establishing his firm his projects have included Ben and Jerry’s, Bellefield Dwellings and the Pennsylvania State University.
Chambers said the show provided him the opportunity to exchange views and learn from the other venders.
“Any time you can share a situation with businesses like All Purpose Cleaning who has over 30 years’ experience and Pro-Mech who has 18 it is valuable,” he said.
Grateful to Jeter and Ruth Byrd-Smith, director of the Allegheny County Minority Women Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Department for the support their agencies have provided them, the certified vendors all concur that the assistance and contracts they receive has been invaluable.
Viewing supplier diversity as an integral part of the UPMC Supply Chain Management strategy, Jeter said providing the opportunity for the five businesses to receive the exposure the Home and Garden Show provided is just one of the ways they aim to help their MWDBEs. Existing since 1989, the UPMC Supplier Diversity Program is designed to provide MWDBEs equal access to procurement opportunities. The program ensures that the certified establishments are provided the maximum opportunity to participate as partners and suppliers of goods and services to UPMC.
Since 2006 Jeter has been responsible for providing strategic direction to the Supplier Diversity Program, leading the Supply Chain Management Social Responsibility Program, which includes the Green Initiative and the MWDBE Health Plan Initiative. She is an active member of the Allegheny County MBE Advisory Committee.
“It is opportunities like this that we are happy to provide for our certified businesses,” said Byrd-Smith. “It’s a wonderful opportunity for them to gain exposure. Venues like this demonstrate the work it takes to become even more successful.”
She indicated that some of them already do significant work with the County and that she looks for great things from the newer businesses like RWIV.
The County MWDBE Department provides certification as a Minority, Women and Disadvantaged Business Enterprise, to qualifying firms and is a certifying participant in the PA Unified Certification Program. The Department serves as the catalyst for business development by providing technical assistance, serving as an advocate for MWDBE business concerns, and provides information on opportunities within Allegheny County, as well as other local public agencies.
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