Minority Business Council honors WUSTL

Washington University received the Institution of the Year award from the St. Louis Minority Business Council (SLMBC) at its annual awards banquet Dec. 6 at the Renaissance Grand Hotel in downtown St. Louis.

The SLMBC’s Minority Business Enterprise Input Committee (MBEIC), made up of 17 minority business owners, selected WUSTL as Institution of the Year.

The award is given to a St. Louis organization that has performed exceptionally well in the following areas: the number of minority-owned companies used; the volume of dollars spent with minority-owned companies; the support for minority-owned business development; and the use of an organized, documented program for minority-owned business participation.

“Speaking on behalf of the University, it truly is an honor to receive this award,” said Alan Kuebler, assistant vice chancellor and executive director for resource management. “Many thanks go to the council, the awards committee and especially the minority-owned businesses that so ably provide the University with the goods and services crucial to its operation.”

Much of the University’s success in using minority-owned businesses stems from its Supplier Diversity Initiative, which aims to increase minority representation in the St. Louis workforce and to help create and sustain viable minority-owned businesses in the St. Louis community.

“Washington University’s Supplier Diversity Initiative is an integral component of the Univer-sity’s ongoing diversity activity,” said Leah Merri-field, special assistant to the chancellor for diversity initiatives.

“This award from the SLMBC recognizes the hard work and commitment of key University staff, especially in resource management, facilities planning and financial services,” she said.

WUSTL’s efforts are evident to those outside of the University. “Washington University works very hard to do business with minority companies,” said MBEIC committee chair Ben McMillan, president and owner of Bentech Inc., a company that provides information technology and consulting services.

The University’s initiative to utilize minority-owned businesses causes it to stand out among other St. Louis institutions, McMillan said.

The University has been named the SLMBC’s Institution of the Year three times in the past six years. It won the award in 2002 and 2005 before winning it again in 2007. SSM Health Care and the Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District also are recent winners.

Others receiving recognition at the banquet included The Boeing Co., which was named Corporation of the Year, and Monsanto Co.’s Toni Brown, who was named the Buyer/Coordinator of the Year.

Founded in 1973, the SLMBC is one of 39 regional councils affiliated with the National Minority Supplier Development Council. The organization’s goal is to promote partnerships between minority-owned business enterprises and major U.S. organizations through marketing and communications programs that educate companies on the benefits of doing business with minority entrepreneurs.

For more information on the SLMBC, call 241-1143. For more information about supplier diversity at WUSTL, visit supplierdiversity.wustl.edu or call 935-7948.