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Published on March 5th, 2014 | by Millennium Magazine Staff

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Diane E. Sumpter; “Equity and Diversity Leader”

Diane E. Sumpter is the president and CEO of DESA, Inc., a construction and professional services firm in Columbia, SC. An African-American woman in the construction industry, she used to turn heads when she boldly took her seat at the table. Years later, she is a mainstay and takes pride in giving others a seat beside her.

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Diane E. Sumpter

Sumpter has a passion for serving others, which is evident by the minority business empowerment movement that she has fervently led for the last 28 years. Her greatest feat is the increased inclusion of small, women and minority-owned businesses in local government procurement processes. She uses her knowledge, passion, influence and shear willpower to break entry and procurement barriers. Through her efforts, she has broken through years of institutional strongholds to ensure small businessman gets his fair share. In fact, under her leadership, the Columbia Minority Business Development Agency Business Center, which she operates, has helped minority businesses procure more than $19,230,528 in contracts, thus retaining 111 jobs and creating 200 new ones for 2013.

Sumpter also dedicates her time to her community by serving on the boards of Carolinas Minority Supplier Development Council, Midlands Technical College and SC Chapter NAACP. A staunch advocate of education and youth development, she awards scholarships annually to deserving students throughout the Midlands.

A native of Jacksonville, Florida, Sumpter moved to Columbia, South Carolina and graduated from Booker T. Washington High School. She continued her education by earning her undergraduate and graduate degrees in English and social work, respectively, from the University of South Carolina. A Certified Economic Development Professional, Sumpter is a proponent of life-long learning and has completed numerous professional development courses throughout her career.

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