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Published on August 20th, 2014 | by Millennium Magazine Staff


“Thanks For The Memories:” CVMSDC Supplier Diversity at Business Opportunity Conference

Pictured above: CVMSDC presents supplier diversity Regional Corporation of the Year award to Dominion Resources at the Aug. 4 Business Opportunity Conference in Columbia, SC.   [Photo Courtesy: CVMSDC]

Eric Watson, CVMSDC president and CEO, said, “This year’s theme for BOC is Innovation: The Key to Our Future, reinforcing the reality that in order to succeed, corporations and minority businesses will need to adapt to a changing landscape and business environment. The Business Opportunity Conference offers another opportunity to Innovate our work, Elevate our brand, and Transform our model to support economic development in Virginia and the Carolinas.

The two-day supplier diversity conference also featured a golf tournament, gala, business matchmaking sessions, a business opportunity tradeshow, and theatrical depiction titled “Reality That Drives Innovation Through Our Lenses.”


Left Photo: BMW of Columbia was one of the corporate sponsors during the annual CVMSDC Business Opportunity Conference. [Photo Courtesy: CVMSDC]

“Innovation” in supplier diversity was celebrated during the Aug. 4 awards gala of the Business Opportunity Conference, presented by Carolinas-Virginia Minority Supplier Development Council at the Columbia Convention Center.  The 2014 BOC award winners:

  • Advocate of the Year: Kevin Price, Novant Health
  • Buyer of the Year: Stephanie Jones, Merck
  • Coordinator of the Year: Debbie Osborne-Moreno, Enterprise
  • Public-Private Corporation of the Year: Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond
  • Regional Corporation of the Year: Dominion Resources
  • National Corporation of the Year: Compass Group
  • MBE Class I Supplier of the Year (under $1 million): DreamBuilders Communications
  • MBE Class II Supplier of the Year ($1 million – $10 million): Core Technology
  • MBE Class III Supplier of the Year ($10 million – $50 million): RJ Leeper



CVMSDC presents supplier diversity National Corporation of the Year award to Compass Group at the Aug. 4 Business Opportunity Conference in Columbia. 


Bank of America was one of the corporate sponsors for the CVMSDC Business Opportunity Conference awards gala in Columbia.[Photos Courtesy: CVMSDC]

Tuesday morning’s general session speaker was business professor and author of “Winning With Customers,” D. Keith Pigues, who presented on the topic, “Creating a New Model for Supplier Diversity.” Keith shared with the attendees the importance of understanding your customer’s needs and supply the demand.  Keith gave an outstanding presentation on strategic growth and being able to convey “how you bring value” to your customers is a must.


Conference speaker D. Keith Pigues (left) is joined by CVMSDC president Eric Watson (c) and Kenston Griffin of DreamBuilders Communications at the Business Opportunity Conference in Columbia. [Photo Courtesy: CVMSDC]

The Carolinas-Virginia MSDC is a non-profit corporation chartered to enhance business opportunities for minority-owned companies by providing support through developing mutually beneficial networking opportunities with corporate members and promoting minority business development.  CVMSDC promotes and facilitates business relationships between the public/private sector and certified minority-owned businesses. The Council serves all of North Carolina, South Carolina, Central, Eastern, and Western Virginia. Divided into eight regions, the Council is headquartered in Charlotte, NC with a regional office located in Richmond, VA. CMVSDC relies on local advisory committee volunteers in the eight regions to assist with programs in each region. This approach helps develop closer relationships with members, and better defines programs and services.  The BOC matchmaking session is a direct result of what the council is all about.


Evangelina Hemphill, CEO of The Hemphill Agency, (left) and Operations Support Analyst of GalaxoSmithKline discuss business opportunities during the Business Opportunity Conference Matchmaking session.[Photo Courtesy: CVMSDC]

Following the matchmaking sessions was the BOC tradeshow.  Approximately 100 vendors showcased their businesses during the CVMSDC Business Opportunity Conference tradeshow which included a ribbon-cutting ceremony.  Some of the venders included Foodbuy, Alliant Global Strategies, APC, Greenville Health System, Arclabs, Charleston Gourmet Burger, Thomas Enterprise, Ruthford Media Group, and Continental.


CVMSDC BOC TRADESHOW: CVMSDC Board members kick off the supplier diversity tradeshow with a ribbon-cutting on Tuesday, Aug. 5 during the Business Opportunity Conference in Columbia, SC. [Photo Courtesy: CVMSDC]

As Eric Watson and I sat for a brief moment during the tradeshow as he shared this with me, ”The growth in Columbia has gone untapped.  If the corporate community gets involved, it will happen.  This is the BOC first time in here as the location rotates.  Columbia has been a positive impact for CVMSDC and BOC.  A huge thank you to Mammie Price for leading this year’s BOC committee.”  Eric went on to say the council will continue to help MBEs increase profit while supplying corporate needs.  He wants future MBEs to understand the needs of corporations, be able to supply the demand, and know it’s about opportunity.  The council wants future MBE to learn to monetize their idea and product.  Young entrepreneurs have to know who they are and where they are.

Here is what some of the supplier diversity corporations and MBEs had to say about CVMSDC and the BOC:

“For small business owner, it’s about having a relationship with who you want to do business with.  Great customer service is key along with a great product or service to build great relationships.  CVMSDC is that bridge between corporations and small businesses.”

– Chappelle Broome, Director of HR – Columbia Metro Airport

“The CVMSDC has provided exposure for my company to have access to Fortune 500 & Fortune 100 companies.  We were certified by CVMSDC and in 30 days, we had direct access to over 30 of our ideal supplier diversity companies.  I appreciate the council’s commitment to get MBEs contracts with corporations.  I would like to thank all the CVMSDC members for their hard work and dedication as well as Altria and Capital One for their hospitality at the BOC. “

-James Wallace, CEO – Alliant Global Strategies, Inc. 

“The CVMSDC plays a huge part in our exposure to corporations.  We have developed some strategic alliances and I am very pleased with the council.  Going through CVMSDC CMEDI training sessions has been a significant benefit for Metro Transportation Services.  I have attended the BOC for the past 4 years and have learned as I’ve watch the event’s growth and maturity develop.  The golf tour and matchmaking really allow the opportunity to meet new companies and develop new partnerships.  I would recommend the CVMSDC to all small business owners and entrepreneurs.

-Kendall Taylor, COO – Metro Transportation Service, LLC 

“Continental has been a part of CVMSDC for over 7 years.  The CVMSDC helps identify potential suppliers to be included in new sourcing opportunities.  One of the benefits of being a part of this council is the council provides certification to minority owned business for the Carolina and Virginia region.  The 2014 BOC was a good event with great speakers.   It was well organized and provided the opportunity to develop long term relationships.  The BOC being held in Columbia, SC allowed Continental the opportunity to take 2 MBEs (Bunty LLC and Solutions Plastics) on a site visit to our new Sumter, SC Tire plant.    I look forward to maintaining partnerships with our current MBE and developing new partnerships in the future.”

– Michael Harris, Supplier Diversity Manager – Continental Automotive Systems

“We are a construction company for the hospital so we have a lot of moving parts.  The CVMSDC and the BOC provides the face-to-face opportunities to meet other corporation and minority business in one location.  The BOC matchmaking session really simplifies the search to find a supplier to meet our demands.”

– Alan Mitchell, Purchasing Agent – Greenville Health System

To learn more about CVMSDC and BOC, visit online at


Evangelina Hemphill | The Hemphill Agency

Relationship & Marriage Consultant


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