DRC’s First Supplier Diversity Conference Offers Valuable Insights and Connections

By Dave Moore, Staff Writer

More than 80 business professionals attended the Dallas Regional Chamber’s inaugural Supplier Diversity Conference presented by McCarthy Building Companies on Wednesday, Nov. 10. The conference allowed large companies to learn how to evaluate proposals more equitably and helped small minority- and women-owned business enterprises (MWBEs) get a leg up in expanding their footprints – both important pieces of driving an equitable, far-reaching economic recovery in the region. Below are four key takeaways and other resources from the event, which was also sponsored by Toyota Motor North America.

Get certified and get connected

MWBEs in the Dallas-Fort Worth area were awarded more than $61 million in contracts in 2020 alone, according to Andrew Nash, Director of Operations for the Dallas Fort Worth Minority Supplier Development Council (DFW MSDC). The DFW MSDC certifies minority and women-owned businesses and operates the Minority Business Development Association, which provides tools, consulting services, and networking opportunities to promote growth.

“We have a nationally recognized certification,” Nash said. “If you want to do business with Toyota in Dallas, Shell in Houston, or Disney in Florida, you have a certification that you can take around the country.”

The DFW MSDC already serves over 1,100 certified minority-owned businesses in North Texas, but according to Margo Posey, President of the MSDC, “There is always room for more suppliers and buyers to get involved.”

Your brand = Reputation X Visibility

“A lot of us think we know what our brand is, but at the end of the day, it’s your reputation,” said Kamecia Mason, Vice President of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at McCarthy Building Companies.

“We have repeat work for McCarthy based on how we perform on our jobs,” Mason said. “So when we are vetting out new contractors and we’re looking for references, it is really your brand that is carrying forward to us.”

Bid on jobs you can execute well, given past performance

“One of the things that we hear often is, ‘I can do or will do anything,’” Mason said. “Don’t do that. That will cost you money,” she said, adding that bidders should vie for jobs that are core to their expertise, especially if they’re beginning new relationships with clients.

“That is so important, because we want to repeat that success with the next project,” Mason said, emphasizing the importance of contractors finishing their jobs on time, on budget, and with impeccable quality.

Break large contracts down to smaller bites

McCarthy’s Senior Director of Preconstruction David Cutlip described the expansion of a three-story project on the Parkland Hospital campus to a six-story, 500,000 square-foot project.

“When you get a job that size, it can be really intimidating,” Cutlip said. “But because the job was broken up into pieces, it afforded us the opportunity to really carve (up) the scope… we ended up with more folks on the job from a contracts perspective, than we would have if we just said, ‘OK, we have one massive job and we’re going to do that.’”

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