TAMPA, Fla. (Oct. 6, 2017) — The University of South Florida today celebrated the success of its inaugural Supplier Diversity Day – an event marked by a commitment from USF’s leadership to build new and ongoing relationships with diverse businesses across the Tampa Bay community.
Some 80 exhibitors participated in the all-day event at the Marshall Student Center to welcome owners of diverse businesses and introduce them to key purchasers within the USF System and its prime contractors.
“The Office of Supplier Diversity is working directly with our purchasing agents and departmental buyers across the USF System to assist in connecting them with minority-, women- and veteran-owned businesses that offer competitive pricing, products and services,” USF System President Judy Genshaft said. “We do this because we want our supply chain to reflect the demographics of our community, but also because it’s simply the right thing to do.”
Terrie Daniel, assistant vice president of the USF Office of Supplier Diversity, was hired in April to oversee the university’s enhanced supplier diversity initiatives, which will provide additional opportunities for diverse businesses to work with the USF System in the procurement of goods and supplies, construction, professional services and other contracts.
Since her arrival, the office has launched a new website and social media platform, created training programs for USF employees and held community outreach events.
“USF is a huge economic driver in this region, and we want to invest back into our community,” Daniel said. “The Tampa Bay region has an amazing, diverse business community ready and able to do work with USF. We are 100 percent committed to increasing our utilization of diverse-owned businesses.”
Genshaft and Daniel, along with other key USF leaders, joined in an afternoon ribbon-cutting ceremony to mark the opening of vendor exhibits filling the Marshall Student Center Ballroom. The exhibition’s Bulls Lane included representatives from the USF Office of Supplier Diversity, USF Purchasing, USF St. Petersburg, USF Sarasota-Manatee, USF Athletics and Facilities Management, including Design and Construction. Earlier in the day, a panel of representatives from these same areas answered questions about the USF procurement process and offered tips on how to successfully compete for business procurement opportunities at USF.
USF has made great strides in expanding the diversity and academic success of its student population, Genshaft said, with recent national recognition for eliminating the graduation completion rate number gaps between black, Latino and white students. The university will apply similar rigor to strengthening supplier diversity, which is key in helping drive the region’s economic development, she added. “It’s all about making life better for everyone.”
About the University of South Florida System
The University of South Florida System is a high-impact, global research system dedicated to student success. The USF System includes three institutions: USF; USF St. Petersburg; and USF Sarasota-Manatee. The institutions are separately accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. All institutions have distinct missions and their own detailed strategic plans. Serving over 49,000 students, the USF System has an annual budget of $1.6 billion and an annual economic impact of $4.4 billion. USF is a member of the American Athletic Conference.