“How to” seminar focuses on the value of diverse suppliers building business relationships
Illinois utilities host seminar for diverse businesses seeking information on how to participate in company supplier programs
Minority and Women-owned Business Enterprises (MWBE) should build relationships with the companies they want to do business with to stay informed about upcoming opportunities, said Gery Chico, senior partner with Chico and Nunes, during his keynote address at the Illinois Utility Business Diversity Council’s (IUBDC) first Professional Services seminar.
Diverse business leaders from nearly 100 professional service firms, seeking to do business with Illinois’ utility companies, joined representatives from engineering, consulting, finance, and legal firms in Joliet, Ill., in late June for the seminar
Chico, whose Chicago-based law firm specializes in real estate, government regulation and business counseling, shared insights from his years of experience providing consulting services to large companies, including utilities. He provided tips on how to build long-term relationships with large companies and emphasized the importance of effective communication, follow-up and project management.
Additionally, supplier diversity leaders from local and national energy companies, including Ameren, Illinois; Exelon – ComEd’s parent company; Illinois American Water; Southern Company – Nicor Gas’ parent company; and WEC Energy Group – parent company to Peoples Gas and North Shore Gas, participated in an interactive panel. During the panel, participants and members of the audience talked about the diverse supplier application processes, requirements and what they look for when evaluating potential vendors. Panel members addressed a variety of questions from the audience, some of which focused on topics such as identifying key access points outside of purchasing, how to become a Tier-1 supplier, and services that may be available from the utilities to aid high-potential suppliers in building their businesses to meet the utility’s needs.
The day concluded with one-on-one meetings between IUBDC’s utility leaders from respective procurement departments and prospective vendors. They had the opportunity to network and share information about upcoming projects.
The IUBDC was formed in June 2015 as a forum for best practice sharing and information exchange among Illinois’ utilities with a focus on advancing the growth and utilization of diverse businesses in Illinois. The founding IUBDC members include Ameren Illinois, ComEd, Illinois American Water, Nicor Gas, North Shore Gas and Peoples Gas
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