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UA welcomes diverse suppliers on May 24


The University of Akron is reaching out to diverse businesses as it hosts the Greater Akron Supplier Diversity Conference on May 24 at UA’s Quaker Station. Diverse suppliers such as Minority Business Enterprises (MBE), Small Business Enterprises (SBE), Women Business Enterprises (WBE) and veteran-owned businesses will attend the day-long conference, which is in its second year.

In collaboration with the city of Akron, Summa Health System, the Akron Urban League, Bridgestone/Firestone, Greater Akron Chamber, Black Pages and Kent State University, UA is sponsoring the conference, which is designed to bring together members of the business community and offer training to assist diverse suppliers in gaining better access to large nonprofits and hard-to-reach for-profits in the region.

Samuel DeShazior, deputy planning director for the city of Akron, will kick off the day’s activities with the Spirit of Leadership Innovation Breakfast. Hilton Smith, senior vice president of community affairs for Turner Construction, will be the keynote speaker. Turner Construction has spent more than $1 billion annually with diverse suppliers over the past four years.

The conference will cover topics such as social media, insurance, bonding and how to qualify for state of Ohio Request for Proposal opportunities. A “Procurement Café” will be in place where attendees can sit down with purchasing professionals for one-on-one conversations on how to do business with theircompanies and talk about upcoming bid opportunities.

Paul Reich, vice president of Reich and Associates, an Akron-based office supply company, attended last year's conference and plans to attend again this year. "It was a great conference and very well executed," he says. "I found the organizers and attendees to be focused, high-energy people, with the desire to promote business within our community."

For more information about UA's ongoing commitment to supplier diversity, call 330-972-7643.

Media contact: Sarah Lane, 330-972-7429 or