UTMB President Dr. David L. Callender was the keynote speaker at a recent Houston conference on supplier diversity before approximately 80 diversity managers from higher education institutions from throughout the United States.
The conference, hosted by the National Association of Educational Procurement
(NAEP), which is dedicated to the advancement and development of procurement and supplier diversity professionals in higher education, brought UTMB national recognition for supplier diversity initiatives.
“One of the most important aspects, or our greatest challenge, in institutional support of Supplier Diversity Programs is having the support of senior management, especially the President,’’ said Karen Gross, UTMB’s manager of Supplier Diversity Programs and HUB coordinator. “We find when a university has the President as a champion of supplier diversity, that program is successful.”
The HUB Program, which stands for Historically Underutilized Businesses, was established at UTMB to identify minority- and women-owned businesses with the objective of increasing the number of contracts awarded to HUB suppliers.
Callender emphasized that diversity is a core value at UTMB, evident everywhere from its student body and employee base to its supply chain. “Dr. Callender was the highlight of the event,” Gross said. “He received a standing ovation, and many of the attendees lined up to meet him.“
Gross, who helps departments within UTMB locate minority- and women-owned business suppliers, was the recipient of the NAEP Volunteer of the Year Award in April for her extensive work at both the national and regional levels of NAEP, and within the purchasing industry.