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presentation, Mr. Paige distributed information about the “Matchmaker Program,” Florida’s conference/trade show for Minority Business Enterprises to be held November 15-17, 2006, in Orlando at the Orange County Convention Center.

Deborah Mullins, Manager of Supplier Diversity, Verizon

[Note:   Ms. Mullins requested to be the first speaker because of her travel schedule.]

Last year, Verizon spent $2.17 billion nationwide with businesses owned by women, minorities, and service-disabled veterans.  In her PowerPoint presentation, Ms. Mullins showed that for a five-year period, from 2001 to 2005, Verizon spent $9.14 billion nationwide on diversity-owned businesses.

According to Ms. Mullins, Verizon spent a little over $107 million with Florida small businesses in 2005.  She also said that in pursuing relationships with small businesses, one of the areas that she uses is the State of Florida database, the National Minority Suppliers Development Council, and the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council.  These databases, as well as others, make it easy for Verizon to find companies they need and want to do business with.

Verizon also follows a strategic sourcing process that offers a level playing field to all suppliers; the company’s Sourcing Process Leaders (SPLs) facilitate this process.  Supplier Diversity managers work with the SPLs as part of cross functional teams (CFTs) charged with selecting suppliers through a competitive request for proposal (RFP) and selection process.  The supplier diversity managers serve as advocates for MWDVBEs.

Ms. Mullins said Verizon is also expanding its 2nd Tier program in partnership with its prime suppliers in order to develop Minority and Women-owned firms across all product lines.   For Verizon’s 2nd Tier program, the company encourages its prime suppliers to “spend” with minority-, women-, persons with disabilities, Vietnam-era, and service disabled veteran-owned

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