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Chicago Purchasing Council

Founders of the Chicago Regional Purchasing Council
Founders/Founding Members:

AT&T (formerly Western Electric)
AMOCO (formerly Standard Oil of Indiana; now part of BP)
Bell & Howell
Carson Pirie Scott
Chicago Chamber of Commerce
Chicago Urban League
CNA Insurance Companies
Commonwealth Edison
Continental Bank (acquired by Bank of America in 1994)
First Chicago Corporation
Hewlett-Packard Company
Illinois Bell (owned by AT&T)
Inland Steel Company
Jewel Food Stores
Lockheed Corporation
Montgomery Ward
National Can Company
R. Donnelly & Sons
Sears Roebuck Company

Following the Chicago riots in the mid-1960s, several corporations with headquarters and operations throughout the region realized one of the underlying causes for the riots was the lack of investments in the black communities which contributed to the lack of jobs and lack of opportunities to develop, grow and expand business opportunities for businesses in those communities.  Further, there was no platform to dialogue and connect with business owners regardless of the social and political climates.

A one-day business fair was established to provide black business owners the opportunity to meet corporate personnel responsible for sourcing products and services locally and regionally. The outcome of this fair resulted in several corporations and non-profit organizations deciding that meeting with these business owners once a year was beneficial. However, one-day a year was not sufficient to establish on-going, productive business relationships.

Thereafter, created the Chicago Regional Purchasing Council in 1968, the first minority purchasing council in the United States.  The work, vision, leadership and financial support these companies and entities provided to this council led to the creation of the first office of the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC) located in Chicago, and the establishment of a network of minority supplier development councils throughout the country that remains in existence today.

These companies and non-profit entities were the pioneers and trailblazers that laid the foundation for the inclusion of minority businesses in private sector and public sector economies, commerce and industries.

Billion Dollar Roundtable


The Billion Dollar Roundtable Inc. (BDR) is a not-for-profit organization that provides thought leadership and solution-driven exploration of key issues and best practices in supplier diversity. The BDR member companies, among the world’s largest and most important business firms, each spend $1 billion or more annually for a broad range of goods and services from certified Tier 1 companies whose owners are minorities and women, making meaningful and measurable contributions to the economic growth and viability of diverse companies.

The BDR was founded in 2001 by Don McKneely, chairman and chief executive officer, TexCorp Communications Inc.; Sharon Patterson, president and chief executive officer, Billion Dollar Roundtable Inc., and Shirley Harrison (retired). Rick Hughes, a retired chief procurement officer with Procter & Gamble Co., serves as the current BDR chairman.

Current BDR members are:

• AT&T Inc.
• Avis Budget Group Inc.
• Bank of America
• The Boeing Co.
• Fiat Chrysler Automobiles
• Comcast NBCUniversal
• Dell, Inc.
• Ford Motor Co.
• General Motors Corp.
• Honda North America
• IBM Corp.
• Johnson Controls, Inc.
• Johnson & Johnson
• Kaiser-Permanente
• The Kroger Co.
• Microsoft Corp.
• Procter & Gamble Co.
• Toyota Motor North America
• Verizon Communications Inc.
• Wal-Mart Stores Inc.

A key measurement for BDR member companies is the spend component. The consolidated Tier 1 spend of minority and women-owned enterprises for member companies reached a record $75.0 billion in 2015, up from $67.0 billion in 2014. Consolidated Tier 2 diverse spend for 2015 was $21.9 billion, up from $17.6 billion the previous year. Member spend is audited annually by a third party.

A major achievement for the BDR was the publication of  “Billion Dollar Roundtable Inc. Supplier Diversity Best Practices,” a compendium that examines 12 specific best practices in supplier diversity.

Other BDR accomplishments include:

Launch of the iChannel/BDR Network Mobile App - available to everyone
Development of an “ambassador” support program for prospective new members
Creation of the Capital Connector for Growth initiative, or “The Triad,” to explore the capital needs of diverse suppliers
Development of a platform for supplier diversity practitioners for “Establishing the Value of Supplier Diversity”
Serving as a participant and sponsor of the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
Sponsor an annual BDR Appreciation Dinner produced and executed using inspiring speakers including an Olympic gold medalist, corporate executives and diverse company leaders
Participated in global supplier diversity conference in London sponsored by the Minority Supplier Development UK Ltd. (MSDUK)
Published paper entitled “Advancing Mature Supplier Diversity Programs”
Published paper about the return on investment for supplier diversity with the University of Washington (BDR’s research partner)
Received the Bridgeman Organization of the Year award in 2014.
Developed a template for supplier diversity practitioners on “Working with Advocacy Groups.”

The BDR website is located at.

Daniel Gill

Owner, Dayvon Services Inc.
Department of Defense
Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization

Daniel R. Gill (Dan) owned and operated Dayvon Services Inc. a company that specialized in small business and federal acquisition consulting, coaching and training. Previously, he served as the Bowie State University acting vice president for Institutional Advancement and founder and director of the Institute for Development and Entrepreneurship Advancement (IDEA).

Mr. Gill retired from federal civil service in 1996, as the highest ranked black career professional in the Federal Senior Executive Service (SES-06) in the Department of Defense (DOD), Acquisition Workforce. He served as the DOD director, Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization. He developed acquisition and small business policy and provided oversight for appropriated expenditures to ensure DOD compliance with national policies and executive orders to maximize the department’s expenditures to small and disadvantaged businesses (SDBs) and minority institutions (MIs).

From 1987 to 1994, Mr. Gill served in a similar capacity with the Department of the Army, Office of the Secretary of the Army. He served on the Army Contract Adjustment Board, the Executive Board of the Army Acquisition Corp, and the executive boards for two Centers of Excellence at historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs)

His professional career includes positions in contracting and procurement management and policy within the DOD. He was designated a Certified Professional Contract Manager by the National Contract Management Association from 1975 to 1981.

Mr. Gill designed the Department of Defense set-aside policy and regulations to implement PL 99-661, which mandated goals for DOD contract awards and subcontracts to SDBs, HBCUs, and other MIs.

He earned a bachelor of science degree in business from Virginia Commonwealth University in 1971, and a master’s degree in contracts and procurement management from the Florida Institute of Technology in 1975.

Mr. Gill is a graduate of the Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government, Senior Managers Program and the author of two books: How the Federal Government Disenfranchises Small Businesses and Acquisition Smart Guide.

Vera Moore

President & CEO
Vera Moore Cosmetics

Vera Moore has been a trailblazer in vision and innovation, community involvement, and inspiration, breaking down barriers, meeting needs, leadership and empowering women.

One of the first black actresses on the NBC soap opera “Another World,” she soon realized the void in the market for quality products geared to women of color — specifically, a natural looking foundation. This gave birth to Vera Moore Cosmetics. Her journey has led to national recognition on the coverageinBlack Enterprise Magazine, Network Journal’s 25 Influential Black Women in Business, Networking Women, People Magazine, Essence Magazine, UpscaleMagazine and the Wall Street Journal. She received the Success Stories Award from Volvo Cars of North America, and has hosted her own half-hour radio segment “Skin Deep & Moore” on WWRL Radio.Her Broadway show appearances include the Tony Award winning Broadway Musical “Purlie Victorious,” “A Teaspoon Every Four Hours,”“Jackie Mason,” and Scott Joplin’s “Opera Treemonisha.”

Vera is an active participant in the community and in several organizations. She is a coveted motivational speaker, addressing such groups as the National Minority Business Council Conference,the Black Enterprise Entrepreneurial Conference, the Women’s Power Summit, Urban Economic Council presented by the White House Business Council, the White House Council on Women and Girls, the U.S. Small Business Administration, and the Essence Festival. She is a board member of the New York Women’s Chamber of Commerce.As a passionate advocate for women owned businesses, Vera continues to strive to knock down barriers that impede their growth by leveling the playing field. In 1982, Vera broke the color barrier when her company became thefirst black-owned business to set up shop in the 50-year history at the prestigious Green Acres Mall Valley Stream, Long Island, N.Y.

Numerous publications, includingWomen’s Wear Dailyannounced her partnership with Duane Reade/Walgreens, making her the first black vendorin their upscale high-end department known as the “LOOK boutique.”

Garland Guice

President and CEO
Chicago Economic Development Corporation (CEDCO)

Garland Colvin Guice was born on February 15, 1933 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. He moved to Chicago as a child and later earned a bachelor of science in business administration and a master of arts in public administration from Roosevelt University. Mr. Guice served in the U. S. Air Force and was honorably discharged.

From the late 1960s throughthe 1970s, Chicago was recognized as the Black Business Mecca. A key factor in this was the Chicago Economic Development Corporation (CEDCO), a private, not-for-profit corporation established in 1965 to help small, black and other minority businessmen develop and manage viable businesses and improve economic conditions, particularly in the inner city of Chicago. Initially serving as its executive director, Mr. Guice was one of the early voices that challenged corporate America to do business with black companies.
He established the collaboration between CEDCO and Western Electric in 1968 to host the first ever Minority Business Opportunity Fair. CEDCO also planted the seeds for development of the Chicago Regional Purchasing Council, which became the Chicago chapter of the National Minority Supplier Development Council. It is estimated CEDCO secured over $72 million in financing for more than 1,000 minority enterprises, procured more than $10 million in contracts, and created or saved over 5,000 jobs, worth $37 million to the Chicago economy. Often sought out as a speaker on issues regarding the state of black and minority business, Mr. Guice was considered a national leading voice for the creation of wealth building opportunities for minorities.

Mr. Guice became CEDCO’s president and CEO in 1975. In 1976, he become president of Inner City Foods, a group of 16 Burger King Restaurants that for several years was listed as one of the nation’s 100 largest black-owned businesses. President Jimmy Carterappointed him a member of his Advisory Council for Minority Business Enterprise. The late Mayor Harold Washington nominated him for a seat on the Illinois International Port Authority, however his untimely death in 1985 at age 52 preceded his confirmation. Garland was a director, Independence Bank in Chicago, one of the nation’s largest black-owned banks and trustee of Evanston-based, National College of Education.

Garland and his wife, Doris had four daughters: DeNalda Guice Gay, DeRonda Guice Williams, DeKarla Guice Armstrong, and Deirdre Guice Minor.

Vilma Pamilla Robinson

Assistant Regional Director
U.S. Department of Commerce
Minority Business Development Agency

Vilma Pamilla Robinson was a native of Georgetown, Guyana. A graduate of St. Joseph’s Convent in Georgetown, she worked for the Ministry of Education for several years. In 1963, she immigrated to the United States. She received a bachelor’s degree in liberal arts from Hunter College in 1975. She later received her master’s degree in social sciences from New York University in 1982.

In 2006, Mrs. Robinson retired from her position as a business development officer at the U.S. Department of Commerce Minority Business Development Agency, where she had been a devoted employee for 27 years. Mrs. Robinson was the first MEDWeek coordinator for the MBDA–NY Regional Office (1985). She later served as MEDWeek coordinator from 1986-1988.

She was actively involved with the National Minority Business Council, Inc. where she worked with the Women’s Division. Pamilla was the wife of John F. Robinson, co-founder, president and CEO of the Minority Business Hall of Fame and Museum.

Mrs. Robinson passed in May 2017.

We are pleased to issue the first Villa Pamilla Robinson Award this year to an outstanding advocate of minority business development.

Robert L Wallace

BITHGROUP Technologies, Inc.

As a graduate student at the acclaimed Amos Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College, Robert Wallace became enthralled with the information from his groundbreaking research on the challenges and success characteristics of women and minority entrepreneurs. With Tuck’s Minority Business Executive Program (MBEP) as a backdrop for his research, Mr. Wallace’s entrepreneurial curiosity ultimately led to the publication of his first book, Black Wealth Through Black Entrepreneurship. More advanced research in this area led to the publication of books such as, Black Wealth: Your Road To Small Business Success, Soul Food: 52 Principles Of Black Entrepreneurial Success, Strategic Partnerships: An Entrepreneur’s Guide To Joint Ventures And Alliances, and Ssese Principles: Guidelines For Building Wealth Through Faith. These publications have proven to be invaluable resources, providing a foundation for businessmen and women seeking to exemplify entrepreneurial excellence throughout the world.

Utilizing the extensive knowledge he gained from his research and benefiting from mentors such as Parren J. Mitchell, Mr. Wallace and his wife, Carolyn, promptly moved to start a number of entrepreneurial endeavors including, BITHGROUP Technologies, Inc. (Information Technology Services), BITHENERGY, Inc. (Renewable Energy Power Generation and Energy Services), and EntreTeach Learning Systems, LLC (Entrepreneurship Research and Training Development Services).

These companies, founded by Mr. Wallace, have been recognized both nationally and internationally for their noteworthy accomplishments. BITHGROUP Technologies, Inc. was awarded the Baltimore Washington Corridor Chamber of Commerce “Hall of Fame” award. In 2015, the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (ICIC) recognized BITHENERGY as the fastest growing inner city business in America. EntreTeach Learning Systems, in conjunction with, have become trusted sources for entrepreneurial knowledge and the facilitation of strategic partnership connections.

Throughout the years, Robert and the BITH Family of companies have never waivered in their commitment to enhancing the quality of life for all humanity through their innovative application of technology, entrepreneurship and leveraging of strategic partnerships. By committing a portion of profits each year to philanthropic initiatives around the world, they have helped to build orphanages, churches, clinics, libraries, energy systems, and entrepreneurial educational initiatives in much of the emerging world.

Mr. Wallace’s numerous commitments include the President’s Roundtable (chairman), Maryland Economic Development Commission, Offshore Wind Business Consortium, Greater Baltimore Committee. He is especially known for his innovative blending of the theoretical aspects of entrepreneurial success — success profiling and success modeling — with the practical day-to-day wisdom of starting and operating scalable businesses in a rapidly changing global economy.

Norma Leftwich

Former Director, Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization
Department of Defense
Retired General Counsel, Howard University

Norma Leftwich never imagined that in 1995 she would become the first woman in the history of Howard University to serve as general counsel, the top legal officer of that esteemed Historically Black University. In this position, she managed the legal affairs of the university, as well as its subsidiaries, including Howard University Hospital, WHUR 96.3 FM radio station, and the public television station WHUT-TV. She provided counsel to Howard’s president and its board of trustees and found each day brought an opportunity for variety and excitement. She was attracted by the university’s strong history and mission of providing a stellar education, initially to African American students and later to students of all races.

Ms. Leftwich is no stranger to “firsts.” Prior to her career with Howard University, following the passage of PL 95-507, she was the first person to become the director of what was then called The Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSADBU) in the Office of the Secretary of Defense at the U.S. Department of Defense. There, she was responsible for setting and implementing goals and policies that would ensure that women and minority firms were afforded a fair and equal opportunity to compete for defense prime and subcontract dollars. At that time,Ms.Leftwich reported directly to the Deputy Secretary of Defense and was instrumental in elevating this program and position to the highest level of visibility within the department. During her tenure, the Small Business Innovation Research program (SBIR) and the Mentor Protégé Program were first introduced in the Department of Defense. After leaving the department, she returned to serve as a consultant on small and minority business mattersto the Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics).

Following her graduation from Georgetown University Law Center, Ms. Leftwich worked as an associate counsel in the Government Contracts Division of Seyfarth Shaw Law Firm, where she also served as vice chair of the Small Business Committee of the American Bar Association.
One of Ms. Leftwich’s proudest professional achievements was her appointment to the District of Columbia Board of Elections and Ethics. In this volunteer position, she helped to oversee the electoral process in the nation’s capital.

Johnnie Booker

Retired Global Director, Supplier Diversity
The Coca-Cola Company

For more than 45 years, Johnnie Booker has advocated for minority businesses.Sheis viewed as a pioneer in supplier diversity byher leadership roles at Coca-Cola,Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Resolution Trust Corporation,U.S. Department of Housing andUrban Development and Federal Home Loan Bank Board.As a result of her contributions, she has received two Congressional Resolutions from the U.S. House of Representatives.
In the early 1970s, as assistant western regional director with the National Urban League and in collaboration with the Los Angeles Black Business Association and the Black Chamber of Commerce, she organized the first trade show for minority businesses with more than 50 corporations and governmental agencies to promote the use of minority businesses by these companies. During her tenure in Los Angeles and Washington, DC, she developed the NUL positions on Congressional legislation, federal and state regulations and programs in the areas of minority business, equal employment, housing and community development, urban policy and consumer affairs. She also served as liaison to congressional committees and federal agencies responsible for these programs.
As director of Consumer Affairs and Civil Rights with the Federal Home Loan Bank Board, Ms. Booker was instrumental in securing significant opportunities for minority investment bankers, accountants and lawyers in a financial regulatory environment that had never used minority vendors in these critical areas. As deputy assistant secretary of Fair Housing at the Department of Housing and Urban Development, she made it very clear that all contracts issued within that office required significant minority participation.

In 2001, The Coca-Cola Company recruited Ms. Booker to assist in the development of the company’s global supplier diversity program. During her first year, this program resulted in increased spending with diverse businesses by 50 percent and exceeded the company’s goal by percent. Under her leadership, she consistently exceeded company goals in subsequent years and enhanced the company’s profile in actual dollars expended and expanded its global recognition. She established a supplier diversity-mentoring program to improve the capability and capacity of diverse suppliers doing business with the company. She launched a “second tier” program to increase opportunities for diverse suppliers to secure procurement opportunities through sub-contracting, joint venture and other partnership arrangements with first tier or prime suppliers.

Ms. Booker is a board member of the Fort Valley State University Foundation and Bronx Community College Foundation and holds a bachelor’s degree from Hampton (Institute) University (Virginia) and a master’s of social work from Atlanta University School of Social Work(Atlanta).

Francis Paco Kennedy

Executive Director
Kingston, Jamaica

Francis Xavier Kennedyserved GraceKennedy Limited, co-founded by his grandfather, starting as a billing clerk and earning increasingly senior positions in the merchandising, manufacturing, shipping, food trading, export trading and corporate development divisions — both in Jamaica and overseas. He was appointed executive director of the company in May 1970 and retired in December 2005 as the chief special project officer, 46 years after joining GraceKennedy.

Francis “Paco” Kennedy (given the Spanish nickname for Francis so as not to be confused with his uncle, for whom he as named) was often described as having an enduring commitment to nation building. He served his country in countless ways, working not only in the boardroom, but also in inner-city communities across Kingston, seeking to improve the condition of the city and the people he loved.

Among his many contributions was his outstanding ability to promote closer ties between the U.S. minority business community and Jamaica. He consistently reached out to the Jamaican diaspora in the United States, United Kingdom and Canada, and was receptive to the minority business community in the United States in participating in trade relations with Jamaica.

In 1998, Mr. Kennedy and GraceKennedy sponsored the National Minority Business Council’s trade and investment mission to Jamaica. Several federal and state agencies, and minority entrepreneurs attended the four-day mission. Subsequently, Mr. Kennedy sought the assistance of the NMBC to assist the agencies he headed in Jamaica in their redevelopment plans for the city of Kingston

His instinct for service, led him to serve as president of the Jamaica Shipping Association and president of the Caribbean Shipping Association while still working at GraceKennedy. At the time of Mr. Kennedy’s passing, he was a member of the Partnership for Jamaica - National Council, and was serving his second term as president of the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce.

His own indelible mark on the Jamaican landscape was recognized in 2013, with the Prime Minister’s Medal of Appreciation. In 2014, Francis “Paco” Kennedy was recognised for his contribution to national and economic development with Jamaica’s third highest National Honor given to a private citizen, the Order of Distinction - Commander Class.

Jesuit educated, he attended school in Jamaicabefore attending Georgetown Prep in the United States, graduatingat the top of his class.He would later pursue the Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business School in 1974.

Mr. Kennedy passed in October 2014