Philip A. Duffy

Philip A. Duffy
Philip A. Duffy

First Executive Director,
National Minority Purchasing Council

The professional career of Philip A. Duffy began in the pharmaceutical world with industry giant Pfizer. For more than three decades, large and small pharmaceutical and biotech companies benefited from his broad domestic and international leadership experience.

However, it was in the span of nine short years between the start of his successful burgeoning business career that began with Pfizer and his return to increasing responsibilities and positions within the pharmaceutical and biotech arena that Philip A. Duffy made a difference that resonates four decades later.

Newly hired at Pfizer. Inc. in 1969, Mr. Duffy was a returning Vietnam veteran. Pfizer, a forward-thinking, community-oriented corporation, was at the forefront of purchasing from minority-owned businesses. He found himself very involved with and very enthusiastic about what was then known as minority purchasing.

Two years after joining Pfizer, he became program director of the newly formed Interracial Council for Business Opportunity in New York as an executive on loan. In this role, he successfully networked with the business community, from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to Fortune 500 companies, making the case for private sector purchasing from diverse businesses.

In 1972, a group of Chicago companies organized the National Minority Purchasing Council, which was incorporated the following year. In Washington, the Office of the Minority Business Enterprise (now the Minority Business Development Agency), with local offices in a number of cities, was seeking ways to beef up its program to promote minority business development in the private sector and provided the seed money for NMPC. Mr. Duffy left Pfizer and moved to Chicago, where he became the organization’s first executive director. Working with executives at Standard Oil Co. and American Can Co., he expanded the reach of minority business development.

Under his leadership half the Fortune 500 companies became corporate members of the new organization, committed to purchasing from and assisting in the growth and development of minority-owned businesses. In addition to the Fortune 500 companies, more than 500 major corporations nationwide became affiliated with the 30 regional councils. In the 1975-76 time frame, Mr. Duffy oversaw the creation of the first national computer database linking minority businesses with corporations seeking their particular goods and services. He also initiated the certification process for minority businesses that established their readiness to be part of corporate supply chains.

Mr. Duffy, with members of the executive committee of the National Purchasing Council met with President Gerald Ford at a White House Conference in December 1975 to further discuss the efforts to incorporate minority businesses into the mainstream.

Currently, Mr. Duffy is a senior corporate officer and consultant in life sciences companies. He resides in San Diego with this wife.