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Supplier Diversity Economic Summit

  • Asheville US Cellular Center 87 Haywood Street Asheville, NC, 28801 United States (map)

WNC Diversity Engagement Coalition Supplier Diversity Committee

Representatives from the member organizations meet on 4th Wednesdays at Buncombe County Offices to increase the work of equity and inclusion in the supply chain. The current work for the Supplier Diversity Committee is focused on construction trades due to the opportunity to strengthen Historically Underrepresented Businesses and Minority Owned Businesses.

Executive Summary for the Economic Summit


WNC Diversity Engagement Coalition recognizes the importance of business opportunities as a key component in building a resilient infrastructure to support equitable opportunity.  To help build more robust pipelines for economic opportunity among small business owners with a focus on minority and women, the Coalition formed in the Spring of 2017 the Supplier Diversity Network.  The initial focus of this group is on supporting the current need in our community for a workforce to support the burgeoning construction demand.  Between the anchor institutions present, it was apparent that there are multiple, high dollar construction projects planned or underway that include federal funds and state and local bonds. In tallying the project, the money involved quickly reached $1 Billion. Additionally, according to the Tourism Development Authority, there are in excess of 20 hotels currently approved or under construction along with the Duke gas plant.  That brings the total to upwards of $3 Billion construction and ancillary services investment that will be spent in the next 5 – 10 years.

Our community is already experiencing the pinch of a lack of skilled workers to hire for these projects.  Other enterprises are also caught in this change as workers leave arenas of employment to go to higher paying construction jobs (Mountain Xpress, August 23). With this in mind, the Diversity Engagement Coalition is hosting an Economic Summit on Wednesday, November 15 at the US Cellular Center with a goal of bringing together the employers for these projects as well as those who are interested in working or pursuing a small business that would be a part of a subcontract.


·  Alert the public to the historic opportunity and challenge of a $3+billion construction investment in Buncombe County

·   Educate about the importance of keeping these funds in WNC by preparing a local workforce rather than drawing on labor outside of WNC or drawing on outside corporations to handle subcontracts

·    Intentionally involve and support HUB’s – Historically Underrepresented Businesses – in this opportunity/challenge

Schedule of Events:

7:30 - Registration

8:00 - Welcome

8:30 - 9:30 - Federal, State, County & City Panel with representatives from Department of Transportation, Buncombe County, City of Asheville

9:45 - 10:45 - General Contractors & Subcontractors with representatives from Mission Health, Blum, Barnhill, and Vannoy

11:00 – 12:00 - Work Force Development with representatives from AB Tech and Green Opportunities

12:00 - Lunch with guest speaker Greg Driver, Executive Director of UNC Facilities and Engineering

 1:30 - 2:30 - Higher Education Panel with representatives from UNC Asheville Western Carolina University and AB Tech

2:30 - 4:00 - Networking at Booths

Best Practices Tools for Supplier Diversity

For more information click on the following links:

Click here for the Global Diversity and Inclusion Benchmarks for Category 14

Click here for accountability tool from the Metropolitan Sewage District of Greater Cincinnati


Earlier Event: November 1
Landing Your Career with Mission Health
Later Event: December 6
End of Year Networking Social