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Inaugural Diversity Business Expo Meets with Success 
The inaugural Diversity Business Expo held on March 14 brought together 287 attendees representing businesses, agencies' purchasing departments and event volunteers at Overcoming Believers Church, 211 Harriet Tubman Street.

Diversity Business Expo

The expo was a collaboration between purchasing staff members at the City of Knoxville and a number of other local businesses, several of whom belong to the East Tennessee Purchasing Association: Knox County, Knoxville’s Community Development Corporation (KCDC), University of Tennessee, Metropolitan Knoxville Airport Authority, Blount County, Knoxville Utilities Board and the Knoxville/Knox County Public Building Authority (PBA). 

"All of our purchasing departments share the goal of doing more business with small businesses and local companies owned by women, minorities and service-disabled military veterans,” says Pamela Cotham, Assistant Purchasing Agent for the City’s Small Business and Diversity Outreach Office, which works with all City departments to increase the amount of business the city does with DBE’s.

Additional agencies were on site to provide resources to diversity businesses. including Small Business Administration and the State of Tennessee GoDBE, Knoxville Urban League, SCORE, the Tennessee Small Business Development Center, Knoxville Chamber of Commerce and the Knoxville Entrepreneur Center. 

The expo brought together DBE business owners who want to promote their goods and services to local government agencies with department-level buyers from agencies who purchase goods and services ranging from $100 to $5,000. The friendly networking atmosphere – and the opportunity to learn more about bidding opportunities for a major renovation project at Nashville International Airport – inspired an exuberant energy among participants. 

Cotham reported that many participating agencies reached out to tell her they made contacts with potential subcontractors they weren't aware of previously. Feedback was so positive, in fact, the second Diversity Business Expo has a 2020 date: March 5, at Overcoming Believers Church. 

For more information on doing business with the City of Knoxville, visit KnoxvilleTN.gov/purchasing

Diversity Business Expo
City of Knoxville Assistant Purchasing Agent Pamela Cotham with Alan M. Jones, HR Manager of Administration of the Metropolitan Airport Authority, and Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero. 

Diversity Business Expo
Bryan Gleason , Compliance Manager Business Diversity Development; Kebbyn Connell, Compliance Coordinator Business Diversity Development; and Gerry George, vendor partner of Relevant Resources Group 

Diversity Business Expo
Supply Chain Contracts Manager Megan Simons and Supply Chain Procurement Agent Tammy Raby of TVA

Diversity Business Expo
Former Tennessee State Representative and owner of  Jammin' 99.7 FM WJBE Joe Armstrong with station News Director Gene Thomas.  

Diversity Business Expo
Knox County Diversity Development Manager Darris Upton, Public Building Authority Administrator & CEO Jayne Burritt and Senior Director of HR and Risk Management for Knox County Mark Jones.

Diversity Business Expo
Posted by ptravis On 29 March, 2019 at 8:46 AM