Partnering and building a path to success were the main topics of discussion during the Supplier Diversity Matchmaking Event presented by EQT, Aug. 16.
Contributing sponsors were Chevron, Shell and TransCanada. The theme of the day was “Partnering for Success.”
“It’s about bringing value from both sides,” said Greg Spencer, president and CEO of Randall Industries.
An entrepreneur for more than 14 years, he is familiar with the procurement process from the small business and supplier side of the table. Former vice president and chief analytics officer of Equitable Resources, now EQT, Spencer was responsible for facilities management, human resources, communications and procurement. Randall Industries provides chemical-based cleaning solutions, both domestically and internationally.
Spencer, along with Vinita A. Gupta, co-chief executive officer of Aquisol Inc., provided testimonials on being certified veteran business enterprises. Aquisol Inc., doing business as Apex Resources Inc., is a global manufacturer of differentiated industrial chemicals. The operating company manufactures diversified products for industries including oil and gas, food and erosion control. As partners, Spencer’s and Gupta’s businesses serve as a VBE provider to EQT. “It’s often about partnerships,” said Spencer.
Applauding EQT for their insight and commitment to supplier diversity, Gupta said, “They say you are only as strong as your weakest link. We all understand how minority-owned businesses are often considered the weakest link in society and the community. So, unless we work with the weaker link and make it strong, our community and nation will never be strong together as a whole.”
She identified EQT’s efforts of strengthening the alleged weaker link, minority-owned businesses.
Along with the business testimonies, activities of the day included two panel discussions moderated by Lance Hyde, diversity manager of EQT Corporation, and approximately 440 one-to-one matchmaking sessions.
The “Partnering for Success” theme was emphasized during the morning panel discussion, which included Hall of Famer Jerome Bettis, CEO of Bettis Brothers Sand and Gravel and co-owner of IntegrServ LLC; his brother, John Bettis, president of Bettis Brothers Sand and Gravel and co-owner of IntegrServ; and Lynwood Kaister and Bradley L. Kratz, co-owners of IntegrServ.
Focused in the oil and gas business, IntegrServ is a water hauling and trucking service. The session illustrated the mutual value gained when two or more companies pool their resources to earn larger contracts enabling the delivery of value on a higher scale.
Reflecting on the process that has he and John doing business with EQT as well as becoming co-owners of IntegrServ, Jerome Bettis said developing relationships, sharing ideas and listening is important. Having a champion, what he considers Hyde to be, is valuable. “To get a champion you have to have honesty, be able to lay things out on the table, don’t limit yourself and show value for the client. These qualities enable your champion to get behind you and push for you.”
The afternoon panel discussion, which was focused on building a path to success, was focused toward college students who were in attendance, along with those interested in entering the oil and gas industry as entrepreneurs or for employment. The discussion also provided insight on ways to expand internationally. Panelists included: Louis Green, CEO of Supplier Success, LLC, and former interim president of the National Minority Supplier Development Council and senior advisor to the president; Paula R. Glover, president and CEO of the American Association of Blacks in Energy; Bony Dawood, principal of Dawood Engineering Inc.; and Andrea Korney, senior manager of supplier diversity and stakeholder relations of TranCanada.
To accommodate the growing minority workforce, Glover suggested that all entities should talk about what they are doing, to tell their stories better. “Corporations have to talk about their successes and relay their stories in ways that no one else will…It’s about going where your customers and potential customers are, speaking their language and knowing the culture.”
The entire panel mentioned that for people looking to go into the workforce or entering entrepreneurship focused in the oil and gas industry, engineering and technology are fields of need and a creative market. Green said that having knowledge in the industry is important. “Having transferable skill sets, building relationships, having knowledge of the business, knowledge of the customer, knowledge of opportunities by being engaged provides unique insights that helps leverage into opportunities.”
Korney’s advice to businesses aiming to build internationally in addition to being innovative, is that anything in the energy sector should focus 100 percent on safe and quality operations. “Understanding the expectations from a safety perspective and quality initiatives, how you build that into your product or service is the number one focus for anyone interested in entering into the international energy business.”
She said companies like hers look for suppliers across the scope of building, operating and maintaining pipelines. “We look for safety programs, quality programs, a business’s technical capacity and capabilities, assets owned, financial stability, one’s understanding of how to put together a bid, and pricing.”
Bofta Yimam, former WTAE-TV (Channel 4) anchor and reporter, was Mistress of Ceremony for the event.
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