The GMSDC Celebrates the 2018 Spirit of Alliance Award Winners

Staff Report From Georgia CEO

Wednesday, October 31st, 2018

The Georgia Minority Supplier Development Council hosted its 36th annual Spirit of Alliance Awards on September 28th at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis. The state of Georgia’s top supplier diversity and minority business development organization honored leaders and businesses across the state for their exemplary achievements in creating contract opportunities for minority suppliers. The gala celebrates the corporations, Minority Business Enterprises (MBEs) and supplier diversity professionals that are setting the standard for minority small business development in Georgia. The theme of the event – Own The Moment - Tell Your Story– was a call to action for the GMSDC community to seize every business opportunity in 2018 and beyond.

SunTrust Banks and WestRock shared Corporation of the Year honors, presented to the top corporate partner in the GMSDC community, and Randstad was honored as Local Corporation of the Year.

The Crystal Award, presented by the small businesses in the Council to a corporate partner they rate the most committed to supplier diversity, also went to SunTrust, while Westrock also received the George Lottier Rising Star Award, in recognition of the growth and expansion of its supplier diversity program.

Others receiving awards included Executive of the Year Stuart MacVean of Savannah River Nuclear Solutions, Advocate of the Year Lissa Miller of SunTrust, MBE Advocate of the Year Sidd Ahmed of VDart and Savannah River’s Jay Johnson, who was named Supply Chain Advocate of the Year.

Buyer of the Year awards were presented to supplier diversity champions in 4 categories – Madalena Soares of Cox Enterprises (Staffing), Kenneth Smith of Accenture (IT), Iana Tassada of J.E. Dunn (Construction) and John Kocinski of The Coca-Cola Company (Professional Services).

The top individual honor at the Spirit of Alliance Awards is the Blue Legend Award, which recognizes a lifetime of commitment to supplier diversity and equal opportunity. This year’s Blue Legend Award went to Mrs. Varinee Sangmalee, the founder and President of the Thai American Chamber of Commerce and a lifelong advocate for cultural awareness and business development. Mrs. Sangmalee has mentored small business owners, advocated for inclusive procurement practices and facilitated cultural exchange for nearly 40 years. She joins an exclusive circle of past Blue Legend winners, including Atlanta Mayors Maynard Jackson, Andrew Young and Kasim Reed, as well as Herman J. Russell, Senator Sam Nunn, Congressman John Lewis and Rosemary Jones of Turner Broadcasting.

The Spirit of Alliance gala also recognizes the achievements of the more than 700 MBE firms in the GMSDC community. Supplier of the Year Awards were presented in four revenue categories – ranging from under $1 million annually to over $50 million – to PPICW (Class I), Weems Studio (Class II), ProCutters Lawnscapes (Class III) and Pyramid Consulting (Class IV). The Eagle Award, recognizing the MBE firm that shows the greatest commitment to doing business with other MBE firms, was presented to VDart.