October 10, 2022 9:14am
GE Appliances, Greater Louisville Inc. announce partnership to grow, recruit, relocate diverse-owned suppliers
Partnership aims to increase GEA’s supplier diversity spend and grow diverse-owned suppliers to serve businesses throughout the region
Louisville, Ky. (October 10, 2022) – GE Appliances (GEA), a Haier Company, announced an ongoing partnership with Greater Louisville Inc. (GLI), Louisville’s Metro Chamber of Commerce, to source, grow, recruit, and relocate diverse suppliers. The partnership, which will grow diverse-owned suppliers to serve businesses throughout the region and country, underscores GEA’s commitment to advancing economic inclusion in the communities they serve and supporting diverse entrepreneurs through contracting opportunities.
“Recently, we made a commitment to spend $1 billion cumulatively with diverse-owned suppliers by 2030,” said Kevin Nolan, president & CEO of GE Appliances. “We made this commitment because a diverse and resilient supply chain here in America is critical to our success – it’s the right thing to do, it’s good for our business and it’s good for the communities we serve. Diversity is our greatest strength – as a country, as a community, and as a company, and we want to grow diverse-owned suppliers here in Louisville that will not only serve GEA, but other manufacturers and businesses in Greater Louisville and across the country.”
The partnership relies on the support of GLI’s economic development and diversity, equity, and inclusion teams to identify, grow, recruit, and refer diverse suppliers from across the U.S. with specific North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) codes to the GEA procurement team. Using these codes to research and reach out to diverse suppliers, GLI has produced and handed-off 18 leads which consist of minority-owned, women-owned, and small businesses from Louisville and beyond, which have resulted in new contracts for diverse-owned local companies like HJI Supply Chain Solutions and Cimtech.
“As a chamber of commerce, our mission is to create a robust and inclusive regional economy. This partnership with GEA accomplishes both objectives by providing new opportunities to local minority-owned, women-owned, and small businesses and bringing new businesses to our region,” said Sarah Davasher-Wisdom, president and CEO of GLI. “When we launched our Racial Equity Pledge that GEA signed last year, this was exactly the kind of visionary and results-oriented program we imagined. I applaud GEA for going above and beyond their commitment and I hope this partnership will inspire other businesses in our region to launch similar programs or take intentional steps to increase their own vendor diversity.”
Kate Weaver is the new supplier diversity leader at GEA. She will help oversee the procurement activities and the partnership with GLI. Kate joins GEA from the grocery retail space, where she managed supplier diversity efforts for the brands and entities of Ahold Delhaize USA. In addition to experience on both the direct (bill of materials) and indirect (corporate services) side of supplier diversity, Kate has 20 years of experience and relationships with supplier diversity advocacy organizations. Kate has managed supplier diversity programs for Itron, BP America, MillerCoors, Southeastern Grocers, and Nestlé, in addition to previous roles with supplier diversity advocacy organizations.
The long-term goal of the initiative is more than building and diversifying GEA’s supplier base. Over the next decade, the program, and others like it, will establish the Greater Louisville region as a place where minority and women-owned suppliers to the manufacturing and logistics sector can thrive. In addition to attracting and growing new minority and women-owned businesses, the partnership also focuses on facilitating connections through events and mentorship and providing support to help businesses scale up to meet the contracting needs of large corporations, like GEA.
“This partnership has given HJI the opportunity to bid on several projects we may have never known or heard about,” said Rick Zamora, vice president of new business development of HJI Supply Chain Solutions. “From the time we were first connected to GEA through GLI, they have worked closely with our team to explain their process and pricing requirements, allowing us to scale our proposals and win several projects. This kind of program is critical to advancing economic equity in our community and I hope more diverse suppliers will benefit.”
“Cimtech Inc and subsidiary Action Material Handling have worked with GEA for several years. However, when we got involved with this partnership with GLI, our work with them grew 200% year over year, adding additional value to our already existing work,” said Jesika Young, president and CEO of Cimtech Inc. “GLI understands the value of true partnerships and they continue to serve as a conduit for Cimtech to grow our relationship with GEA.”