DFW MSDC marks 50 years of championing minority businesses

By Tonya McMurray

Photos by Reginald Loftin


Successful organizations reinvent themselves over time, constantly evolving as circumstances change. And that has been one of the keys to the long-term success of the Dallas Fort Worth Minority Supplier Development Council (DFW MSDC), which marks its 50th anniversary this year.

“Basically, our mission has remained the same but, like any business, we have to reinvent ourselves every four to five years,” said Margo J. Posey, president and CEO of DFW MSDC. “We are innovative and progressive because you can’t stay the same. Change is inevitable, and we are always looking at what is the next thing we need to be concerned about and how we can keep up with the times.”

DFW MSDC started in 1973 as the Dallas Regional Minority Purchasing Council, established by nine local CEOs responding to social unrest in Dallas. In forming the purchasing council, the CEOs committed to actively buy goods and services from minority-owned business enterprises (MBEs).

“They believed that if Black and brown businesses were successful, it would trickle down into the communities in which they lived and be good for everyone, and there would be less strife,” Posey said.

Within two years of its establishment, the council had identified and helped award nearly $1 million in contracts to minority-owned businesses.

The National Minority Supplier Development Council Inc. (NMSDC) forced the merger of the Dallas Regional Minority Purchasing Council and the Fort Worth Regional Minority Purchasing Council in 1986 due to the proximity of the two councils which had both joined NMSDC in the early 1980s.

Posey joined DFW MSDC as president in 1992, bringing both corporate and MBE experience to strengthen the organization’s fundraising and professional management expertise. Under her leadership, the Council has grown to include more than 1,200 certified MBEs and 70 local buying entities. The organization helps generate $7.5 billion in annual MBE revenue.

The Council has also expanded from serving Black and Hispanic businesses to include Asian and Native American businesses. It was recognized as the NMSDC Council of the Year in 2011 and 2015.

“I have so many blessings from this position,” Posey said. “I have seen the passion, diligence and commitment so many people have for the effort of minority business inclusion. I have a staff that is dedicated and committed and that rises to every occasion. Our MBEs and buying entities are phenomenal! And they’ve all helped the Council grow.”


Launching a women’s council

In the early 1990s, the DFW MSDC board recognized the need to meet the unique challenges of women-owned businesses. Because its charter was focused on MBEs, board members felt a separate organization was needed, and one of Posey’s first tasks upon joining the organization was to help create an organization to address the needs of women-owned enterprises.

1993, DFW MSDC helped create the North Texas Women’s Business Council, now known as the Women’s Business Council – Southwest (WBCS). DFW MSDC raised the initial funding, created the organizational model, provided board support for two years, and hired the WBCS’ first executive director.

Posey said that at the time, not everyone agreed a women’s council was needed, but she and the DFW MSDC board believed women-owned businesses had unique needs, and their interests sometimes differed from male-owned MBEs.

“What we knew — and what has been proven true — is that there was a need for an organization centered around women and that it could be very successful,” she said. “And now you have two very strong organizations — one catering to minority businesses and one catering to women-owned businesses.”


Innovative programming

Helping to launch the WBC is just one of the many initiatives DFW MSDC introduced during its 50-year history.

In the mid-1980s, the Council initiated the Big Red Enterprise Bus Tours, which took corporate buyers on tours to visit minority businesses.

It helped corporations get to know those minority businesses better, see their operations and understand that they were truly legitimate businesses,” Posey said.

In 1988, DFW MSDC was the first advocacy organization in the region to host a trade mission focused on minority business opportunities. Partnering with the Dallas Citizens Council, representatives of DFW MSDC spent four days in London and Birmingham, England, to share ideas about growing minority businesses. Council members met with Prince Charles — now King Charles — and earned national recognition for the effort.

In 1993, the council partnered with the North Texas Commission in developing a mentoring program. The North Texas Commission was responsible for providing corporations that would help mentor minority businesses and the Council was responsible for attracting and recruiting minority businesses for the program.

The program caught the attention of then Vice President Al Gore and his BusinessLINK (Learning, Information, Networking and Collaboration) initiative. The NTC and DFWMSDC mentorship program was one of 26 programs across the country recognized by Gore and his BusinessLINK program as a model of what was needed to boost small business growth and development.


Growing minority business

Throughout its history, the Council’s primary goal has been growing MBE business. In addition to its signature Hard Hat Construction Expo and other business expos and events that connect MBEs with buying entities, DFW MSDC has consistently challenged corporations and institutions to buy more from MBEs.

In 1999, the Council launched a successful initiative designed to grow minority business revenues to $2 billion by 2002; the goal was achieved in June 2001. The Council followed that success in 2007 with the launch of Buy Those That Buy Us™, a program that ties buying habits to minority inclusion goals.

“Now, more than ever, we should be supporting those organizations that support minority-owned businesses,” Posey said. “Minority businesses spend a lot of money, and it makes sense to spend it with organizations that support MBEs.”

The Council’s current program, the One Percent Plus Initiative, was created in response to an economic study by supplier.io that said if organizations continue business in the same way, it will take 333 years to close the economic gap between majority and minority businesses. However, the study showed that if organizations increased minority spending by 1% annually, the economic disparity could be closed within 15 years.

“That would mean $8 trillion to the gross national product,” Posey said. “It would mean 9 million additional jobs. Eliminating the disparity doesn’t just help minority-owned businesses. It helps everyone.”

The One Percent Plus Initiative asks buying entities and MBEs to increase minority spend by 1% or more each year. Three CEOs of DFW MSDC corporate members took that pledge this year: Jim Burke, president and CEO of Vistra Corp.; Sean Donohue, CEO of the Dallas Fort Worth International Airport; and Lori Ryerkerk, chairman, president and CEO of Celanese Corp.

“And we’re not just asking corporations to increase their spend,” Posey said. “We’re asking minority businesses to increase their spend, and as an organization, we’re increasing our spend with minority businesses as well.”

To that end, several MBE owners have also taken the pledge. They are:

• Reena Batra, Software Professionals Inc.

• Greg Cody, GCC Enterprises Inc.

• Yareli Esteban, Strategar LLC

• Don McKneely, Texcorp Communications Inc. dba Minority Business News

• Evelyn Molina, All Janitorial Professional Services Inc.

• Pamela Nelson, Bracane Co.

• Milton Quinn, Alpha & Omega Industries LLC

• Terri Quinton, Q2 Marketing Group LLC

• Ray Marsh, RAM Contracting Inc.

Prepared for challenge

Posey believes the next few years will be challenging for MBEs because of current attacks on affirmative action — which, ultimately, lead to attacks on supply-chain inclusion.

“How we respond and serve our clientele will require true effort on everyone’s part,” she said. “I don’t think we’re in for an easy time, but inclusion is not just the right thing to do — it’s the necessary thing to do.”

Posey said the Council and its members will manage this challenge as they have many others in the past 50 years — with grit, determination and innovation.

“We can’t think of it as a challenge; it’s work to be done,” she said. “I’m proud of the work we’ve done these last 50 years, but as long as there’s still a job to be done, we can do better, and we will stand strong and do that job.”


To learn more about DFW MSDC, visit dfwmsdc.org.

To view or download full article from MBN Texas Volume 4, please click here.


Dallas Fort Worth Minority Supplier Development Council 50th anniversary DFW MSDC Margo J. Posey Dallas Regional Minority Purchasing Council National Minority Supplier Development Council Inc. Black and Hispanic businesses Asian and Native American businesses Minority Business Enterprises North Texas Women’s Business Council

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