Reginald Williams - 2022 Global Supply Chain Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Hall of Fame

Q: Can you tell us a little about yourself?

A: If you’re involved in the field of supply-chain management or “supplier diversity” — a term I coined in 1985 — you may be familiar with me. As a subject-matter expert for more than four decades, my firm — Procurement Resources Inc. — serves as consultant of record to many of the world’s leading corporations and government agencies.

Based in Atlanta, Georgia, PRI specializes exclusively on building the infrastructure to assist corporations to expand diverse strategic partnerships with minority-, women- and veteran-owned enterprises.

I was also a founding member of the National Minority Purchasing Council, later renamed the National Minority Supplier Development Council [Inc.].

I appear on national [Public Broadcasting Service] stations and in many international trade journals, where I regularly publish a column on supplier diversity.  My book “2nd Tier Minority Purchasing: Effective Strategies in Supplier Diversity” was first published in 1985, and it is the most widely read text on the subject.

Q:  When and why did you become a supplier-diversity and minority-business-development champion? 

A: In the early ‘70s, I began my career as a purchasing agent and later rose to the rank of chief procurement officer at Westinghouse [Electric Corp.,] Aerospace [Division]. In that role, I spent a great deal of time counseling and advising other companies and corporate leaders on minority purchasing, while contributing to the development of this mission [of supplier diversity and minority business development] across all industries. 

Following this [time at Westinghouse], I became a founding member of the Minority Business Development Group at Institute for Supply Management where I wrote and published the nation’s first textbook on supplier diversity — “A Buyers Guide to Doing Business with Minority Vendors.”

I launched a series of national conferences in the 1980s to expand the supplier-diversity stakeholder base. The results are now self-evident; Procurement Resources [Inc.] serves as a consulting adviser to more than half of the Fortune 500 and 22 of the 31 [Billion Dollar Roundtable Inc.] corporate members. 

Our services include strategic sourcing, supplier-diversity infrastructure, supplier-diversity training and supplier-diversity data analysis. We are considered preeminent in this discipline, collaborating with companies such as Delta Air Lines, 3M, Entergy, IBM, [National Minority Supplier Development Council] and Coca-Cola.

Q: What do you see as the greatest challenges and opportunities for minority business enterprises? 

A: Our greatest challenge is the continuing marginalized approach to Black business and people of color as full participants in stakeholder capitalism as the foundation for free enterprise.

Q: What must MBEs do to participate in emerging technologies like  AI [artificial intelligence], IoT [Internet of Things], metaverse and the globalization of supply-chain delivery? 

A: Create the scale … expertise and value that compels customer-centered stakeholders to advocate in support of your company’s growth. 

Hold yourself accountable by asking this important question: How does this product or service generate customer value? 

Q: What would you like your legacy to be as a champion of supplier diversity? 

A: My legacy has already shaped and defined this mission. When I coined the term “supplier diversity” in 1985, it became clear that as the tent grows larger, opportunities for socioeconomic success expand with it. 

To learn more about Procurement Resources Inc., visit


Reginald Williams supply-chain management supplier diversity Procurement Resources Inc. National Minority Supplier Development Council Inc. National Minority Purchasing Council 2nd Tier Minority Purchasing Minority Business Development Group at Institute for Supply Management

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