This guest post is from Rev. Dr. Wendell Anthony, Pastor, Fellowship Chapel, President, Detroit Branch NAACP
Horace Mann, great educator and writer once said, “let us not be content to wait and see, but give us the determination to make the right things happen.”
The Faith-Based Supplier Immersion Day, sponsored by DTE, held for a second-time April 13 at Fellowship Chapel, is indeed making the right things happen. Too often, some corporations and businesses would rather wait than act and would rather act like they’ve been working. DTE continues to serve as a model for bringing small businesses and its corporate community together in order to learn the ins and outs of doing business with DTE. This is more than an attempt to bring people together for a discussion. This is an honest effort whose purpose is to move minority and women businesses in the city of Detroit towards contracting opportunities with DTE.
Again, top executives from the Procurement Department, led by Anthony Tomczak, assisted by Mark Jones and Bertram Marks, all came together to impart knowledge, information, and direction to make business a reality. Nancy Moody, Vice President Public Affairs, has inspired this process with both her energy and commitment to make business results the ultimate destination and not simply having a nice conversation.
In 2016, DTE spent $410 million dollars statewide with certified diversity suppliers. However, we remain committed to move this to another tier or level in terms of contracts allocated in the city of Detroit. I like the spirit of DTE in which the leadership reflects that they are not satisfied until they have reached a significant number of economic opportunities through awarding contracts here in the city of Detroit. The challenge before us is to determine a specific targeted amount that is achievable right here in the city.
Dr. Benjamin E. Mays, another great educator said, “the failure in life is not to aim high and miss. It is to aim low and hit.” In other words, our target must be high enough for us to stretch and not low enough for us to succeed. I remain confident that DTE can serve as a model for other corporations and businesses who seek to expand their procurement diversity programs, and to bring new businesses to the table.
One of the main obstacles that still remains for even small businesses receiving opportunities with DTE is their need for financing. If DTE is bold enough and has enough vision to provide the opportunities for businesses to succeed, then perhaps even financial institutions will develop enough foresight for us all to proceed in expanding economic opportunities in our community.
Finally, let no one view this as an ending to our efforts, but let everyone see it as the motivation for our achievements. This is good business. Business has always been and will always be a two-way street. The more businesses that are developed in this community, the more this community will be developed. The more tax base, the better our schools. Certainly, even greater contributions will emerge from its citizens. If any company in this region can lift up downtown, midtown, and the neighborhoods in a manner never seen, it is DTE Energy. Continue to light the way and energize a city that will not be bitter, but will always be better as a result of your power.