The SUNY Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (ODEI) presented SUNY New Paltz with awards for Excellence in MWBE Participation during the 2015 Long Island Economic Development Conference.
The awards were bestowed upon to the Purchasing Department and the Department of Facilities Management and recognize the College’s efforts in recent years to expand partnerships and purchasing contracts with New York State-certified minority-owned business enterprises (MBEs) and women-owned business enterprises (WBEs). New Paltz had an MWBE participation rate of just under 55% in State fiscal year 2014-15, up from about 30% the prior year and good for more than $4,600,000 of business conducted with certified MWBEs.
“Everyone in the Purchasing Department contributed to this result,” said Director of Procurement David Farbaniec. “Purchasing staff spend significant time identifying and getting quotes from qualified vendors who are good matches for specific needs, and ensuring the prices we pay are competitive. Departments from all corners of the campus have also helped make this happen, through their willingness to consider new vendors and, in some cases, change who they work with. This award really is for the entire campus.”
The push to increase MWBE participation in official purchasing has been a point of emphasis across New York State since the publication of a 2010 Empire State Development disparity study, which found “strong evidence of large, adverse, and frequently statistically significant disparities between minority and female participation in business enterprise activity in New York State’s relevant market area and the actual current availability of those businesses.”
The State University of New York responded by implementing a policy of steadily raising its goals for college and university purchasing from MBEs and WBEs from 6% in 2010 to just under 30% this year, and also by helping its constituent colleges and universities incorporate best practices in finding and contracting with MWBEs in a variety of industries.
The Purchasing Department at New Paltz has teamed with units across campus in search of opportunities to work with MWBEs in areas of significant expenditure, including Information Technology, Instructional Media Services, Telecommunications and Facilities Management, as well as on major one-time purchases like those related to construction projects and furnishing new buildings.
“Working with individual departments, we’ve been able to forge or solidify key vendor relationships in certain areas,” Farbaniec said. “This offers a number of benefits: it helps us get the best deal through the use of state-negotiated and SUNY negotiated contracts, establishes a standing set of expectations with vendors and helps to streamline the purchasing process.”
The award was co-accepted on behalf of the College by Farbaniec and Elissa Greene, contract administrator for Facilities Management, who has played an instrumental role in achieving substantial MWBE participation on numerous annual bids for campus construction projects.
More information about SUNY’s MWBE Program is available online.