Many years of commitment to diversity have brought four of CDW’s MBEs to the forefront in 2019.
Being inducted into a select group of MBE (minority business enterprise) all-stars for Fortune 500 technology powerhouse CDW doesn’t come fast or easy. It’s a designation founded on trust, partnership and track records built, in some cases, over a decade or more. The four MBEs CDW named as its top diverse suppliers for 2019—Betis Group, CRS Group, PromoShop and V3Gate—represent an exceptional level of customer service and winning solutions as much as the company’s philosophy regarding supplier diversity.
Lincolnshire, Illinois-based CDW delivers multi-brand technology products and services—security, cloud, data center, networking, hardware and software—to a multi-national customer base. Still, it looks to its more than 1,100 MBEs for creative high-quality solutions that can help it better compete for business and meet customer needs.
But, as Kristin Malek, CDW senior manager of supplier diversity, points out, “Our supplier diversity program is not about chasing minority spend. We’re chasing solutions that create more equality in the supply chain. It’s why we focus on our economic footprint.”
In 2018, CDW bought over $2 billion in goods and services from diverse small businesses, up from the $395 million it spent in 2007 when it launched its supplier diversity program. More important to Malek are the estimated 10,400 diverse and small business jobs, economic growth and win-win partnerships the program has generated.
“Betis, as one example, has evolved with us and we’ve helped it expand into higher education, health care and not-for-profit. V3Gate brings unique experience working with the federal government, which demands a highly secure supply chain,” said Malek. “Talent at CDW is our greatest asset in serving our customers, and CRS has always delivered talent solutions in every segment and every department year over year. PromoShop has become our key partner for delivering our promotional messages in key markets.”
Betis Group provides customized information technology products and services, including systems and software engineering, enterprise solutions, technology deployments, staff augmentation, infrastructure installation and upgrades, and hardware and software. The McLean, Virginia.-based company has worked with CDW since 2001.
“Our partnership began with helping CDW meet the needs of its federal government customers,” said Hernan Cortes, Betis Group chief executive officer. “And it’s continued to grow because of the value we’ve added for CDW customers in terms of the vast resources and expertise we offer and as a trusted MBE that can meet their supplier diversify requirements.” He added, “CDW’s supplier diversity program has been a win-win for CDW, MBEs and their customers. For Betis, it’s allowed us to grow sales by 74 percent over the past two years, exposed us to new market opportunities and enabled us to develop strategic business relationships with vendors and original equipment manufacturers.”
Itasca, Illinois-based CRS Group provides staffing solutions to Fortune 500 companies. It specializes in contingent, contract-to-hire and direct hire staffing in the areas of IT; e-commerce; data, analytics, and business intelligence; finance and accounting; marketing and sales; and legal and human resources. The company, which has worked with CDW since 2007, was named CDW’s top diverse supplier in 2017 and 2018.
“CDW has been very supportive of us, especially in terms of the opportunities we’ve been presented,” said Michael Gaines, president and chief executive officer. “A few years ago, for example, CDW allowed us to service a new area of business within CDW in which we hadn’t been involved. That kind of relationship has been invaluable in growing our firm.” It’s a relationship that has increased our CDW account revenues nearly 290 percent during the past four years.
Kerry Rutkin worked with CDW in a variety of supplier capacities long before he joined PromoShop as major accounts brand manager in 2016. The relationship the Los Angeles-based promotional merchandise and marketing company has with CDW has grown exponentially as it provides CDW-branded business gifts, apparel, premiums and other logo-emblazoned items for a growing number of internal business units. But the relationship has left an indelible mark on Rutkin in a way that goes beyond the bottom line.
“Supplier diversity was a world I always knew existed but was never part of,” said Rutkin, whose personal relationship working with CDW dates to 2003. “I did not understand the need for or the magnitude of the importance of supplier diversify. Now, as one of CDW’s MBE providers, I’ve seen firsthand the deep commitment it has to minority-owned businesses like ours and the difference it’s meant to our success. The investment they’ve made in helping us at PromoShop grow personally and professionally has been a revelatory experience and a pivot point in my life.”
Colorado Springs, Colorado-based V3Gate focuses on data management, identity management, virtualization and audio-visual solutions that integrate proven technologies as well as emerging innovations. Its major clients include several federal departments, including Energy, Health and Human Services, Homeland Security, Justice and Veterans Affairs. V3Gate has worked with CDW since 2010.
“As a Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business and MBE, our core business is selling IT solutions to the federal government,” said Tad Rzonca, V3Gate president and owner, “and that’s where CDW has been more than a customer to us. They’ve been a mentor. They’ve guided us through the challenges of selling to federal agencies and CDW’s support has been instrumental to our growth.” Listed among the Inc. 5000 for the last four years, V3Gate recorded revenue of more than $200 million in 2018, with sales increasing by more than 580 percent since 2016.
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