UT renews commitment to historically underutilized businesses in vendor-focused advocacy event
In the first in-person event hosted by Procurement and Payment Services since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Senior Vice President Darrell Bazzell and Assistant Vice President of Procurement and Payment Services Roy Anasagasti renewed the university’s commitment to providing contract opportunities to the state’s historically underutilized businesses (HUBs).
Over 300 vendors and community members registered for the event held at the UT Austin Thompson Conference Center on July 28. In addition to support from UT Austin leadership the event also featured addresses from event hosts Senator Royce West and Senator Sarah Eckhardt along with panel discussions with representatives from the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Texas Facilities Commission, the Statewide HUB Program and several advocacy groups.
In his opening remarks, Darrell Bazzell renewed the university’s commitment to ensuring historically underutilized businesses have access to the procurement and contract opportunities available at UT Austin.
“Advancing diversity, inclusion, and equity are important pillars of our university,” said Bazzell. “You will see these concepts embedded in our new 10-year strategic plan and our new equity, diversity, and inclusion plan. The challenge in this space is that while we want to provide more impact, we are also in the process of changing and improving our procurement practices. We want to make sure that as we do a better job of leveraging our spend, we do it in a way that provides better participation for HUB vendors in our procurement practices.”
In addition to addresses and panel discussions, the day-long event also provided opportunities for attendees to participate in two networking roundtable sessions. The morning session was dedicated to goods and services providers while the afternoon session paired HUB contractors and sub-consultants with a number of prime contracting and architectural and engineering firms.
AVP Roy Anasagasti provided the audience with an overview of the plans in place to improve procurement processes and practices at the university as part of the university’s 10-year strategic plan, with the goal of renewing and reinvigorating the procurement pipeline between HUB vendors and university partners procuring goods and services.
“By providing our potential HUB vendors the chance to meet us here on our campus, we were able to establish and reestablish valuable relationships between our university partners and our community’s HUB vendors,” said Anasagasti. “This event was a great example of teamwork, service, and stewardship because we are indeed stewards of our HUB community and this event was an excellent opportunity for PPS to demonstrate that stewardship core value.”
Tiffany Dockery Gibson, director of the HUB/SB (Small Business) program for PPS, was instrumental in organizing the event in service to the HUB/SB program’s mission to develop and mentor HUB suppliers, to increase performance, expand competition, drive innovation, and increase diverse sourcing.
“We want to make sure that minority-owned and women-owned businesses are given a seat at the table in terms of access to serve the diverse needs of our university,” said Dockery-Gibson. “This has always been an important part of our procurement efforts at UT, but bringing the community together for this discussion at our university was an important milestone given the slowdowns and roadblocks previously presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.”