As National Minority Supplier Development Council Inc. minority business enterprise input committee chair , Terri Quinton not only talks the talk for supplier diversity advocacy, but the CEO of Alliance of Diversity Printers LLC also walks the walk as a successful entrepreneur whose company recently received Energy Future Holdings’ Gold Star Supplier Diversity Award.
Although Quinton has won several awards as an individual and with other companies, the Gold Star Award is extremely special because she said, “It’s the first honor ADP -LLC has won, and it comes from one of our favorite clients.” In this MBNUSA Q&A, Quinton reveals her excitement at winning the Gold Star Award while discussing several topics, from the path ADP-LLC took to position itself for this honor to providing advice for future EFH suppliers.
MBN: What was your reaction to winning the Gold Star Supplier Diversity Award?
Terri Quinton: We were surprised, ecstatic and delighted to be chosen for a Gold Star Award. I have attended the event as a guest and am always amazed at the level of commitment to diversity and excellence in performance by the winning suppliers and internal EFH personnel. To be considered “one of them” is a true honor for ADP-LLC. Since so few of these awards are handed out at the ceremonies each year, it was truly magnificent to be considered for the Gold Star Award. We work with Alicia Freeman, Luminant supply chain, and her team at Comanche Peak, and the relationship has been awesome.
MBN: What path did you take to be in a position to receive this honor, and what does the Gold Star Award say about your company’s commitment to providing the best service possible to EFH?
TQ: ADP-LLC participated in two different RFPs with EFH. We made the short list, but did not win. However, we continued to talk with and build relationships with people at EFH. We attended a supplier diversity event where my business partner, Patricia Rodriguez Christian, had a chance to meet and talk with Freeman who invited us out to the plant to make a presentation to her team and discuss their needs. From that meeting, both companies decided to try some initial requests and see how it went. From that initial experience of “getting in where you fit in,” we have been able to do additional work for Freeman and her team. In several instances, we have been able to improve the products they were receiving by listening to improvements needed in their former products and offering alternatives that could meet their budget and solve their needs.
MBN: How long has ADP-LLC been a supplier for EFH and what has the experience been like?
TQ: We are a fairly recent supplier to EFH — Comanche Peak. The working relationship has been great for both teams. We feel we are providing them some solutions and alternatives that meet their needs and that of the workers that use the materials. Alicia Freeman and her team are easy to work with, upfront about the things they need and timeframes for delivery and prompt in payment — always a good thing from a client! What I like most about working with them is they are willing to think outside the box and ask us if we can provide something for them. In one instance, Freeman came to us to see if we could reproduce a particular binder being used by her maintenance people. One of the Comanche Peak people had duct-taped together a binder and clipboard solution to meet his needs. Freeman asked us could we actually produce the binder — minus the duct tape. After some research on our part and design work back and forth between the companies, we are producing a prototype. Once approved, we will produce binders to meet the needs of the maintenance staff. This joint solution between the companies may be something that can be used by other companies and other nuclear plants. Working together on this particular project has provided an innovative solution and been a fun experience.
MBN: What services do you provide EFH?
TQ: We provide printing primarily related to posters, booklets, binders and tags. We often say we are more than “paper on ink,” and Comanche Peak has allowed us to demonstrate that to them and their employees.
MBN: Looking ahead, how does winning this award impact your company’s goals/objectives and/or new initiatives?
TQ: This is our first company award. While both Patricia and I have won awards in the past — both individually and with other companies — this is the first award ADP-LLC has won. And because it comes from one of our favorite clients, it is extra special. Our company plans to target the energy industry — especially nuclear energy — for future business development. This award helps us in our discussions, connections and relationships in growing our business in that direction.
MBN: You have built quite a successful business. Did you ever think it would grow to become this successful, as evidenced by the Gold Star Supplier Diversity Awar d and other honors you have received over the years?
TQ: I believe every entrepreneur believes their business will eventually be successful. If they didn’t believe it, they wouldn’t continue to be in business. Success to us is defined in the relationships we build, the bottom-line growth of our company and the people in our company who make all things happen. When all that is in sync, it is truly wonderful — as evidenced by the EFH Gold Star Award.
MBN: What advice can you give other diverse EFH suppliers on how to build a successful relationship?
TQ: I think the major thing to keep in mind is to be patient. Building relationships takes time and effort. You must believe in yourself and your company. Make sure you really have a solution for the potential client, and you are not just asking for business. Finally, don’t give up!