The New York Power Authority (NYPA) and the New York State Canal Corporation recently reached the milestone of awarding $1 billion in contracts to Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises (MWBEs) and Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Businesses (SDVOBs) since the inception of its supplier diversity program in 1983. Building upon this success, NYPA is now expanding its commitment to supplier diversity.
Starting with its December 2020 investment of $25 million over the next five years in diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives, NYPA also pledged to increase its contract spending with diverse businesses over the next five years from $80 million annually to $160 million as part of its VISION2030 strategic plan.
Eric Alemany, NYPA Senior Director of Supplier Relationship Management, says the Power Authority is using new program initiatives, policy updates, operational changes and awareness campaigns and special events to create a more inclusive supplier program.
“We’re shifting the paradigm,” Alemany says. “NYPA’s financial commitment shows that supplier diversity is very important to its core and now we are launching programs that will drive economic development in the state through supplier diversity.”
NYPA is focusing on providing diverse entrepreneurs with the knowledge, skills training and resources to prepare and grow their businesses. The Authority has begun updating its policies and procedures to ensure equitable access to opportunities and improve accountability for meeting supplier diversity goals.
Programs for Success
Alyson Danielewicz, NYPA Supplier Diversity Program Manager, says the Authority has created opportunities for MWBEs and other diverse suppliers and small businesses that were not available in the past.
“We’ve formalized our Mentor Protégé Program which motivates and encourages Tier 1 firms to provide mutually beneficial mentorship and development services to diverse businesses,” said Danielewicz. “The Program is aimed to create opportunities for MWBEs to bid as prime contractors on large projects.”
In 2022, Danielewicz says NYPA will launch its Surety Bonding program to help diverse firms secure bonding and access capital to increase business capacity. NYPA is also working on a SkillUp Program that will connect recent high school and college grads and people who recently entered the workforce with a mentor from a diverse firm as a way of creating a pipeline for employment in the energy field. A supplier diversity marketing plan is also a priority to help locate diverse businesses in the state that can provide energy and utility related goods and services.
NYPA has successfully met its MWBE goals each year. Since 2019 the Authority has increased outreach events and added educational components. The NYPA website was recently updated to include supplier training webinars for MWBEs, SDVOBs and small diverse business. The effort to grow supplier diversity is ongoing.
“We’re changing our approach to supplier diversity through Education, Preparation and Participation. Educating our existing and new suppliers on who NYPA is and what we are up to, informing them about the available NYPA programs and tools that can help their businesses prepare, and sharing how to participate in current and future opportunities,” says Alemany. “Our core business is generating clean energy. Having diverse firms that can work with us to repair, upgrade and replace large electrical infrastructure is important to us and will enable us to lead the clean energy economy of the future in New York State.”