By James L. Stroud, Jr.
On Wednesday, March 16, a welcoming reception was held for Duane Ramseur, the new president of the Midwest Minority Supplier Development Council (MMSDC). The organization helps connect minority-owned businesses and corporations throughout the Twin Cities community, the State of Minnesota, Nebraska, and North and South Dakota. It promotes an exchange of information between corporate members and Minority Business Enterprises (MBEs) to ensure proper partnering.
The reception from four to six pm included light refreshments and a lot of networking among members. It was sponsored by fellow MMSDC members General Mills, Supervalu and the University of Minnesota and held at the General Mills headquarters in Golden Valley, Minnesota.
The MMSDC Board of Directors hired Duane Ramseur as their new president in January of 2011. At one time, Ramseur served as vice president/interim president and CEO for the Metropolitan Economic Development Association (MEDA). Ramseur’s presidential duties give him responsibility for MMSDC markets throughout the region.
According to statements previously released by MMSDC Board Chair Craig Taylor, Ramseur brings 25-plus years of experience in business, management and minority business development to the job and is well respected and admired in the community for his contributions and commitment. Taylor believes that Ramseur’s integrity and principles will enhance MMSDC’s credibility with MBE stakeholders and corporations.
Twenty minutes into the event, Taylor stepped up to the microphone and introduced Ramseur, who in turn pledged to the membership his commitment to MMSDC’s mission to increase opportunities and enhance relationships between the MBEs and corporate members. After his introductory remarks, Ramseur worked the room by encouraging members to introduce themselves to other members present from Omaha. Apparently, there are millions of dollars in opportunities in Omaha alone, but not enough MBEs making bids.
MSR first caught up with Board Chair Taylor for a few questions after he introduced the new president.
MSR: Would you say that it seems like everyone here is excited about Duane Ramseur as the new MMSDC president and the direction the organization is going?
CT: Yes. In fact, things seem to be moving already. Ameriprise Financial just came back as a member, and U.S. Bank just joined. It’s working!
MSR briefly spoke with Duane Ramseur about what the future holds for MMSDC with him in charge.
MSR: What do you have planned for your current and would-be members?
DR: We are certainly excited about where we are now. We want to continue to sign up more MBEs and corporate members as MMSDC members and bring more MBEs and corporations together for mentor relationships. However, one of the first things that we plan to do is complete the merger between the Minnesota and Omaha, Nebraska offices that began before I came along. After that, we can continue to help build relationships between members from each region even better.
Currently, Mr. Ramseur is a partner in Ramseur Consulting, a sales and marketing consultancy firm. Prior to that, Ramseur worked with AT&T, where he managed their $12 million Wireless Division with commercial and residential customers and resellers at multiple locations throughout the Midwest.
The MMSDC is one of 39 regional councils of the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC) in New York, NY and is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.
The organization was established here in 1975 as the Minnesota Minority Supplier Development Council. It was created by corporations that saw a need to work with an emerging small business segment of the U.S. population and enhance customer relationships with one of the largest consumer buying groups in the U.S. By providing business opportunities for and to its customer or its customer’s end user, the MMSDC tries to create a win-win relationship for both corporations and certified MBEs.
MMSDC is located at 111 Third Ave. South, Suite 240, Minneapolis, MN 55401. For information about how to join the council and registering as an MBE, call MMSDC at 612-465-8881 or visit them online at www.mmsdc.org.
James L. Stroud, Jr. welcomes reader responses to firstname.lastname@example.org.