Dozens of companies took part in what Metropolitan Community College organizers hope is an event that continues to grow as it connects military veterans to business resources.
The Outreach Business Forum “For Those Who Have Served” was hosted Nov. 14 at the MCC-Penn Valley Education Center. It’s the second year for the program.
Patrice Manuel, CEO of P/Strada, a project management company, is a 20-year Army veteran. She was thrilled to be back another year for the forum. “It gives veterans an opportunity to get in front of some vendors who they probably couldn’t get in front of as quickly, as they do all in this one setting,” Manuel said.
Chris Kelly, MCC’s supplier diversity program coordinator, puts the forum together with the help of some of Kansas City’s premier businesses and organizations, including Black & Veatch, Burns & McDonnell, DST, KCP&L, Sprint, Kiewit, the U.S. Small Business Administration and the Veterans Business Resource Center in St. Louis.
Kelly says the underlying theme of the forum is “to help military veterans who own businesses connect with governmental entities and large corporations in need of goods or services.”
Veterans could attend workshops on marketing a company, certification, procurement technical assistance services and the 10 C’s of lending. They also had the chance to network with representatives of municipalities, state and federal governmental entities, and other regional institutions.
As a special tribute this year, the College also hosted about 120 people, including student and employee veterans, for a luncheon event. MCC literacy instructor and well-known jazz singer Millie Edwards Nottingham sang a stirring national anthem, following a color guard processional.
Michele Carter, deputy chancellor for finance and administration at Central Texas College, gave the keynote address. Carter comes from a military family. Her father and husband both served, and her daughter is currently in the Air Force.
While marking the importance of Veterans Day, Carter said honoring service is bigger that that. “For those of us who have close ties to the military, we know it is 365 days of reflection, 365 days of recalling that service,” Carter said.
Carter credits her success in academia to the mentorship of a veteran, who encouraged her early on to pursue a degree. Carter hopes ultimately that “as knowledge, skills and experiences are obtained, that information is shared with others, causing a ripple effect in our society.”
MCC is proud to recognize its veteran students, faculty and staff by honoring them for their service. “Today is just a small token of appreciation to thank the many men and women who have served,” said Robert Page, MCC’s executive director of inclusion and engagement.
To learn more about this program and other minority supplier diversity programs at MCC, click here.
Watch MCC Chancellor Kimberly Beatty’s Veteran’s Day message:
To watch KCTV5 coverage of the forum, click here.
For the full Facebook album, click here.