The Georgia Minority Supplier Development Council, the state of Georgia’s leading advocacy organization for small business development and supplier diversity, celebrated its 31th annual Spirit of Alliance Awards gala on recently at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis.

“We applaud the efforts of all of our 2013 honorees,” said GMSDC President and CEO Stacey Key. “The Spirit of Alliance Awards is our way of saying ‘thank you’ for the hard work and dedication of everybody in the supplier diversity community. We take pride in shining a spotlight on those who are making a difference all across the great state of Georgia.”

Atlanta entrepreneur and community advocate Thomas W. Dortch, Jr. was chosen for the Blue Legend Award, given to a trailblazer who has overcome significant challenges yet demonstrated a lifelong commitment to supplier diversity. He joins a distinguished group of past Blue Legend winners including Mayor Maynard Jackson, Senator Sam Nunn, Congressman John Lewis and Herman J. Russell.

Created to recognize excellence in supplier diversity and minority small business development, the event showcases the best of the best in Georgia’s business community, honoring high achievement in a segment with more than $30 billion dollars in revenues each year.

The GMSDC honors the corporations, minority business enterprises (MBEs) and governmental procurement liaisons that are setting the standard in creating opportunity for minority-owned business entities and exceeding expectations in their business performance.

The theme for the 2013 gala was “Moving Forward…Together,” as the GMSDC continues to create jobs and stimulate economic growth in Georgia through a comprehensive array of collaborative programs and initiatives.

Wells Fargo & Company received the evening’s highest honor – 2013 Corporation of the Year – symbolic of the corporate partner whose supplier diversity commitment is unmatched in the category. The award considers the company’s small business development programs, its level of engagement with diverse vendors, and its performance against annual targets for diverse spending.

The Corporation of the Year exemplifies most fully what the GMSDC is all about – to certify, develop and connect MBE firms to business opportunities. Other honorees from the corporate sector included The Coca-Cola Company (The Crystal Award and Executive of the Year Ron Lewis) and UPS (Advocate of the Year Kathy Homeyer).

The annual gala also serves as a showcase for the accomplishments of the more than 700 MBE firms that are certified members of the GMSDC. For more information on all honorees, visit

(Photo: Business icon Thomas W. Dortch, Jr. accepts the 2013 Blue Legend Award at the Georgia Minority Supplier Development Council’s 31st Annual Spirit of Alliance Awards. He is flanked by Michael Russell (from left), CEO of H.J. Russell and Company and the son of last year’s Blue Legend Herman Russell; Gregory Baranco, president of Mercedes-Benz of Buckhead and 2010 Blue Legend; GMSDC President & CEO Stacey Key and Board Chairman Mr. Ken Huff.)

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