Buyer Of The Year

October 17, 2005
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GRAND RAPIDS — Mansfield Matthewson wants to make sure the vendors used by Grand Rapids Community College reflect the student body and the community.

For every purchase more than $5,000, the college requires that three quotes are considered — and at least one of those three must be from a minority- or woman-owned business.

Because of his work as GRCC’s director of purchasing, the Grand Rapids resident has been named Buyer of the Year as part of the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce’s Minority Business Awards.

“I think it’s a wonderful honor; I’m very humbled by it,” Matthewson said. “I’m very passionate about what I do here at the college.”

Having a diverse pool of businesses helps the college get the best possible goods and services, Matthewson said.

“Any time you exclude any group, you’re limiting competition,” he said. “(Diversity) enhances the ideas brought forward by suppliers.”

Matthewson said a lot of the department’s success is due to the Supplier Diversity Team, comprised of staff members from high volume departments in the college who get together at least quarterly to discuss including minority and women businesses in the college’s suppliers.

“They are the people that drive the program at the department level,” he said. “They have been critical to the success of our program.”

Bob Partridge, GRCC executive vice president for business and financial services, said the success of the program also can be attributed to Matthewson.

“He’s been a tremendous advocate, both internally and externally, for the college around our supplier diversity issues,” Partridge said. “He’s really been a leader in this whole effort since becoming a staff member here at the college.”

Partridge said there have been changes in the supplier program since Matthewson started.

“Our statistics have been slowly increasing and improving over the last few years,” he said.

Supplier diversity is an important aspect of the college, Partridge said.

“I think a part of our mission here at the college is to advance diversity, not only with our student population and our employee population, but who we do business with,” he said.

Matthewson, who is married with a 10-year-old son, said he plays piano for his church and enjoys spending time with his son. He is a lifetime certified purchasing manager with the National Association of Purchasing Management, an active member of the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce Minority Business Council, Regional Alliance, West Michigan Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the Michigan Minority Business Development Council Roundtable.    

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