Verizon Honored for Outstanding Support of Minority Businesses

TAMPA, Fla. - Verizon Communications' efforts to support minority enterprises and to do business with them has earned the company recognition from The Business Journal. The weekly business publication recently named Verizon one of three winners of its Minority Business Advocate of the Year Award.

The company's long-standing commitment to providing purchasing opportunities for minority suppliers and establishing partnerships that encourage minority enterprise played a key role in the choice.

"There is a myth that minority companies cannot deliver products and services equal to majority companies," said John Blanchard, president - southeast region, Verizon. "We have proven through the years that this is not true and we are honored that our commitment to helping minority enterprise progress has been recognized through this award."

A three-person panel evaluated companies' efforts to use minority contractors, whether they had expanded the volume of purchases from minority suppliers and whether their culture promoted minority partnerships.

Verizon easily met these challenges, according to Forrest Gossett, publisher, The Business Journal. "It was a 'no-brainer' to choose Verizon for this award because the company has done it," said Gossett. "Clearly, it has chosen to let minority vendors compete with majority vendors, with very strong results."

As a charter member of the Billion Dollar Roundtable, a project of Minority Business News USA and Women's Enterprise Magazine, Verizon is one of only 10 companies nationwide that spend as much as $1 billion with minority suppliers. Its diversity program has prompted awards and recognition from Working Woman, Hispanic and Latina Style magazines. The National Minority Supplier Development Council of Florida named Verizon "Corporation of the Year" three times in the past four years and the Florida Minority Business Office selected Verizon as having a Best Practice Diversity Program.

Verizon has a diverse team scrutinize every bid contract to see that minorities are included in the process. If the task is considered too large for a supplier's capabilities, the contract can be broken into smaller parts to give a minority company a more manageable portion. Usually a minority company needs three years experience to be considered for a Verizon contract, but a company's size is not a liability, as Verizon will provide mentoring to small businesses to help them land contracts.

"Diversity is on everyone's mind at Verizon," said Blanchard. "It is how we conduct our business life on a daily basis."

The Business Journal established the award program as a way to demonstrate the vitality of minority-owned businesses to the Tampa Bay region economy and to highlight the practices of those companies that have recognized this fact. The awards panel for this year included Gloria Anthony, vice president - workforce & community development, Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce; Irene Hurst, director - Small Business Development Center, University of South Florida; and Joe McCann, dean, John Sykes College of Business, University of Tampa.

Verizon Communications

Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) is one of the world's leading providers of communications services. Verizon companies are the largest providers of wireline and wireless communications in the United States, with 132.1 million access line equivalents and 29.4 million wireless customers. Verizon is also the largest directory publisher in the world. With more than $67 billion in annual revenues and approximately 247,000 employees, Verizon's global presence extends to more than 40 countries in the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Pacific. For more information on Verizon, visit www.verizon.com.