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History of Governor's Office of Diversity Business Enterprise

Divesity Business Marketplace photo

Governor Bredesen’s strong commitment to diversity businesses began while he was Mayor of the City of Nashville. He recognized the need to ensure that diversity businesses receive a fair and equal opportunity to participate in city procurements. After discovering that there was very little participation by legitimate diversity businesses on major building projects, Mayor Bredesen sent a clear message to the city’s administration of his desire to increase the number of contracts awarded to diversity business firms on future building projects.

Minority and women business participation in the Tennessee Titans Football Stadium is a result of his persistent encouragement The project achieved 23% minority participation and 8% women.

Governor Bredesen recognizes that the State of Tennessee must do more to ensure that diversity businesses are given a fair and equal opportunity to participate in the State’s procurement of goods and services. The Governor appointed a cabinet level team, led by the Commissioner of General Services, to spearhead plans to create the Governor's Office of Diversity Business Enterprise for State government. The Team is responsible for:

  • Strategic planning to develop initiatives to increase Diversity Business Procurement opportunities
  • Representing and linking the major players in state procurement and business support organizations
  • Reviewing the current contract and procurement processes to remove unnecessary barriers that prevent women, minority and small businesses from fair and equal participation in State contracts.
  • Making recommendations to the Governor for state-wide initiatives to stimulate increased participation by minority, women and small businesses.
  • Developing and recommending legislation to strengthen and expand the initiatives.

The members of the team were:

  • Matt Kisber, Commissioner of Economic and Community Development
  • Paula Davis, Assistant Commissioner, Economic and Community Development
  • Dave Goetz, Commissioner of Finance and Administration
  • Charles Garrett, Assistant Commissioner, Division of Capitol Projects, Finance and Administration,
  • Robert Barlow, Director of Office of Contracts Review, Finance and Administration
  • Mike Fitts, State Architect, Finance and Administration
  • Gerald F. Nicely, Commissioner of Transportation
  • Cammie Woodle, Executive Director, Department of Transportation
  • Gwendolyn Sims Davis, Commissioner of General Services
  • Michael F. Perry, Assistant Commissioner of General Services
  • Shelia Simpson, Program Director Governor’s Office Diversity Business Enterprise
  • Richard Van Norman, Diversity Business Liaison, Governor’s Office of Diversity Business Enterprise
  • Tam Gordon, Special Assistant to the Governor for Projects