FCA US continued its industry-leading commitment to supplier diversity by hosting its 20th annual MatchMaker event at its Auburn Hills headquarters last week.
More than 250 minority-, women-, veteran- and LGBT-owned businesses attended the two-day event where they took advantage of free business seminars and various networking engagements.
“MatchMaker has been a flagship component for our award-winning supplier diversity program for 20 years,” said Mark Stewart, Chief Operating Officer, FCA – North America. “It is a powerfully effective program based on the very simple idea that an automaker can extend the economic impact of its business and create a supply base that mirrors our diverse customer base.”
Since 1983, the Company has purchased nearly $80 billion from minority-, women- and veteran-owned suppliers. This number is likely to grow even larger following this year’s event that was attended by more than 3,000 people.
Among those in attendance this year were business leaders from the neighborhoods surrounding FCA’s new assembly plant on Mack Avenue. The facility on the east side of Detroit is the first new assembly plant to be built in the city in 30 years.
One of those local business leaders was Rhonda Rowe, who once worked at the Mack Avenue Engine Complex, and is now the owner and managing member of Rowe Trucking LLC.
For the past 12 years, she has led the heavy construction material hauling company and, this past winter, was once again working at the engine plant site.
But instead of working inside the plant, trucks from her company helped haul away the berms along St. Jean Street. The berm removal was part of the larger project to build a new assembly plant at the former Mack Avenue Engine Complex.
The intrepid entrepreneur appreciated the opportunity to take part in the free business seminars and access to a wide variety of businesses.
“It has been very informative. The classes were very good, the matchmaking and networking have been very good,” said Rowe, as she scanned the tables staffed with a variety of business owners with whom she was hoping to connect with and possibly do business with.
“I am looking forward to getting more business. I have grown some, but I want to continue to grow,” Rowe added.