Melody Spann-Cooper and other Corporations/Advocates committed to supplier diversity to be honored

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MELODY_SPANN-COOPERMBEIC/ChicagoMSDC to honor leaders with exemplary supplier diversity records


Chicago, IL – Navistar’s president and CEO Daniel Ustian will receive the top award, and six other champions, including Melody Spann- Cooper,  chairman of Midway Broadcasting Corporation, parent company of WVON 1690AM and WRLL 1450AM, will be honored when the Minority Business Enterprise Input Committee of the Chicago Minority Supplier Development Council hosts its Awards Luncheon and Dinner Dance as part of the Chicago Business Opportunity Fair.

Ustian will be saluted at the dinner dance which takes place April 19 at the Hyatt Regency Chicago, 151 E. Wacker Drive, beginning at 6:00 PM and the Awards Luncheon takes place Wednesday April 20 at Navy Pier.

The seven honorees are Daniel Ustian, Navistar, George Mui, Minority Business Development Agency, Martha Holmes, Cardinal Health, and Melody Spann-Cooper –WVON Radio, Jamie Rhee –City of Chicago, Herb Strokes – The Affluence Group and Mark Reed Chicago Park District.


Daniel Ustian, president, chairman and CEO of Navistar, will be honored with the “Sharing Success Award,” the organization’s highest, and most prestigious honor. It is presented to a chief executive officer of a major buying organization in the Chicago area who has led his organization to a successful minority business program and has exhibited exemplary civic leadership overall. Under Ustian’s leadership, Navistar has exhibited a seriousness about supplier diversity that has earned it this honor. This award will be presented at the awards dinner on April 19.


George Mui – Global Business Consultant – Minority Business Development Agency – U.S. Department of Commerce is being saluted with the Impact Award.  This award is being presented to Mui for his dedication and determination in leading the way to unprecedented or significant business opportunities for minority businesses within the City.   This award will be presented at the Luncheon on April 20.

Martha Holmes – Manager – Supplier Diversity – Small Business Liaison Officer – Cardinal Health is being tributed with the Anders C. Rasmussen, Jr. Award. This honor is presented to a program manager who has served as a catalyst for minority business opportunities within their company.

Melody Spann-Cooper – chairman of Midway Broadcasting Corporation, parent company of WVON 1690AM and WRLL 1450AM – is receiving the Minority Business Advocate Award.  This award is presented to a minority firm that has demonstrated extraordinary support for minority business development through purchasing and advocacy.

Jamie Rhee – Chief Procurement Officer – City of Chicago; Herb Stokes, Founder/CEO – The Affluence Group and Mark Reed – Purchasing Manager for the Chicago Park District are being presented Special Recognition Awards for their exemplary efforts in championing minority business development.

Four minority entrepreneurs will receive “Minority Supplier of the Year” awards.  These are presented to quality companies that have reached stellar sales heights. The honorees and their firms are:

Class I – Annual Sales of Less than $1 Million
Victor Powell – President – Powell Photography
Class II – Annual Sales of Between $1 Million and $10 Million
Linda Hou – President – American Chrome Company
Class III- Annual Sales of Between $10 Million and $50 Million
Juventino Cano  – President and CEO – Cano Container Corporation
Class IV – Annual Sales Greater than $50 Million
Mickey M. Hamano – President – Electro-Wire, Inc.

For the first time, the Chicago Minority Supplier Development Council will present four companies with the Circle of Excellence Award for their continuing support of supplier diversity.  The firms are Navistar, Allstate, JCI and PepsiCo.  Kraft will be presented the Emerging Leader Award for its rededication to growing minority-owned firms through their recommitment as underscored by their spends with minority companies.

Five outstanding buyers will also be awarded honors for promoting supplier diversity.  They are:

Robert Bohaty – Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, Ariel Britva -  Kraft Foods, Anthony C. Murph – Accenture, Jonathan Riechert – Sara Lee Corporation, Mariko Samms – HSBC and Juanita “Nita” Smith – CDW.

In making the announcement, Juventino Cano president – Cano Container Corporation and chairman of the Awards luncheon, declared, “The success of minority enterprise hinges on the commitment of dedicated and enlightened individuals such as our honorees. They understand that supplier diversity and forging strategic alliances are in the best interest of their organizations and in the economic well being of our communities.”

Jackie Dyess, chairman – MBEIC/ChicagoMSDC and President – Inter-City Supply Co., Inc., added, “The Minority Business Committee is proud to provide a forum to applaud these individuals for their commitment.  We encourage others in Corporate America and in government to follow their example.”

The salutes are part of a host of activities of the 44thAnniversary Chicago Business Opportunity Fair, which will be held April 18, 19 and 20 in Festival Hall “A” of Navy Pier, 600 E. Grand Avenue in Chicago and at the Hyatt Regency Chicago. The theme for the Fair is Winovation, Investigation, Optimization and Realization: More than just a phrase, it’s a strategy!”

For more information on the awards events or on CBOF 44, contact Cynthia Jordan at 312-755-2555, or via e-mail at:

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