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Supplier diversity is key to doing business in the global century

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At The Boeing Co., we know that diversity brings strength, innovation and flexibility to our supply base. Tapping the skills and technologies available within the community of small, minority-, woman- and veteran-owned businesses is vital to maintaining our position as the premier aerospace company in the world. We also recognize that supplier diversity is growing more important to our success in a globally competitive and highly technical marketplace. It gives us a competitive edge in today’s integrated international economy.

Our commitment is not new. We have had an established, formal small business and supplier diversity program in place for more than 50 years. But even before that, Boeing success was built on diversity. In 1916, the year of the company’s founding, one of our first contracts was with Asian-American aeronautical engineer Wang Zhu. His work designing a seaplane for the U.S. Navy laid the groundwork for a generation of new airplanes.

Currently, Boeing does business with more than 8,000 small businesses. In the last three years this represents contract awards of more than $13 billion. Boeing is also an active member of the Billion Dollar Roundtable, an organization that recognizes and brings together major corporations that have achieved spending of at least $1 billion annually with minority- and woman-owned suppliers.

Throughout the years, Boeing has sought and found creative ways to promote opportunities for small businesses. We have formally incorporated support of historically black colleges and universities and minority institutions, minority businesses, women-owned small businesses, HUBZones, veteran and service disabled veteran businesses into our overall supplier diversity program.

We are developing working-together relationships with diverse companies we can help grow into future business associates. And we are linking small, minority-, woman- and veteran-owned firms to companies with complementary strengths to increase their mutual opportunities with Boeing.

Of special interest to Boeing is encouraging innovation and technology development among small and disadvantaged businesses. Boeing sponsors or participates in a number of programs to engage and collaborate with small businesses to help them pioneer valuable, innovative technologies. Two such programs, the Navy’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs, are designed to help small businesses transfer emerging technologies into industry and Department of Defense applications. Boeing has been involved in the SBIR program since the mid-1990s. In the last five years Boeing has provided contract support to almost 60 companies on more than 100 projects.

We also work with our first-tier suppliers to ensure that they, too, develop opportunities for diverse suppliers. Achievement of our small business goals is important enough to us that we closely monitor this as a critical indicator on our business performance scorecards.

Boeing efforts in supplier diversity have been recognized both nationally and regionally. Some of the awards received over the last several years include:

* The Boeing Co. named "Large Business Prime Contractor of the Year" in 2008 by NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center for its efforts to work with small businesses on the Ares I launch vehicle program.

* The Boeing Co. recognized by NASA's Kennedy Space Center as "Large Business Contractor of the Year" in 2008 for providing quality service and support on the Checkout, Assembly and Payload Processing Services (CAPPS) program.

* Recognized as “Top Supporter of Historically Black Colleges,” published in U.S. Black Engineer & Information Technology (USBE&IT) magazine.

* Named 2007 Corporation of the Year by the St. Louis Minority Business Council.

* Recognition as the 2007 private-sector company most supportive of engineering programs at accredited Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

* Department of Defense 2007 Nunn-Perry Award to Boeing and its supplier partners, Pacific Contours and KAP Manufacturing. The prestigious award recognizes outstanding mentor-protégé teams formed under the auspices of the DoD Mentor-Protégé program.

* The Department of Defense 2006 Nunn-Perry Award to Boeing and its supplier partners, Kemco Manufacturing and Precision Machine & Manufacturing.

* The Department of Defense 2005 Nunn-Perry Award to Boeing and its supplier partner, Precision Machine & Manufacturing.

* The Department of Defense 2004 Nunn-Perry Award to Boeing and its supplier partner, DACA Machine and Tool.

* The U.S. Department of Transportation’s “Prime Contractor of the Year” in 2002 for success in providing small and minority-owned business with opportunities to win subcontracts on the company’s airport explosive detection systems program with the Transportation Security Administration.

* NASA's 2002 Goldin-Stokes Award, the agency's highest honor for contractors participating in the NASA Mentor-Protégé program, with Cimarron, a Houston-based woman-owned small information technology business. The program teams large aerospace prime contractors with emerging high-technology small businesses.

At Boeing we’re proud of our diverse supply base, and are committed to expanding it further, developing new business relationships with minority, women-, veteran- and service disabled veteran-owned businesses. We know that our continuing success depends on it.

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