The Michigan Minority Supplier Development Council in Detroit has named Scott Thiele, North America head of purchasing and supply chain management for Auburn Hills’ Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, as chairman of the board for the next two years.
He will lead the group’s efforts to advance opportunities for minority-owned businesses and replaces Tony Tomczak, chief procurement officer for DTE.
“Our commitment to diversity and inclusion at FCA extends far beyond our walls,” says Thiele. “I’m proud to serve the MMSDC as they continue supporting minority business owners in creative ways. Diversity drives innovation, and innovation drives growth for all of us. I am excited about this opportunity to contribute to the future success of minority suppliers and our communities.”
The council is a nonprofit that promotes economic growth of its corporate members and the minority-owned businesses that serve them. It was founded in 1977 and drives more than $36 billion in economic impact each year. It represents 1,200 certified minority business owners and 300 corporate members.
FCA recently joined a partnership formed between the council and Plug and Play, a global innovation platform for startups and corporations, to bring a new innovation hub to Detroit by June 2020. Plug and Play Detroit Powered by AmplifyD (Amplify:Diversity) will provide streamlined access to all technology startups and emphasize those owned by women and minorities. The partnership underpins FCA’s approach to the advancement of select technologies through collaborations that promote a culture of innovation and safety.
In 2019, FCA and the council also launched the Collaborative Growth Initiative, which includes nine automakers and suppliers working together with 18 minority-owned businesses to define, measure, and facilitate sustainable sourcing opportunities in the indirect/nonproduction commodity space. The goal is to ensure strategic business growth.
“Over the past two years, Scott has served as vice chair of our organization, and I’m sincerely excited to have such an action-oriented, knowledgeable leader at the helm of our organization during a significant time of growth and opportunity,” says Michelle Sourie Robinson, president and CEO of the council. “Scott is decisive, smart, and forward-thinking. He’s not afraid to step outside the box, which is critical as we experience and embrace a season of exponential growth.”
Since 1983, the company has purchased more than $88.2 billion worth of products from minority-, women-, and veteran-owned suppliers. Nearly 10 years ago, FCA established its High Focus Program, which aims to take suppliers with greater potential for diverse spend and equip them with the tools and support to achieve their diversity targets. The diversity spend status of each supplier is monitored monthly and reviewed with the supplier quarterly. In 2019, 25 suppliers remained with the program.
The company also supports 10 business research groups representing a range of affinity communities that pursue initiatives that celebrate cultural differences and provide developmental opportunities for employees. Thiele serves as the executive sponsor for the Middle Eastern Employees Together business resource group.