DALLAS, Aug. 6 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — When Telamon Corporation, a certified Asian-American-owned business with headquarters in Carmel, Ind., was selected to participate in a business development course for diversity firms, Albert Chen did not envision the session leading to a prosperous relationship between his firm and a major telecommunications company.

Telamon was founded in 1984 and began doing business with AT&T in 1992, when AT&T selected the firm to participate in a Total Applied Quality Management course, which was designed to provide direction on how to grow business relationships and move organizations forward. Telamon was one of 40 diversity-owned companies that participated in the training.

Later, Telamon was the first minority supplier to be awarded a prime contract under AT&T’s breakthrough initiative to open up the core telecom network to full diversity supplier involvement. Since participating in this program, Telamon has supported numerous AT&T initiatives, including U- verse(SM) services, and has expanded its client roster to include other major corporations.

In addition to the MBE Program, AT&T’s Women Business Enterprise (WBE) Program — launched in 1980 — and its Disabled Veteran Business Enterprise (DVBE) Program (1993) have enabled AT&T to provide the best products and services to its customers by expanding contracting opportunities for diverse businesses across its enterprise. AT&T has mentored several diversity suppliers to provide goods and services in areas of the company’s business that historically had low diversity participation. In doing so, AT&T has helped provide opportunities for diverse businesses in other industries, such as advertising and global contract manufacturing.

Another aspect of AT&T’s Supplier Diversity Programs that many diverse suppliers have benefited from is educational scholarships and programming. Since 2000, the AT&T Foundation has granted more than $935,000 to diversity- owned business owners to receive expert coaching from leading business schools, including the Anderson School of Management at UCLA, the J.L. Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University, the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College, the FastTrac Program at Georgia State University and the Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Vetco Supply in Denton, Texas, an outside plant distributor that is owned by a service-disabled veteran, has been doing business with AT&T since 1999. Troy Murphy, president and CEO of the company, used an AT&T Supplier Diversity Programs scholarship to attend the Management Development for Entrepreneurs (MDE) Program at UCLA, which he graduated from in 2006.

AT&T has produced numerous training workshops to ensure that diversity suppliers are positioned to win in the highly competitive global marketplace. Technology training, e-commerce seminars, “going global” workshops and quality certification training have all been offered to diversity suppliers by AT&T at no charge.

Most large corporations have rigorous performance expectations for their suppliers, which may include a requirement to be certified to global quality standards and metrics. One of AT&T’s current workshops for diversity suppliers is an introductory seminar on the value of quality certification. Such certifications, like TL9000 and ISO 9000, not only improve operational efficiency but clearly communicate that a diverse supplier understands critical customer guidelines and has documented processes to meet those requirements. Because obtaining quality certification can be expensive for small, diverse firms, AT&T is working with BIZPHYX, a woman-owned quality consulting and training firm, to develop an online group approach to quality certification that lowers the cost of certification by 70 percent.

In the past four decades, AT&T has spent more than $43 billion with minority, women and disabled veteran businesses. In 2007, AT&T spent more than $5 billion with these diversity businesses, representing more than 12 percent of the company’s procurement base.

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AT&T Inc.

CONTACT: Nicole Pickens of AT&T Inc., +1-713-513-9520,npickens@attnews.us

Web site: http://www.att.com/

Source: PRNewswire-FirstCall

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