On October 24, California Water Service received the 2017 Distinguished Supplier Diversity Award from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Minority Business Development Agency. The award was given to Cal Water by President Donald J. Trump and Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross for the company’s efforts to support the diverse business community.

Cal Water’s Supplier Diversity Program Manager Jose Espinoza accepted the award at the White House on the utility’s behalf.

“We are pleased to be a recipient of the Distinguished Supplier Diversity Award, as we are firmly committed to building our relationships with diverse suppliers,” said Martin A. Kropelnicki, Cal Water President and CEO. “Thanks in large part to Jose’s efforts, we have been able to utilize this expanded pool of suppliers to obtain the highest-quality goods and services at the lowest prices. This directly benefits our customers and communities and enables us to continue fulfilling our commitment to providing quality, service, and value.”

Earlier in October, Espinoza was selected by Asian, Inc.’s Board of Directors as the organization’s Supplier Diversity Champion of the Year. Espinoza was chosen for his extensive work on behalf of Asian, Inc.’s supplier diversity program through Cal Water and the California Water Association. The award was presented to Espinoza at Asian, Inc.’s 46th Annual Gala at the Park Central Hotel in San Francisco.

In the letter to Espinoza announcing the award, Asian, Inc.’s Program Development Officer Yi-Hui Chen noted, “With your support this year, our San Jose MBDA business center has hosted three very successful workshops so far and connected many minority-owned businesses with California Water Service. We look forward to continuing this partnership and growing with you.”

San Francisco-based Asian, Inc. supports diversity by creating opportunities in business development, housing and financial education for all races within low- to moderate-income communities.

In 2016, Cal Water spent $48.46 million on goods and services from diverse suppliers certified with the California Public Utilities Commission to support its operations statewide, compared to $40.88 million in 2015. The utility worked with 216 certified diverse suppliers and expanded its diverse supplier database by 7 percent last year.

President Donald Trump and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross (right) congratulate the 2017 winners of the National Minority Enterprise Development Award at a ceremony in the White House Oval Office on October 24, 2017. Accepting the award on behalf of California Water Service was Jose Espinoza. (5th from left in bow tie)
California Water Service’s Jose Espinoza (center) accepts the “Supplier Diversity Champion of the Year” award from the Asian, Inc. Board of Directors on October 6, 2017.
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