Star Awards honors diverse Delta suppliers, adds wisdom from Magic

Delta honored its top small, minority-owned and women-owned suppliers at the 14thAnnual Star Awards this week and ceremony attendees heard from Earvin “Magic” Johnson about how business owners might apply lessons he’s learned from his financial success.

The event, with highlights that can be seen on a DeltaTube video, reflects Delta’s commitment to diversity through recognizing suppliers that show Delta’s core values while doing business with the airline and Delta teams and individuals who champion supplier diversity.

“We’re really proud of our organization and to be able to partner with someone like Delta is just awesome,” said Raul Pedraza, CEO of Magno International, winner of the New Minority-owned Business of the Year. His company provides freight forwarding services for Delta.

Other winners said they appreciated Delta’s effort to recognize suppliers with the event.

“It’s very unique to have your clients take time off to celebrate what we’ve done together,’’ said Traci Knudson, CEO of NogginLabs Inc., winner of the Women-owned Business category for the year. NogginLabs built the Ready, Set, Jet game-like program for Reservation Sales agents to play that increased their global awareness to help sales.

“Developing supplier diversity fits perfectly with our own business goals and values,” said Steve Gorman, e.v.p. and chief operating officer, addressing attendees in Atlanta. “We really count on them in our supply chain for creativity, for innovation and for bringing flexible solutions for Delta.”

Left to Right, Jim Crane, Chairman Crane Capital Group, Stephen Gorman, Delta COO, Raul Pedraza, Magno founder, Karmetria Burton, Delta General Manager Supplier Diversity, Chris Monica, Magno President and Chris Collette, Delta Sr. Vice President Supply Chain

Attendees enjoyed an interview between radio personality and event host Frank Ski and Earvin “Magic” Johnson, whose growing financial empire now includes a stake in the Los Angeles Dodgers Major League Baseball team along with a long list of retail, real estate and finance pursuits. He had specific advice for owners of small, minority and women-owned  businesses desiring to win contracts.

“You’ve got to over-deliver because you’re only going to get one shot at this,” he said, encouraging owners to make sure they can deliver on promised terms to ensure satisfaction and urging companies not to grow too quickly.

Magic urged the audience to embrace business partnerships as a way to build scale and take on jobs that their own companies might not be able to handle. He shared how his success helped paved the way for other minority-owned businesses and that their success today would help those who come after them.

“Now is our time,” he said in remarks at the end of the Q&A. “When you get that deal and get that contract, it isn’t only for you – it’s for those who are coming after you. If you fail, people can’t come behind you. That’s why I always try to over-deliver to the clients I have.”

Winners in other categories included: Flightstar Aircraft Services for Small Business of the Year; Xtra Aerospace for Minority-Owned Business of the Year; Delta’s Lani Gustafson of Supply Chain Management as Advocate of the Year; and Delta’s Corporate Travel Department for Team of the Year in encouraging supplier diversity.

“We want to make sure our suppliers look exactly like our employees and our customers,” said event organizer Karmetria Burton, general manager-Supplier Diversity. “We want to serve those suppliers in the communities where we work and live.”