Engage Expert Council Co-Lead Champions Supply Chain Startup
In Fall 2019, Engage established a cross-corporate Expert Council on Supplier Diversity. Engage Expert Councils aim to bring together domain experts and business unit leaders from our 11 corporate partners and Georgia Tech, to share best practices and create collaborative goals,
In addition to the cross-corporate learnings, the Expert Councils serve to activate new corporate representatives and bring them into the fold of the Engage platform. We identified two high-level corporate leaders — Johnny Howze, III, Southern Company Gas’s VP of Supply Chain Management, and Kris Oswald, Director of Supplier Diversity at UPS — to serve as Co-Leads of the Council on Supplier Diversity.
Johnny and Kris developed a close relationship with the Engage team and a deep understanding of the Engage mission. And when Johnny learned that Engage startup Verusen, a supply chain vendor management platform, was a potential new software vendor for Southern Company, he took ownership of the relationship.
Johnny connected the Verusen team to the right internal contacts at Southern Company and they were able to push through a paid pilot in two weeks, for which Verusen credits Johnny as a critical champion. Meanwhile, Johnny and his team have stayed deeply involved in the Engage network, joining as experts and resources for entrepreneurs going through the Engage Program.
“Southern Company’s relationship with Engage facilitated connections between my Supplier team and corresponding teams at the other leading corporations in Atlanta,” said Johnny. “One big focus of the Engage Expert Council on Supplier Diversity is the importance of fostering vendor relationships with small business, including startups. So when I learned that Verusen, a startup in the Engage portfolio, was approaching Southern Company with a pilot opportunity, I was pleased to be able to get involved and push it forward.”