Press Releases

Houston First posts big jump in supplier diversity numbers

Houston • May 25, 2017

Diversity participation surpasses program goal with increase of 9 percent

Houston, TX – May 25, 2017 – Houston First Corporation has experienced its biggest increase in supplier diversity numbers since the program began four years ago.  Participation by small, minority and women-owned business enterprises (MWBE) for 2016 was measured at 41 percent, a nine percent increase from 32 percent in 2015.

Participation has consistently surpassed the 30 percent goal established in 2012. In that time, Houston First has awarded more than 350 contracts, totaling more than $158 million, to qualified MWBE vendors.

"Our initiatives and strong commitment throughout our organization to supplier diversity continue to drive our numbers in the right direction," said Dawn Ullrich, president and CEO of Houston First. "Houston First not only values diversity and inclusion, we recognize the impact minority and women-owned businesses have on our bottom line.

"We have found some of our most competitive suppliers through our diversity program."

Houston First has used a number of strategies to help identify and engage minority vendors. In 2016, more than 150 diverse vendors attended the Strategic Economic Opportunities Forum hosted by Houston First. Additionally, Houston First has attended more than 50 events to support and promote MWBE businesses.

"By developing a strong relationship with our minority vendors, we have been able to cut costs, meet challenging deadlines, and find innovative business solutions," said Mitch Miszkowski, Houston First purchasing agent.

To improve its relationship with historically underutilized businesses, Houston First joined the Interagency Mentor Protégé Program, which is sponsored by the City of Houston, Houston Community College, Houston Independent School District, METRO, and the Port of Houston.

“Houston First continues to expand opportunities to a diverse supplier base,” Ullrich said. “It is a win for the supplier and the city because successful vendors are then able to create jobs and increase tax revenues, which strengthen our local economy.”

Media contacts:    Carolyn Campbell    713-853-8273        Cell: 832-982-9902
                             Pete Radowick         713-853-8077        Cell: 713-376-0664

Houston First operates the city's finest convention and arts facilities to position Houston as a world-class destination. In 2014, Houston First and the Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau aligned operations to create a single voice representing the city under the brand Visit Houston. Houston First owns the Hilton Americas-Houston hotel, manages the George R. Brown Convention Center and 11 City-owned properties and is the driving force in developing the new Avenida Houston entertainment district. Learn more at and