UT hosts 20th annual HUB Vendor Fair


Jonathan Garza

President of Holistic-Safety Dr. Martha Romero stands by her table prepared to great visitors. Romero particapted in the 20th annual Historically Underutilized Business Vendor Fair, which is a one day exhibit that promotes equal opportunity for businesses. 

Alexandra Dubinsky

In an effort to uphold its commitment to diversity and promote equal opportunity for businesses, UT helped sponsor the 20th annual Historically Underutilized Business (HUB) Vendor Fair — a one-day exhibit focused on giving minority business owners the chance to market their products to departments within campus.

The HUB Program, an initiative executed by the state of Texas, is a policy promoted by the UT System to purchase services and products from minority owned companies. According to Arthur McDonald, HUB director and small business plan administrator, UT sets a goal to make 20 percent of its purchases from HUB throughout the year, totaling to approximately
$50 million. 

“By statue, rules and regulations, we must have an outreach, a venue, a program for HUBs and this serves that purpose. It’s also really a networking event,” McDonald said. “It gives the HUB community the chance to meet the UT community and showcase their goods, which range from computers to office supplies to construction and furniture.”

According to McDonald, Tuesday’s fair featured a total of 167 businesses. Businesses must follow several requirements to become certified and have at least 51 percent of the business owned by minority groups including women, black Americans, Hispanics, Asian Pacific Americans and Native Americans. Additionally, the business must have an owner residing in Texas that actively participates in the “control, operations and management of the entity’s affairs.” 

Jennifer Cartlidge is a 1996 UT graduate in interior design and an account specialist at Herman Miller, a female-owned furniture company which has helped to design the Bill & Melinda Gates Computer Science Complex, the Belo Center for New Media and the dining facilities at the Texas Union. She said UT purchases approximately $7 to $8 million dollars in Herman Miller furniture
each year year.

“Anything the client can envision, we make happen,” Cartlidge said. “Being HUB certified definitely gives us more of an edge. We were successful before, but now it’s just one more aspect of who we are as a company.”

Shanna Overholser, business development manager for OfficeSource Ltd., another Austin-based furniture company, said the company has been working with UT for years.

“UT is good about spreading its wealth and everyone gets a little piece of the pie,” Overholser said.