Carmen Muñoz (1936 – 2020)

The MMSDC is saddened by the news of Carmen Munoz’s passing earlier this year. Carmen was a trailblazer in the minority business community and her contributions paved the way for hundreds of other minority entrepreneurs. The MMSDC inducted Carmen Munoz into the Michigan Minority Business Hall of Fame in 2018.

From the Family of Carmen Munoz

July 17, 1936 – January 28, 2020

Carmen Munoz, loving mother, grandmother and Hispanic community trailblazer, passed away peacefully in her home Tuesday, January 28, 2020.

A celebration of Carmen’s life will be on Tuesday, February 25th, 10 a.m. at Ste. Anne de Detroit Church, 1000 Ste. Anne St., Detroit, Michigan 48216.

To continue Carmen’s legacy and commitment to the Hispanic community the Carmen Munoz Scholarship has been established through MANA de Metro Detroit, a 501(c)3 organization. MANA de Metro Detroit is the local chapter of MANA National and has been mentoring young Latina women and providing scholarships to them since 1996. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to MANA de Metro Detroit, 4138 W. Vernor, Detroit, MI 48209.
Any questions, please feel free to contact Mary Carmen Munoz, [email protected], or (313)554-2025.


Carmen Munoz Biography

A 1955 graduate of Detroit’s Holy Redeemer High School, Muñoz went to work as a bookkeeper for a Detroit manufacturer that made precision machine parts for the automotive industry. She spent 27 years absorbing as much as she could about purchasing, production control, estimating, and labor negotiations. “I learned the jobs that my boss didn’t like to do himself, those he found too tedious,” she said.

Ms. Muñoz founded her first business with 25 years of experience in the precision machine manufacturing industry. After buying out her partners, Ms. Muñoz’s company continued to excel by earning numerous prestigious supplier quality awards from Ford Motor Company and General Motors.  Muñoz Machine Products, along with three other Hispanic companies, formed the Hispanic Manufacturing Center (HMC) in an old GM building in Southwest Detroit.

She has taken her wealth of business and community leadership experiences and focused her energies on making a difference and opening up more opportunities for the disadvantaged and minority youth.

For Ms. Muñoz’s work as an entrepreneur, non-profit leadership, community advocacy also with the positive impact she has made in the Hispanic community, the Michigan Minority Supplier Development Council is proud to have inducted Carmen Muñoz into the Michigan Minority Business Hall of Fame.

2019 ACE Awards: MMSDC Celebrates Ambassadors Championing Excellence at 36th Annual Awards Program

October 4, 2019, Novi, MI— Michigan’s top corporations and MBEs gathered at the Michigan Minority Supplier Development Council’s 2019 ACE (Ambassadors Championing Excellence) Awards at the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi, Michigan to honor those who champion excellence in minority supplier development and business.


Jim Roberts

Volunteer of the Year

Jim Roberts Enterprises, LLC

Sowell Partners, PLLC

Supplier of the Year - Class I

AMBE Engineering, LLC

Supplier of the Year - Class II

V2Soft, Inc.

Supplier of the Year - Class III

Acro Service Corporation

Supplier of the Year - Class IV

Andra Rush

MBE Luminary Award

Rush Group

Chris Dawson

Buyer of the Year

Dana Incorporated

Sherry Diccion

Jethro Joseph Advocate of the Year


Tracy Joshua

Executive of the Year (Tie)

Kellogg Company

Tony Tomczak

Executive of the Year (Tie)

DTE Energy

Ford Motor Company

Corporation of the Year: Automotive OEM

Barton Malow

Corporation of the Year: Construction

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan

Corporation of the Year: Financial & Insurance Services

DTE Energy

Corporation of the Year: Petrochemical, Energy, and Utilities

Kelly Services

Corporation of the Year: Professional Services & Staffing

Burt Jordan

Minority Business Hall of Fame

Ford Motor Company

Dan Knott

Minority Business Hall of Fame

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (Posthumously)

Scott Kunselman

Minority Business Hall of Fame

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (Retired)

Tony Tomczak

President's Award

DTE Energy


The 2019 ACE Award Winners:

Volunteer of the Year:  This award recognizes a leader who is the ultimate giver of their time and talent in an effort to support minority supplier development and the work of MMSDC.

Volunteer of the Year Award Winner: Jim Roberts – Jim Roberts Enterprises LLC


Supplier of the Year: Presented annually to Minority Business Enterprises (MBEs) who have excelled in growing their businesses, enhanced their operations, and actively participated in MBE-to-MBE purchasing. There are four awards given, with one going to each of the four revenue categories of MBEs:

  • Class I – Annual gross sales less than $1 million
  • Class II – Annual gross sales between $1 million and $10 million
  • Class III – Annual gross sales between $10 million and $50 million
  • Class IV – Annual gross sales greater than $50 million


Minority Supplier of the Year – Class I Winner: Sowell Law Partners, PLLC

Minority Supplier of the Year – Class II Winner: AMBE Engineering, LLC

Minority Supplier of the Year – Class III Winner: V2Soft, Inc.

Minority Supplier of the Year – Class IV Winner: Acro Service Corporation


MBE Luminary of the Year Award: A minority business owner who exemplifies the spirit of minority business entrepreneurs conducting business with other minority business entrepreneurs; providing mentoring, apprenticeships or internships while being actively involved in community and other special programs.

MBE Luminary Award Winner: Andra Rush – Rush Group


Corporate Buyer of the Year Award: One who directly makes purchases and through his/her efforts advances the cause of minority economic development. This award acknowledges the buyer who goes above and beyond normal purchasing requirements by significantly aiding MBEs, increasing his/her dollar purchases over the previous year, offers referrals to other companies, and attempts to identify new market opportunities.

Corporate Buyer of the Year Award Winner: Chris Dawson – Dana Incorporated


Jethro Joseph Advocate of the Year Award: An individual who is not a buyer but drives the process that promotes economic development of Minority Business Enterprises, such as a VP, director, or manager. This award acknowledges the individual that goes above and beyond in their efforts to not only source and mentor MBEs but also help their company and community understand why it’s so important to do business with minority suppliers.

 Jethro Joseph Advocate of the Year Award Winner: Sherry Diccion – Adient


Executive of the Year Award:  This award recognizes a senior corporate leader who empowers his or her team to drive minority supplier development, while personally remaining actively engaged.

Executive of the Year Award Winner: (Tie) Tony Tomczak – DTE Energy & Tracy Joshua – Kellogg Company


Corporation of the Year Award: Presented to the corporation(s) who actively include certified minority suppliers in their procurement opportunities, assist in the development of minority suppliers, promotes supplier diversity and business development within their corporation, their vendors, other businesses, and organizations.

Corporation of the Year Automotive OEM Winner: Ford Motor Company

Corporation of the Year Construction Winner: Barton Malow Company

Corporation of the Year Financial & Insurance Services Winner: Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan

Corporation of the Year Petrochemical, Energy, & Utilities Winner: DTE Energy

Corporation of the Year Professional Services & Staffing Winner: Kelly Services


The Michigan Minority Business Hall of Fame recognizes those who have made a positive transformational impact on Michigan’s minority businesses, including devoted government and community leaders as well as iconic MBEs and corporate leaders.

Michigan Minority Business Hall of Fame Inductee: Tony Brown – Ford Motor Company (Retired)

Michigan Minority Business Hall of Fame Inductee: Burt Jordan – Ford Motor Company

Michigan Minority Business Hall of Fame Inductee: Dan Knott – Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (Posthumously)

Michigan Minority Business Hall of Fame Inductee: Scott Kunselman – Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (Retired)


President’s Award: The President’s Award is the highest individual honor bestowed by the Michigan Minority Supplier Development Council on an individual whose service to the organization has been exemplary.

President’s Award: Tony Tomczak – DTE Energy


 “We recognized corporations, minority businesses, and individuals who excelled in engaging, mentoring and advocating for minority suppliers this past year,” said Michelle Sourie Robinson, President & CEO of MMSDC. “Our Ambassadors and this year’s winners are true champions of excellence in minority supplier development.”


Boasting an attendance of over 700, the ACE Awards is one of the most prestigious business events that take place annually in our state where the top leaders, executives, and visionaries in the region gather to celebrate the people who are making significant contributions to minority supplier development. At this event, minority business enterprises (MBEs) are honored for their excellent service in the past year as well as corporate members for their commitment to supplier diversity and supporting minority-owned businesses through purchasing contracts.


Note:  In those instances where there is a tie, there is no coin toss.  All individuals or businesses scoring the same in a category will be awarded.



WIN – Region Turnover Study

In February 2019, six Michigan Works! Agencies (MWAs) contracted with the Workforce Intelligence Network for Southeast Michigan (WIN) to examine employee turnover in the region. This work aims to provide the MWAs with a comprehensive understanding of the root causes of employee turnover and the potential gaps that exist in the development of career pathways for those with barriers to employment. Information gathered from a region-wide employer survey, convenings of local employers, and nationwide best practice research is included in this report.

The results of the employer survey represent a unique data source for our region, as this information is not currently tracked or reported by federal, state, or local entities. The information about the challenges and opportunities within our region is intended to assist MWAs in better serving employers and workers. In particular, this will help to inform the resources aimed at reducing employee turnover.

VIEW WIN – Region Turnover Study

MMSDC 2019 Summer Hours Announcement

Dear Valued Members, MBEs, and Partners,

Effective May 31, 2019, through August 30, 2019, the Michigan Minority Supplier Development Council (MMSDC) and the Michigan Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) will be observing special summer business hours.
We will maintain regular business hours of 8:30 AM through 5:00 PM Monday through Thursday and operate from 8:30 AM to 12:30 PM on Fridays.

As always, we are committed to providing exceptional service to our constituency and will provide phone coverage until 5:00 PM each Friday.


Michelle Sourie Robinson
President & CEO


MiSpringboard: Helping Michigan Entrepreneurs Put Their Bright Ideas to Work

MiSpringboard is Varnum’s statewide initiative designed to remove some of the barriers associated with starting a business by providing free legal services to Michigan startups.

Varnum launched the MiSpringboard program in 2011 as a way of helping Michigan’s then-struggling economy with a commitment of $1 million in free legal services, MiSpringboard was our way of helping the economy by doing what we do best – providing high-quality legal counsel to qualified businesses and individuals.

Due to the overwhelming success of this program, in 2016 Varnum renewed its commitment to Michigan startups by dedicating a second $1 million in free legal services through the MiSpringboard program.


Steps to Free Legal Services

Ideal participants should be located in Michigan, have a written business plan, demonstrate a need for Varnum’s legal support and have the potential to drive Michigan job growth.

MiSpringboard Services You May Need
  • Corporation and limited liability entity formations
  • Equity investments and securities offerings
  • Capital structure planning
  • Trademark registration and acquisition of domain names
  • Intellectual property protection
  • Licensing
  • Joint venture agreements
  • Nondisclosure agreements
  • Employment agreements, compensation planning, and non-competes
  • Compliance with employment laws
  • Employee benefits
  • Research collaboration agreements
  • Distribution agreements
  • State and federal tax planning and compliance
  • Immigration
  • Privacy and security issues
  • Introductions to accountants, lenders and other resources


Qualified participants meet with a Varnum attorney to assess their business needs and are assigned a single point of contact at Varnum, even if their legal needs require attorneys from more than one practice area. Participants will receive approximately $2,500 in free legal services, although it may vary based on the need of the individual business.

For more information, please contact Joan Andrew at 616-336-6730 or [email protected]

2019 EY Entrepreneur of the Year Program – Apply Now through March 8th

Seeking the unstoppable entrepreneurs transforming our world.

There are a lot of successful people in the world. But to build something truly remarkable, you can’t let anything stand in your way. And only a few leaders are part of this special group: the ones who never give up. Driven by their desire to better the world around them, they stop at nothing to achieve their greatest ambitions. They cut through the noise of this transformative age by breaking away from the pack — and then end up leading it. If you are an unstoppable entrepreneur or have been inspired by an innovative leader in the Michigan and Northwest Ohio region, we invite you to apply/submit a nomination to the Entrepreneur Of The Year® 2019 program, now in its 33rd year.

Deadline to apply is March 8, 2019.


Learn More – Read the full program package 

Apply Now – Submit a nomination


MMSDC President responds to Gov. Whitmer’s EO for disadvantaged businesses

MMSDC President responds to Gov. Whitmer’s EO for disadvantaged businesses

January 7, 2019, Detroit, MI—  With just three days in office, Governor Gretchen Whitmer has sent a strong message that Michigan’s disadvantaged businesses are a priority.

Just over a year ago, MMSDC created a bipartisan Meet the Candidate campaign inviting candidates from all parties in state and national elections to meet our constituents and share their platforms.  One of the first candidates to respond and seriously engage our constituents was then-Candidate Whitmer.  

She not only listened to our minority business owners and the corporations that support them to create and sustain nearly 200,000 jobs annually, but she has affirmatively responded.

This is not a handout or baseless preferential treatment, as the private sector has realized proven cost savings, greater innovation, and enhanced value by becoming more inclusive. Her EO will simply help to ensure that everyone has a chance to compete.

On behalf of MMSDC, we are extremely proud to work alongside her and Lt. Governor Garland Gilchrist to define the best practice processes that will ensure all businesses have an opportunity to compete for state contracts for the betterment of our state and communities therein.” 

MMSDC Offices Will Be Closed December 24th – January 1st

Happy Holidays & Seasons Greetings from the MMSDC Staff!

All of us here at the MMSDC would like to wish you and yours a happy and safe holiday season!

MMSDC Offices will be closed Monday, December 24th through Tuesday, January 1st for the holiday season. We will reopen the office on Wednesday, January 2nd.

We look forward to an exciting and successful 2019!



Joe Anderson, Jethro Joseph, and Carmen Muñoz are our 2018 Inductees into the Michigan Minority Business Hall of Fame

For Immediate Release                                                                 Contact: Daniel Jackson
(313) 873-2124
[email protected]

September 10, 2018, Detroit, MI— The Michigan Minority Supplier Development Council (MMSDC) has announced Joe Anderson, Jethro Joseph, and Carmen Muñoz as their 2018 inductees for the Michigan Minority Business Hall of Fame.  This prestigious honor recognizes those with a positive transformational impact on Michigan’s minority businesses, including government and community leaders as well as iconic MBEs and corporate leaders. The induction will take place at the MMSDC’s 2018 ACE Awards program on Tuesday, October 9, 2018, at Novi Suburban Collection Showplace.

“It gives me great pleasure to induct a dynamic group of minority business icons into the Michigan Minority Business Hall of Fame,” said Michelle Sourie Robinson, MMSDC President/CEO.  “We celebrate the many hidden figures driving economic development in Michigan and beyond.  In their own way, each of this year’s honorees has made a significant economic impact on Michigan and beyond. Carmen Muñoz provided leadership in the Hispanic community at a time when women entrepreneurs were rare in her industry. Joe Anderson has built a legacy of mentorship by empowering minority entrepreneurs through professional and financial support. Lastly, Jethro Joseph assisted numerous minority business owners by helping them get their start through his work at FCA. I have tremendous respect for all of our honorees and can’t wait to join the chorus to thank them for the indelible imprint they’ve made.”

The MMSDC ACE Awards is one of the most significant minority business events that take place annually in Michigan where the top leaders, executives, and visionaries in the region come together to celebrate individuals and companies who are championing minority supplier development.

As a key driver of minority business development for over 40 years in Michigan, MMSDC is the home of the Michigan Minority Business Hall of Fame. This award honors men and women who have made significant contributions to minority supplier development in the state of Michigan.

To purchase tickets or sponsorship opportunities, please visit  For more information on the event, please contact Soo Karber at [email protected].