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NYC Mayor Adams Makes Major Investments in Mayor’s Office of Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises

New York City Mayor Eric Adams today reaffirmed his commitment to the Minority- and Women-Owned Business Enterprise community by appointing Michael Garner as chief business diversity officer of the Mayor’s Office of Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises (M/WBE). In this role, Garner will support and elevate New York City’s M/WBEs by making the city a more equitable and inclusive business environment — a top priority of the Adams administration. Additionally, Mayor Adams today signed Executive Order 26, to help address the “disparity within the disparity” in the award of city procurement dollars to M/WBEs. Although studies demonstrate that M/WBEs are underutilized in city contracting, certain ethnic and gender groups of M/WBEs remain more disproportionately underutilized than others. Executive Order 26 focuses on increasing participation by Black American, Hispanic American, and Native-American M/WBEs and Asian-American WBEs — all groups that have been persistently and negatively impacted by procurement inequities.

“This administration has placed economic equity front and center as the city emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic and recovers economically,” said Mayor Adams. “By signing Executive Order 26 to increase the number of underrepresented ethnic groups awarded city contracts and appointing Michael Garner as chief business diversity officer of the Mayor’s Office of Minority and Women-owned Business Enterprises, we are reaffirming our administration’s commitment to expanding opportunities for our minority and women-owned business owners. These support systems will build equity, boost our recovery, and create new opportunities for M/WBEs citywide. This is how we ‘Get Stuff Done’ and fight inequality right here in our own city.”

“I am thrilled to welcome Michael Garner to this administration as the chief business diversity officer. Michael has a proven track-record of breaking through bureaucratic hurdles to ensure M/WBE contractors are given a seat at the table and, more importantly, are awarded contracts,” said First Deputy Mayor Sheena Wright. “With Michael’s appointment and the accompanying executive order, this administration is demonstrating that it is laser-focused on creating an equitable business environment.”

Our minority and women-owned businesses are the backbone of our city, and they deserve a champion worthy of their crucial role in our economic recovery. Michael Garner is that champion,” said Deputy Mayor for Economic and Workforce Development Maria Torres-Springer. “I’m very excited for Michael to join this administration, help guide and grow our M/WBE program, and advance the policies laid out in this executive order — zeroing in on increasing opportunities at every agency and tackling disparities within our M/WBE program.”

I am both honored and excited to have been selected by Mayor Eric Adams as New York City’s first citywide chief business diversity officer,” said Citywide Chief Business Diversity Officer Michael J. Garner. “As this administration builds on the recent successes of the M/WBE program, we look forward to making New York City an even more inclusive and equitable economic ecosystem for all of our businesses, including the ones that have historically been under-represented in our city’s procurement environment. We know that a disparity remains, not only between non-M/WBEs and M/WBEs, but also among certain ethnic and gender categories within our pool of diverse New York City-certified businesses. I commend Mayor Adams for taking bold action to systematically address these disparities, and I plan to leverage my 30 years of building successful M/WBE programs across multiple organizations in support of our shared vision. A vision that is rooted in ensuring that New York’s economic recovery is an inclusive one, and in building the best M/WBE program in the Fortune 500 capital of the world.”

“The Adams administration has put Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises front-and-center in our economic recovery,” said New York City Department of Small Business Services (SBS) Commissioner Kevin D. Kim. “As the city’s first-ever chief business diversity officer, Michael’s vast experience and outstanding record of delivering for the people of New York will set our local businesses up to thrive. SBS is excited to get to work with Michael and all our city agency partners to ‘Get Stuff Done’ for our M/WBE community.”

“We hold steadfast to our city’s commitment to create a more inclusive and fair contracting environment for Minority- and Women-Owned Business Enterprises,” said Mayor’s Office of Contact Services Director Lisa Flores. “As we continue the important work of reforming the procurement process, we keep M/WBEs at the forefront of our vision to ensure our policies promote success. It’s no secret that I, along with my colleagues, believe M/WBEs are more than just the goods and services they provide — they represent New Yorkers and communities across the five boroughs. Our new chief business diversity officer, Michael Garner, has the experience and drive needed to prioritize the wellbeing of these businesses to ensure a bright future for all.” 

Mayor Adams also announced that mayoral agencies are directed to, whenever practicable, seek to award contracts for goods, services, and construction of up to $1 million to M/WBEs through a non-competitive method. By increasing the threshold limit of this directive from $500,000 to $1 million, the city has taken steps to ensure that M/WBEs will be able to more effectively compete for larger contracts, expanding their opportunities to work with the city. In Fiscal Year 2022, the city awarded $112 million in contracts to M/WBEs using the non-competitive methods — up from $75 million Fiscal Year 2019. That award amount is expected to rise dramatically in the upcoming years.

Through Executive Order 26:

  • City agencies will be directed to use the non-competitive method to procure goods, services, and construction for amounts not exceeding $1 million, whenever practicable.
  • City agencies will be directed to limit the initial pool of solicited vendors for goods, services, and construction for amounts not exceeding $500,000 to Black American M/WBEs, Hispanic American M/WBEs, Native American M/WBEs, and/or Asian American WBEs, whenever practicable.
  • The chief business diversity officer, in consultation with MOCS and the New York City Department of Small Business Services, shall periodically review agency procurement data provided by MOCS and relevant research to (a) determine any changes in the ethnic or gender categories of M/WBEs to be classified as underutilized, (b) to identify meaningful progress towards addressing overall disparities in procurement across the city, and (c) to make any necessary adjustments to city policies based on such review.

The Mayor’s Office of Minority and Women-owned Business Enterprises was created to address historic disparities in city contracting and provide minority and women entrepreneurs increased opportunities to do business with New York City. The office is responsible for developing policy, enhancing coordination among city agencies, and providing oversight and accountability of the city’s M/WBE program.

“Michael Garner has developed an esteemed career during his tenure with the MTA, NYCHA and his community service throughout New York City,” said U.S. Representative Adriano Espaillat. “I commend Mayor Adams on this most recent appointment tapping Mr. Garner as the chief business diversity officer of the Office of Minority and Women-owned Business Enterprises (M/WBE), and I look forward to continuing my collaboration with the Adams administration to ensure the inclusion and support of the Minority-and Women-Owned Business Enterprise community throughout our city.”

“New York’s rich diversity should be reflected in our economy, yet women and people of color remain underrepresented in who our city does business with,” said New York City Comptroller Brad Lander. “Michael Garner brings a wealth of experience and relationships to breaking down barriers to doing business with the city for firms led by people of color and women, and I look forward to working with him in this new role. Together with the Adams administration, we are committed to expanding opportunities through city procurement and applaud the raising of the threshold for Noncompetitive Small Purchases.”

“There are many top-quality M/WBEs in Queens and throughout New York City that have had a difficult time securing municipal contracts,” said Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. “I am glad Mayor Adams is showing his commitment to rectifying this issue by hiring a person as talented as Michael Garner to be chief business diversity officer. Mr. Garner’s hiring, along with the changes in contracting rules announced today, will go a long way toward ensuring that M/WBEs get their fair share of the city’s business.”

“Mayor Adams in his continued commitment to equity has appointed Michael Garner as chief business diversity officer of the Mayor’s Office of Minority and Women-owned Business Enterprises (M/WBE),” said Bronx Borough President Vanessa L. Gibson. “Garner’s track record demonstrates consistency and that he is not new to this work. During his tenure at the MTA, he made considerable strides on behalf of minority and women-owned businesses raising more than $400 million in direct prime contracts for participants. In his new role, I am confident in Michael’s ability to amplify and elevate our M/WBEs in this role. This appointment, combined with the increased award amount of the city’s Noncompetitive Small Purchase method, will open more doors, and allow our minority and women-owned businesses to — not only survive — but thrive in today’s economy.” 

“When we support our local entrepreneurs and the businesses they’ve built, we can uplift neighborhoods,” said Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso. “Women and people of color, however, have long been locked out of city contracting opportunities and the stability and wealth-building that comes with it. I’m so thrilled to see the support for our M/WBEs boosted not only by an increased threshold limit but by the appointment of Michael Garner to lead as Chief Business Diversity Officer. I look forward to working together to bring more equity to city business, and I congratulate Mr. Garner on the exciting new chapter.”

“Throughout the city’s history, too many businesses owned by women and New Yorkers of color have been shut out of the contracting process,” said New York City Council Majority Whip Selvena N. Brooks-Powers, chair, Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. “Increasing M/WBE utilization strengthens underserved communities and extends economic opportunity across the city. Today, I commend the mayor for investing in New York’s M/WBEs. Policy changes like raising the NCSP threshold will expand M/WBE access to major contracting opportunities. Further, I celebrate the appointment of Michael Garner, who has a proven track record at the MTA of setting ambitious M/WBE goals — and meeting them.”

“Increasing the threshold limit to $1 million dollars from $500,000 and appointing a chief business diversity officer is a critical step in the right direction for the city to increase contracts being awarded to M/WBEs,” said New York City Councilmember Julie Menin, chair, Small Business Committee. “Our city still has a lot to catch up on as we only awarded 3.8 percent of city contract money to M/WBE firms in fiscal year 2021. The equitable recovery of our city depends on our small businesses and investing in our M/WBEs and I support Mayor Adams’ new policies announced today so we can increase contracts for MWBE’s.”

“Supporting the growth of our M/WBEs is how we support an equitable economic recovery,” said New York City Councilmember Amanda Farias. “With Black and Brown New Yorkers having higher rates of unemployment and with the issue of wage equity for women and women of color — their business ventures need to be and deserve to be prioritized. I look forward to continuing my work with Mayor Adams and his administration on growing our economic and workforce development. Additionally, I congratulate and look forward to working with our newest partner, Michael Garner in pursuit of an equitable economic recovery for every borough.”

“Mayor Adams made a very wise choice and found the right person for the job,” said John Wang, president, Asian American Business Development Center. “The city will greatly benefit from Michael’s experience, expertise, and connections to the larger M/WBE community. I couldn’t be happier to hear this news.” 

“Michael Garner has been at the forefront of creating, leading and overseeing landmark programs for major city and state agencies,” said Sandra Wilkin, vice chairperson, CUNY Board of Trustees; and president emeritus, Woman Builders Council (WBC). “As a New York women’s business enterprise and WBE executive for over 30 years, I have seen firsthand Michael Garner’s remarkable advocacy for equity, clear focus on the goals, and courage to change the status quo direction into reformation and renewal. New York City and the WBE/LBE community will be well-served served by Michael Garner for his appointment as the first chief business diversity officer. He will be a wonderful asset to the New York City team leading the economic renaissance underway.”

“I congratulate ‘my mayor’ Eric Adams for consistently attracting the best talent available,” said Lloyd Williams, president, Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce. “He continued his impressive streak of success when he tapped Michael Garner to become New York City’s first ever chief business diversity officer. Michael Garner is recognized throughout the tri-state region, and beyond as the preeminent expert, and advocate for the needs of the underserved, and underrepresented, especially in the fields of companies who do business with federal, state and city government agencies. This area has been historically, and dramatically ignored, as it relates to balanced representation on how government dollars are spent with in proportion to the citizens that they represent. For example, under the previous mayoral administration, the city government allocated little more than one percent of its business expenditures with communities of color, although communities of color represent over 50 percent of the population of New York City. What a disparity! Following the mandate of Mayor Adams, Michael Garner will bridge that unconscionable gap, and there will be a sense of parity which will better reflect the reasonable balance desired and expected by all of New York City. Michael Garner is the right person at the right time.”

“Mike Garner is an outstanding addition to the Adam’s administration,” said Bill Howell, president, Howell Industries. “He is a motivated, results-driven leader who will positively change the way diversity is defined in New York and big cities across the nation.”

“Michael’s decade-long service helped make the MTA a world leader in minority and women-owned business (M/WBE) contracting,” said MTA Chair and CEO Janno Lieber. “I’m confident he will be a great asset to the Adams administration, and we look forward to working with him in this new role.”
“Michael Garner has been a longtime member of the National Action Network who has dedicated his professional and personal life to making sure there is equal access in the workplace,” said Rev. Al Sharpton, president and founder, National Action Network. “He made strides at the MTA, to ensure there was equity and opportunity for those driving the buses and trains along with those riding on them. I agree with Mayor Adams that there is no one better to serve as the city’s inaugural chief business diversity officer.”

“This is an exciting time in the Adams administration,” said Dr. Hazel Dukes, president, New York State NAACP. “The mayor’s vision and priorities are exciting and with Michael Garner joining the team, I am sure that the implementation will be done to benefit all of the citizens of New York City. Michael has demonstrated his ability to get jobs done.”

“The appointment of a citywide chief business diversity officer early in Mayor Adams tenure is a testimony to his vision for city services that reflect the diversity of the community,” said Arva Rice, president and CEO, New York Urban League. “Michael is uniquely positioned to excel in his role after over a decade at MTA and the School Construction Authority.  Michael is a champion for small businesses and all New Yorkers seeking opportunity.  He has a track record of results and New York City is fortunate to have him in this new role.”

“I am so very pleased that Mayor Eric Adam’s administration has appointed a long-time friend and colleague to the city’s first ever position of chief business diversity officer,” said Nick Lugo, president, New York City Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. “Michael Garner has a national reputation for his strong and successful record of achievement in implementing needed diversity programs. This appointment is a perfect fit for the city of New York and for Michael as well, one in which will benefit in the immediate future, minorities, women and disadvantaged New Yorkers. We all look forward to supporting Michael as he endeavors to make New York City truly equitable and inclusive.”

About Michael J. Garner: 

Michael J. Garner has been appointed the city’s first ever chief business diversity officer. Garner recently served as the chief diversity and inclusion officer of the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA).  

At the MTA, Garner designed one of the country’s leading business development programs for minority-owned, women-owned, and disadvantaged business enterprises (MWDBEs). He also architected the MTA’s Small Business Mentoring Program to help break barriers for businesses owned by minorities, women, disadvantaged people, and service-disabled veterans in New York state, which has awarded more than $600 million in direct prime contracts to program participants. 

Prior to joining the MTA, Garner held positions at the New York City Housing Authority and the New York City School Construction Authority. Over the course of his tenures at those two authorities and the MTA, Garner and his teams have been responsible for more than $20 billion being awarded to certified MWDBEs and businesses owned by service-disabled veterans. 

Garner also served as president of the founding chapter of One Hundred Black Men of New York City — providing scholarship, mentorship, and inspiration to hundreds of youths in the New York City area. Garner often serves as an advisor to public agencies and the private sector. He is a former treasurer of the New York/New Jersey Minority Supplier Development Council, currently serves on the board of Harlem Hospital, and advises numerous U.S. cities and states on their minority business development and inclusion programs. 

Garner reports to First Deputy Mayor Wright.

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