By Barney Blakeney
Charleston realtor, former procurement officer, CEO, administrator and Charleston County School Board chairwoman Ruth Jordan has been named Manager of the Charleston Minority Business Enterprise Office. Jordan took the position as Charleston MBE Office manager June 25. She succeeded Theron Snype, who held the position the past 12 years.
Jordan brings to the position an impressive list of credentials – she has been a licensed realtor since 1984, was interim CEO of Fetter Health Care Network, was Director of Government Relations for Williams & Associates Consultant Group and for 15 years was a procurement officer at the Charleston Naval Weapons Station. Her credentials make her innately qualified to manage the city’s official minority business advocacy department.
As MBE Office manager, Jordan says her duties will entail recruiting, connecting and helping to sustain minority businesses that partner with the city in business activities. The task will be challenging, she said. The city has some 300 minority businesses in its partnership data base and has set goals of 20 percent participation for services procurement and 12 percent procurement for supplies and construction. Coming out of the gate, she is looking at records to determine how successful the city has been at meeting those goals.
Jordan anticipates increasing the city’s volume of procurement of goods and services from minority businesses and ensuring all departments meet the stated goals. Currently, there is no central reporting system in place to determine that. Part of her responsibility will be to establish such a system. Once the system is in place, department heads will be held accountable for meeting the goals, she said.
Expanding the city’s volume of business conducted with minority firms also means increasing and diversifying minority businesses partners, Jordan said. The city’s minority business certification requirements are less than those for the state, so state certified disadvantaged businesses automatically can be certified to do business with the city, she said. But they first must complete the city’s certification application process. For information about the process, call Jordan at (843) 724-3474 or go to the city’s website at www.charleston-sc.gov. Another of her tasks will be making the application process electronic and more user-friendly, she said.
In addition to regular reports to city council, Jordan said the office will re-establish the eight-member Minority Business Advisory Committee, which has been dormant the past several years.