Darryl Peal has hit the ground running as the new executive director of Business and Community Economic Development (BCED) at the University of Minnesota.
The department falls under the university’s Office of Equity and Diversity. Peal takes over for Craig Taylor, who held the post since the department’s creation in 1999. The department’s mission is to create programs and services that provide solutions to social and economic problems that impact urban communities.
Peal comes to the U of M from Ohio where he most recently served as the president and CEO of the Ohio Minority Supplier Development Council. Prior to that, Peal served as the dean of students at Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio. He also served as deputy director of Ohio’s Equal Opportunity Division. Peals has a background in business, education and government. The new executive director said he and the university are committed to doing more business with minority and women businesses – particularly suppliers. He said these efforts can help to level employment rates in the state.
“People who have businesses tend to hire people who look like them, so we want to grow our relationships with women- and minority-owned businesses,” said Peal, while addressing a room of well-wishers at a recent reception held at the U of M’s University of Minnesota Urban Research and Outreach-Engagement Center (UROC).
Peal said under the stewardship of Taylor the university had done a good job of promoting relationships with businesses owned by women and people of color and he plans to continue and advance on the work done by his predecessor.
“The well I drink from I did not dig,” said Peal, quoting an African proverb. “But I have a responsibility to keep the water clear. We’re proud of these numbers (in working with women and minority businesses), but we won’t be proud of these numbers next year (implying greater outreach to women-owned and minority-owned businesses). I love supplier diversity and we’ll be looking to spend money with women and minority owned businesses as much as possible.”
In terms of real dollars, according to Peal, from 2012 to 2014 – in construction alone – the University of Minnesota spent more than $156 million with women and minority owned businesses, with more than $88.7 million going to women owned businesses and $18.5 million being spent with African-American owned businesses.