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GTE CALIFORNIA AWARDS $159 MILLION AND 28.2 PERCENT OF 1991 BUSINESS TO WOMEN AND MINORITIES; ECLIPSES GOAL FOR FOURTH CONSECUTIVE YEAR

GTE CALIFORNIA AWARDS $159 MILLION AND 28.2 PERCENT OF 1991 BUSINESS
 TO WOMEN AND MINORITIES; ECLIPSES GOAL FOR FOURTH CONSECUTIVE YEAR
 THOUSAND OAKS, Calif., March 3 /PRNewswire/ -- GTE California today announced that it awarded nearly $159 million and more than 28 percent of its vended business contracts to women and minority business enterprises (WMBE) in 1991.
 "We're extremely pleased that we've exceeded our annual goals for the fourth consecutive year," said Mike Crawford, GTE vice president and general manager. "We conducted $158.6 million and 28.2 percent of our procurement business with women and minorities in 1991."
 GTE California has led all state utilities by meeting or exceeding its annual WMBE goals in four of the last five years. Effective in 1988, the California Public Utilities Commission's mandate was for all major state utilities to conduct at least 20 percent of their procurement business with WMBE by 1993.
 GTE set a blistering pace, nearly hitting the five-year goal its first year, when in 1988, it awarded 19.3 percent and $83.6 million of its business contracts to WMBE.
 "We've met or exceeded our WMBE goals in two basic ways," Crawford said. "First, we have a commitment to the program, tops-down. All our executives have annual WMBE goals which are supported throughout our operations.
 "Secondly, we conducted extensive outreach programs with women, minority organizations and WMBE on how to do business with major utilities."
 After its pace-setting start in 1988, GTE boosted its performance, giving $120.9 million and 27.5 percent of its business to WMBE in 1989. Despite decreasing vendor dollars, GTE had another record year in 1990, with $120.6 million and 37 percent of procurement going to WMBE.
 "Although our total WMBE dollars increased in 1991, our percentage was down to moving products and services excluded in past years, into the appropriate categories," Crawford explained.
 "This change was necessary because, in late 1991, we identified potential WMBE vendors capable of providing goods and services in areas previously regarded as 'excludable' business," he said.
 Under PUC rules, utilities can exclude business contracts that are highly capital intensive, or goods and service contracts for which WMBE cannot yet compete. For GTE, that includes items such as certain types of telephone cable and million-dollar digital and electronic computers that carry or "switch" customers' phone calls.
 In 1991, GTE excluded about $304 million in such business, which includes $140 million spent with GTE affiliate companies.
 As part of its outreach program, GTE has worked closely with the American Business Women Assn.; Asian Business Assn.; Assn. of Black Women Entrepreneurs; Black Business Assn. of Los Angeles; Inland Empire Purchasing Council, Joint Conference Inc.; Latin Business Assn.; NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund Inc.; National Assn. of Women Business Owners; National Minority Purchasing Council; Southern California Regional Purchasing Council; and The National Center for American Indian Enterprises Development.
 "Through our executives' leadership, our employees' commitment, our outreach efforts and our open-door policy for critics to closely examine our results, we've made believers out of skeptics," Crawford said.
 In 1988, The Denver Group was contracted to audit and evaluate GTE's WMBE efforts. TDG ultimately credited GTE with more WMBE dollars than the company had claimed, improving its WMBE performance.
 Adding to its commitment to women and minorities, GTE recently has developed a list of disabled veteran business enterprises, but is awaiting PUC direction on how to distinguish service-connected disabled veterans from disabled veterans.
 One major difference applying to service-connected disabled veterans businesses is that they must be 100 percent owned by disabled persons, compared to 51 percent ownership for women and other minority groups.
 "Even with a possible decline in our procurement dollars, we're confident we can meet or exceed our 1992 goal," Crawford said. "That goal includes awarding 13 percent of WMBE procurements to minority men, 2 percent to minority women and 5 percent to non-minority women."
 -0- 3/3/92
 /CONTACT: Larry Cox of GTE California, 800-227-5556 or 805-373-1653 (out-of-state)/ CO: GTE California ST: California IN: TLS SU:


DM-CH -- LA026 -- 4650 03/03/92 16:49 EST
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Date:Mar 3, 1992
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