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 GTE Surpasses Industry Norm for Fifth Straight Year
 THOUSAND OAKS, Calif., July 28 /PRNewswire/ -- Lenora Gobert and Ana

Rivera know what it's like to struggle to make a dream come true. Two years ago, these two women, one African-American and the other a Latina, decided to open their own communications firm in Los Angeles.
 "We knew we faced risks in the business world as women and as minorities," said Gobert, president of Gobert, Rivera & Associates (GR&A). "Compounding the risk is the weak economy. We worked hard and slowly started to grow, though, and then we were able to form a working relationship with GTE, which should help make us even stronger."
 GR&A competed for and won a contract from GTE California. The information communications company hired GR&A to provide an advertising campaign to reach a variety of ethnic audiences.
 The contract was a result of GTE California's Women, Minority and Disabled Veterans Business Enterprise (WMDVBE) program, established in 1988 to increase opportunities for women and minorities in business. This year, GTE added disabled veterans to its procurement opportunity program.
 Since the program was adopted five years ago, GTE has been a leader among utility companies for providing business opportunities to WMDVBE companies. Last year (1992) marked the fifth consecutive year that GTE exceeded the regulatory mandate to spend at least 20 percent of discretionary procurement dollars with WMBE. All utility companies are required by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to have WMDVBE programs.
 Last year, from a base of nearly $350 million, more than 23 percent of the products and services utilized by GTE were provided by WMBE, totaling $81 million. Additionally, $6.3 million was reported as spent with WMBE subcontractors.
 "GTE is more committed than ever to keeping California's economy strong," said Larry Sparrow, president of GTE West Area. "It's not just good corporate citizenship, its makes strategic business sense. GTE cannot be strong unless all our business partners and vendors also are on solid footing."
 Sparrow said GTE plans to expand WMDVBE efforts in 1993 to ensure "open, fair competition among qualified companies for GTE's vendor business."
 John Rodriguez, GTE's WMDVBE administrator, explained the importance of the program. "Companies like GTE must provide a level playing field on which businesses can compete as equals, regardless of ethnic or cultural background.
 "A high level of corporate support is imperative at this time when spending opportunities may be declining in companies," Rodriguez said.
 For Rivera and Gobert, GTE's commitment to WMDVBE means they were given a chance to gain a business relationship in an arena where the biggest companies, because of size and resources, usually have competitive advantages.
 Rivera said the GTE contract helps to ensure significant growth for her company, which means she and her partner can, in turn, contribute to their communities.
 "Our company hopes to open up new opportunities for other minorities and women. We have been thinking in that direction since we met 15 years go," said Gobert. "We would encourage other businesses to do the same, because these partnerships would stimulate growth from all sides of the economy and result in a more viable business climate in California."
 In addition to continuing to promote contracts with WMDVBE, GTE plans to continue its close involvements with the various women and minority trade associations that serve as advocates for their members. This year, GTE also will continue to actively identify service disabled veteran-owned businesses that can compete for procurement opportunities within the company.
 GTE California provides local and short-haul long-distance telephone service to 3.1 million customers in 330 communities, mostly in Southern California.
 -0- 7/28/93
 /CONTACT: Jaya Koilpillai of GTE California, 800-227-5556/

CO: GTE California ST: California IN: TLS SU:

BP-MF -- LA045 -- 6816 07/28/93 14:43 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jul 28, 1993

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