Virginia Governor Signs Executive Order on Campus

(NSU NEWSROOM—July 3, 2019) — Virginia Governor Ralph Northam signed an executive order on Wednesday at Norfolk State University to expand opportunities throughout the state for the Commonwealth’s Small-, Women-, Minority-, and Service Disabled Veteran-owned businesses (SWaM).

The governor, who signed Executive Order Thirty-Five outside of NSU’s nearly completed, 740-bed residence hall on campus, directed the executive branch agencies and institutions that have statutory authority over the procurement process to achieve a target of 42 percent. The new residence hall facility, which will be finished at the end of July 2019, reached the target the executive order hopes to attain, according to NSU Facilities Management officials.

The executive order also maintains a set-aside for certified micro businesses, which have fewer than 25 employees and no more than $3 million in average annual revenue over a three-year period. In addition, the executive order directs the development of an updated study to determine whether there is disparity in the marketplace regarding contracting with women- and minority-owned businesses. The last study was done in 2011, according to a news release.

Norfolk State University President Dr. Javaune Adams-Gaston, who is in her second week on campus, applauded the governor for making the announcement. The president said public-private partnerships help to promote economic growth, and encouraged the local business community to work with the institution.

“It takes a village to raise a child, and it takes a village to grow a university,” Adams-Gaston said.  “The doors of Norfolk State University are always open for dialogue and partnership…we want to partner with all of you.”

She also noted that Norfolk State has been a strong supporter of Virginia’s SWaM program. “The University has consistently exceeded the Commonwealth’s 42% SWaM procurement spend requirement,” Adams-Gaston said. “This year alone, NSU has procured more than $66 million in goods and services from SWaM vendors and contractors, which represents an overall SWaM procurement spend of 65%.”

Northam told an audience made up of NSU students, faculty, alumni, local business owners and supporters that he wants Virginia to be a place where small businesses can thrive.

“When our small business do well, Virginia does well,” the governor said.  “We want to support them and ensure that we’re are making progress in achieving equity for our women and minority-owned business.

“I believe this executive order will be an important step for reaching these goals and building a Commonwealth of opportunity for everyone.”

NSU alumnus Devon Henry, secretary of the NSU Board of Visitors and CEO and president of Team Henry Enterprises LLC, a SWaM certified contracting firm, was also on hand for the signing. He said the he believes the order will support SWaM businesses in a positive way.

“I would venture to say that the difficulties and the complexities of being an entrepreneur increases by being a minority entrepreneur,” Henry said.  “The starting blocks are in different. The access to capital is different,” he later said.  

For more information about the executive order and news release, click here.