Changing the world, one supplier at a time
By Eric Garcia
Blue Wave wants to change the world, one supplier at a time.
Major corporations have complex supplier qualification requirements spread across multiple owners throughout the company. Small businesses often do not understand the breadth and depth of these requirements, making it difficult for corporations to achieve supplier diversity goals. Blue Wave is a certified, minority-owned company that provides the solution to this challenge across all industry sectors.
Blue Wave’s co-founders, Eduardo Nuñez and Alma Del Toro, are passionate about this because they understand that supplier diversity not only fulfills corporate sustainability goals, it also increases corporate competitiveness by accessing a diverse population of qualified, innovative, and highly motivated minority-owned businesses. Supplier diversity is smart business.
A native of Buenos Aires, Eduardo began his career with IBM. But as he recalled, “Opportunity calls only once in life.’ Switching from IT to energy in 1988, he entered the procurement field and worked in Brussels, then Tokyo. Following the merger which created ExxonMobil, he moved to Houston to manage the merger of the two companies’ supply chains. Eventually, he rose to become the General Manager for Global Procurement, managing a team of 1500 people. “It was a wonderful journey,” he recalls.
One of the lessons he drew from his career is that leadership consists of “Transforming ordinary people into an extraordinary team.” When he retired from ExxonMobil in 2018, he decided to apply this to the world of small business.
His partner Alma is a US-Mexican lawyer with a master’s in international business. She has over 25 years of experience, seventeen in global leadership positions with British Petroleum (BP) that include Head of Finance for Global Technology, Gulf of Mexico and Senior Business Development Advisor. Alma left BP to follow her dream and create a venture that developed business and communities such as Blue Wave.
“My humble upbringing, my roots have always motivated me to give back, to want to make a difference by creating opportunities and opening doors,” she says.
Eduardo and Alma joined forces to create Blue Wave. Its transformational Blue Wave Supplier Development Program mission helps diverse suppliers understand the international standards required by corporations and government organizations to comply with these standards and compete for exciting new business opportunities.
Currently operating in the US and Mexico with plans for global expansion, Blue Wave offers a suite of proprietary methodologies, technologies, training curriculum, and document library that provides an intelligent, intuitive, bilingual, and scalable platform that runs in the Amazon Cloud. It consolidates international standards across seven pillars: Health, Security, Safety and Environmental (HSSE), Cyber Security, Quality, Corporate Policies, Technical Capabilities and Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG). Suppliers perform self-assessments to identify gaps and reach compliance through development workshops, tools, and coaching support. It's a winning formula and more than 450 suppliers have joined to date.
This caught the attention of the American Petroleum Institute (API), which is committed to developing diverse suppliers in the energy sector. After a competitive analysis, API chose Blue Wave as a nationwide partner in a multi-year program that kicked off in April 2022 in partnership with the HMSDC (Houston Minority Supplier Development Council). Nearly six months later, the first cohort of twenty celebrated their graduation from the program at a ceremony at Houston’s Petroleum Club sponsored by API.
One such graduate was Jesus Adame, founder of Straight Line Industrial Services (SLIS), a Hispanic-owned business dedicated to insulation, scaffolding, and heat tracing services. A native of Chihuahua, Jesus arrived in the US in 1990 and worked with his brothers Luis and Juan in the heat tracing field. SLIS was founded in 2004, and earned contracts with companies like Shell, Magellan and others. But when he heard about the program through the HMSDC, he soon enrolled.
“Blue Wave was the right fit for us,” he explained. “The program will give us the exposure we need to grow. And it’s just the beginning.”
The participation of API was definitely a plus, Jesus recalls. API represents all segments of America’s natural gas and oil industry, with nearly 600 members, including companies like ExxonMobil, Chevron, and Hess.
“API is proud to partner with Blue Wave and HMSDC to help drive meaningful change within our communities and supply chains. Blue Wave has helped API discover new and impactful ways to mentor and support diverse suppliers in the natural gas and oil industry. We look forward to continuing our work together and celebrating the growth of diverse suppliers in the energy industry.” says Allison Kajs, Manager of API’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion programs.
Blue Wave is also spearheading an initiative with the US Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (USHCC), which represents 260 chambers around the country and over 5 million Hispanic-owned businesses. Last May, at an energy summit in Santa Fe, Blue Wave signed a Memorandum of Understanding to make the program available to USHCC members. This was part of the agenda of the annual USHCC conference in Phoenix. Kicking off in November 2022, the program will help Hispanic-owned businesses across all industries compete for contracting opportunities with corporate America.
“The USHCC is proud to launch a new program in partnership with Blue Wave to better prepare and train scaling Latino-owned businesses across the country. We will strengthen the creation of more business contracts and opportunities for our Hispanic Business Enterprises and our members with Fortune 1000 companies and all public entities. Blue Wave is a proven technology platform and procurement curriculum that will make a positive difference to better prepare our small businesses to succeed,” said Ramiro Cavazos, President & CEO of the USHCC.
What’s next for Blue Wave? Coming in 2023 is the Blue Wave Academy, which Eduardo describes as a “world class learning experience.” It will consist of over 100 videos and online learning modules to expand the reach to a global audience. Eduardo and Alma will leverage working with their current multinational clients and present the program to the United Nations and the World Bank to reach suppliers in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
Judging from its progress so far, Blue Wave may indeed change the world.