Toyota Motor North America is No. 34 on the DiversityInc Top 50 Companies list

At Cobo Hall in downtown Detroit Nov. 9, the 28th Toyota Opportunity Exchange brought together minority, and women-owned businesses and representatives from Tier 1 suppliers to network, help foster relationships and strengthen the automotive supplier base.

This was the first time the event was held in Detroit. Michigan, home to 60 of the top 100 North American automotive suppliers and over 1,700 automotive-related manufacturing facilities, is the ideal location to bring together representatives from companies that drive the automotive industry with companies that aspire to do the same. Michigan's strong automotive history and vast supplier base was also the catalyst for Toyota's recent $154 Million investment to expand its research and development operations and create its Supplier Center in the state.

"With the relocation of our purchasing team as well as the construction of our Supplier Center in Michigan, it only made sense to bring the Opportunity Exchange event to Detroit. The goal of Opportunity Exchange is to connect diverse companies with Tier I suppliers, and the largest concentration of those Tier 1's is right here in Michigan," said Robert Young, group vice president for Toyota Purchasing, Supplier Engineering Development (SED) and Cost Planning. "By strengthening critical skills, business insight, and networking, our goal is to turn today's connections into tomorrow's relationships."

Throughout its 28-year history, the Toyota Opportunity Exchange has allowed hundreds of diverse businesses to cultivate and strengthen relationships within the automotive space.

"As the Piston Group continues to grow, we have consistently delivered high customer satisfaction, high quality and low cost, enabling our selection as a supplier to Toyota," said Vinnie Johnson, founder, chairman and CEO of Piston Group. "We are proud of our partnership with Toyota, and thrilled to participate in the Opportunity Exchange."

The event includes a trade show, seminar and panel discussions that focus on how diverse suppliers can turn relationships into opportunities.

"Our annual participation in the Toyota Opportunity Exchange has been a key component in our exponential business growth with Toyota in chemical management, and continues to spur creativity within the Chemico organization," said Leon C. Richardson, president & CEO, The Chemico Group. "We are thrilled that this year's event is being held in our hometown -- the Motor City."

Beginning in 1989 with 300 attendees, Toyota Opportunity Exchange has grown to over 1,800 attendees and has generated hundreds of millions in contracts for suppliers.

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