City Celebrates Diverse Business Partnerships

Communications Director

Kristin Farley
[email protected]
(865) 215-2589

400 Main St., Room 691
Knoxville, TN 37902

Last item for navigation
  • Share on Facebook
  • Share on Twitter
  • Share via Email
News item

City Celebrates Impact of Diverse Businesses

Posted: 09/29/2023
2023 Diversity Business Enterprise Award WinnersThe City of Knoxville recognized seven diverse business enterprises, also known as DBEs, during the eighth annual Diversity Business Enterprise Awards Ceremony held on the morning of Sept. 28, 2023, at Lakeshore Park’s Marble Hall. 

DBEs are small, women-owned and minority-owned businesses. 

Mayor Indya Kincannon welcomed and addressed guests along with Purchasing Agent Penny Owens and Assistant Purchasing Agent Pamela Cotham of the Small Business & Diversity Outreach Office. 

“I want to thank our Purchasing staff for their leadership in making inclusion a priority across City departments and working with business owners who want a seat at the table and an opportunity to bid on City jobs and contracts,” she said. 

This year’s winners are:  

Southern Safety Supply - Impact Award

SCU Bus Lines - Above and Beyond

Trusted Field Services - Rising Star Award

Expoquip, Inc. - Minority-Owned Business of the Year Award

Tennessee Fire Equipment & Safety Supplies - Woman-Owned Business of the Year Award

Progression Electric - Small Business of the Year Award

Edison Electric, LLC - Distinguished Service

Watch the videos below of each winner.

Employees who procure goods and services nominated a total of 31 businesses. A committee representing multiple City departments reviewed the nominations and selected the winners. 

Addressing this year’s award recipients, Mayor Kincannon said, “I appreciate the work you do in helping the City meet our goals. We couldn’t do it without you.”

Knoxville Fire Department Assistant Chief Carla Jones received the Employee Advocate of the Year Award for her efforts to encourage purchases with small, minority, and women-owned businesses. Also at the ceremony, four City departments received DBE Advocate Awards based on the amount of discretionary dollars (purchases under $12,500) they spend with minority- and woman-owned businesses.

The honorees are Knoxville Police Department, Engineering, the Office of Special Events and the 311 Office of Customer Service Innovation. 

To learn more about the City's Diversity Business Enterprise Awards and to see winners from every year,  please visit

For information about the City’s Purchasing Department and purchasing and bidding processes, visit