Recognizing Diversity

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DaimlerChrysler took center stage at the NiaOnline Leadership Summit in Chicago. The auto company, which does more than $3 billion worth of business annually with minority suppliers, was recognized for its commitment to helping minority business and supplier development. “The Chrysler Group has a long-standing history of being engaged with minority business enterprises, and we look forward to continuing our efforts because it’s good for our business,” says Debra J. Nelson (pictured above left with NiaOnline Co-founder Bonita Coleman). Nelson, senior manager, communications, accepted the award on the firm’s behalf.

Citizens Trust Bank (No. 3 on the BE BANKS list with $292.4 million in assets) along with its parent company, Citizens Bancshares Corporation, plans to acquire CFS Bancshares Inc. in Birmingham, Alabama (see for more information). If the firms should seal the deal, Citizens Trust Bank will reign as the second largest, black-owned bank with more than $400 million in assets, second only to New York City’s Carver Federal Savings Bank (No. 1 on BE BANKS list with $449.5 million in assets).

Expect prices for prescription drugs to climb in the coming years. According to the 2001 Drug Trend Report released by Express Scripts at its 2002 conference, drug costs will grow by as much as 15.9% in 2002 and will continue to increase, although at a declining rate, until 2006. The firm, which provides the pharmacy coverage component of company health benefit plans and is based in St. Louis, will feature highlights from its conference and information about the report on its Website (

Ron Mays of Montgomery Jet Center in Montgomery, Alabama (BE small business award entrant), will close a $7 million contract with Ford and Hyundai.