AT&T Launches 2012-2013 Operation Hand Salute

A national mentoring program for service-disabled veteran CEOs helping them improve their business operations and enhance their ability to win corporate contracts

Dallas, Texas, May 16, 2012

AT&T* announced today the launch of the 2012-2013 Operation Hand Salute (OHS), its groundbreaking supplier diversity program designed to mentor and develop Service Disabled Veteran Owned Business Enterprises (SDVOBEs). The year-long program invites SDVOBE business CEOs to go back to school and learn from the best to improve their businesses and enhance their ability to win valuable corporate contracts.

AT&T is committed to developing and promoting service-disabled veteran-owned businesses – while acknowledging their service to our country – through Operation Hand Salute. AT&T’s goal is to spend 1.5 percent of its total spend with SDVOBEs, a group of businesses that have historically proven to be valuable business solution providers in AT&T’s supply chain.

“A successful military campaign is built around a good plan and solid execution to achieve objectives, which is the approach we take with Operation Hand Salute,” said Tim Harden, president of AT&T Supply Chain and Fleet Operations. “This same philosophy applies to entrepreneurial success. At AT&T, we are proud of our commitment to our service disabled veteran businesses as they help us continue to deliver world-class products and services to our customers.”

OHS’s goal is to address the challenges SDVOBEs face in the marketplace and provide them with the necessary tools to improve their business operations and subsequently their ability to win corporate contracts.

OHS consists of three pillars for success—Education, Mentoring, and Opportunity. First, CEOs will attend a 10-week entrepreneur program provided by JFK University via AT&T TelePresence Solution®. Program topics include developing a competitive assessment, preparing a business and internal management plan, and developing a sales and finance strategy. In the second pillar, CEOs are paired with mentors such as AT&T leaders and suppliers with successful worldwide operations. Each participant will receive the support of a “blue ribbon” task force comprised of other service-disabled veteran-owned business mentors, as well as industry experts. Finally, the CEOs will have the opportunity to participate in AT&T Matchmaker events and “Fast Pitch” sessions with a panel of experienced CEOs and AT&T executives.

For a list of this year’s OHS participants, please log on to the Operation Hand Salute website.

In 2011, AT&T spent $12 billion with certified diverse businesses— 23 percent of the company’s total spend and has been answering the call since 1993 to address the challenges service-disabled veteran business owners face in the marketplace. Operation Hand Salute is only part of AT&T’s Global Supplier Diversity program. AT&T supplier diversity initiatives include the Prime Supplier Program, which aims to increase the use of diverse businesses through subcontracting and value-added reseller arrangements, and the Meet the Primes Matchmaker Program, that provides a forum for qualified prospective diverse suppliers to meet with and discuss contract opportunities with AT&T suppliers and business leaders.