A Deep Dive into the Value of Business Certifications

Event Replay

Minority Business Series presented by KeyBank


This webinar took place on November 18th, 2021. Watch the replay below. 
One of the sure-fire ways to grow and scale your business is through bidding on government contracts. But often, there is a particular certification you need to do so. In this session, we take a detailed look at Business certifications and the value they add to your bottom line. Hear from Corporate, City, State, Federal, and Private certifying organizations.

Session Panel & Speakers


Deborah D. Oatts

President & CEO,
Nubian Construction Group

Deborah Oatts is President & CEO of Nubian Transport Management (d/b/a) Nubian Construction Group, a program/construction management company with divisions including tri-axle trucking transportation and outreach compliance program management company headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana. As a multi-talented businesswoman, Deborah has acquired a rich background through her 30+ years of professional experience. Deborah founded Nubian Transport Management in 1994 after a rewarding career at Eli Lilly & Company. She served for nearly ten years as Chief Financial Officer and Vice President of Human Resources for a family-owned business established during the mid-1980s.


Kesha Rich

Director of Certification,
Indiana Department of Administration

Kesha Rich is the Director of Certification with the Indiana Department of Administration, Division of Supplier Diversity. The Division of Supplier Diversity is the only state certifying agency that assists minority, woman, and veteran-owned businesses by creating a fair, competitive, and equitable business environment all while working to increase the utilization of minority, woman, and veteran-owned businesses on State of Indiana contracts. Kesha started with the Division as a Certification Coordinator and through fearlessly tackling increased responsibilities, has advanced in the areas of Business Development and Outreach and Contract Compliance. Kesha earned her Bachelor of Science in Business Management and now returns to her first passion, MBE/WBE and IVOSB Certification.
Kesha is driven by her passion and willingness to help others. This has not only been a great asset to the Division but in the supplier diversity community. It has been, and remains, her goal while with the Division to assist and educate those who do not have access to what the Division of Supplier Diversity has to offer.


Vernice D. Mathis

Business Opportunity Specialist, Indiana District
Office U.S. Small Business Administration

Vernice D. Mathis has over 30 years of federal government service in Washington D.C. and Indiana. During her 26 years with the U.S. Small Business Administration, she has held several positions, including Office Automation Specialist and Loan Processing Assistant. Vernice currently serves as a Business Opportunity Specialist for SBA’s Indiana District Office.


Derrick Casson

INDOT DBE Certification & Supportive Services Manager,
Economic Opportunity Division

Derrick Casson has served as the DBE Certification Manager for the Indiana Department of Transportation(INDOT)since 2008. In this position, Derrick oversees INDOT’s administration of the DBE certification program and the DBE supportive services program. Derrick is a certification and contract compliance expert, where he has worked for the Indiana Department of Administration, MWBE Division and now for INDOT. He has processed thousands of certification applications and conducted numerous DBE and MWBE fraud investigations. Some of Derrick’s areas of expertise include 49 CFR Parts 23 & 26, 25 IACArticle 5, DBE/ MWBE Fraud Awareness/Investigations,Contractor Compliance, Title VI/ ADA and Supplier Diversity. Derrick has participated on numerous panels and facilitated certification workshops and seminars across the state elucidating the details of certification and contract compliance. This activity has allowed Derrick to form many relationships with organizations surrounding diversity procurement such as ICA, MBEC, One Southern Indiana, SBDC and IMSDC.


Luther Taylor

Mid-States Minority Supplier Development Council Director, MBE Services

Luther Taylor Jr. served over eleven years as the Deputy Director of Certification with the Indiana Department of Administration Division’s Office of Supplier Diversity. He has extensive knowledge and experience in Supplier Diversity, MWBE Certification, Contract Compliance and Procurement. Taylor also worked as a Business Development Manager for a Certified Minority Business Enterprise.


Joseph Lee

Contract Compliance Officer, City of Indianapolis

Joseph Lee brings several years of experience in the private sector working in the Hospitality and Tourism industry as well as in education. Prior to joining OMWBD, Joe worked as a buyer for the Office of Finance and Management-Purchasing Division. In his role as a buyer, he championed OMWBD’s mission as well as serving the needs for the City in procurement. He is a native of Indianapolis, graduating from George Washington High School. He received his post-secondary education and degree from IUPUI. In his leisure time, Joe enjoys traveling and pursuing his passion as a professional photographer.

Series Sponsors & Partners