DESA’s Diane Sumpter Receives National Award for Lifetime Achievement

Diane E. Sumpter, President, CEO of DESA, Inc.

Diane E. Sumpter, President, CEO of DESA, Inc.

COLUMBIA, SC (September 15, 2020) — DESA, Inc. is pleased to announce that Diane E. Sumpter, its President and CEO, has been awarded the Abe Venable Legacy Award for Lifetime Achievement by the US Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA).

DESA, under Sumpter’s leadership, has operated the South Carolina MBDA Business Center for 27 years, making it one of the longest-running Center the MBDA network.


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Sumpter has been long dedicated to the development and success of minority-owned businesses, even prior to her work with MBDA. One of her first opportunities to assist businesses was as an employee of MH Clarkson for South Carolina Department Transportation. When that firm did not regain the contract, Sumpter bid and won it for her newly formed firm, D.E. Sumpter and Associates, later called DESA.

“My passion for minority-owned businesses has always been there, but MBDA gave me a platform and the support that fueled my efforts. I am grateful for the collaboration; we share the same goal,” Sumpter says.

Sumpter’s award is part of National MED Week, a week of speakers, sessions, and resources for minority business owners. Sumpter will be presented the award virtually, during a session called How They Did It. Registration for MED Week and Sumpter’s session can be found at MBDA.gov.

The Abe Venable Legacy Award for Lifetime Achievement celebrates high standards of excellence, dedication, and accomplishment over a sustained period of time. The award is granted to an individual who has played an integral role in the creative, technical or professional progress of minority business development over the course of his/her life.