By Jim Hagerty
DOWNTOWN — As someone who grew up in Rockford and watched his parents build an international company that began in a one-room office, SupplyCore CEO Peter Provenzano has cherished a sense of community over the last 30 years.
“It was important for me to not only to be raised by my family, but by the community,” Provenzano said. “It’s what shaped me as a kid. I grew up here and am very grateful to still have our headquarters here. Hopefully, we’ve been a good neighbor for the last 30 years and hopefully we’ll be a good neighbor for the next 30.”
SupplyCore began in 1987 on Rock Street, in the old Barber Colman complex, where it operated for 15 years. There were about dozen employees back then. In the last two decades, SupplyCore has grown into a local workforce of more than 130 in two downtown locations.
The company was awarded its first major Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) contract as a maintenance repair and operations (MRO) vendor in 1998 for the north-central U.S. Prime Vendor for the North Central U.S., including Illinois. Eight contracts followed. The company now has 13 facilities in the U.S., Japan and South Korea. They work with more than 6,500 suppliers that support 82 countries.
“Over the years, we’ve played a significant impact on federal acquisition policy over year years,” Provenzano said. “So, it’s a chance to reflect on our body of work.”
On a day-to-day basis, SupplyCore policies have touched not only the federal government, but small businesses in markets across the country, mostly by way of supply chain efficiency.
“As an integrator that’s able to manage large, supply chain programs for our government and others,” Provenzano said, “we make financial and information flow more efficient which ultimately saves taxpayer dollars by lowering acquisition costs of the products we are supplying, and lowering costs to procure–the operating expenses associated with storing and coordinating those items and moving things from Point A to Point B more quickly.”
In terms of urban renewal, something Rockford has lacked since SupplyCore started when it quickly losing its standing as one of the country’s main manufacturing hubs, it’s not without hurdles–high ones. Inside of a decade, major industry had left the city, and a mere shell of what Rockford used to be was left. It’s what was placed in the hands of those who remained, SupplyCore and a host of community partners. It’s taken time and some doing, but initiatives like the Rock River Development Partnership, which spawned Rockford City Market, are what Provenzano says have directly helped Rockford rebuild starting with the downtown core.
“We’ve been able to put some of our capital to work on those other projects,” the CEO said. “You can take our integration work and apply it to human capital supply chains and social services in the community.”
SupplyCore also sponsors a host of local and national charities. Company associates at all levels donate their time and financial resources to the Vet’s Roll program, Rockford MELD and Veterans Drop-In Center, to name a few.
“The employees select charities each year to give to,” Provenzano said. “And that has enabled me to do some of those things personally as well.”
Through Joseph James Partners, SupplyCore’s development wing, Provenzano has spearheaded a host of ongoing downtown development such as projects at the Millennium Center, upcoming Trekk Design building at Mulberry and North Main streets, and a number of redeveloped retail and restaurant spaces.
SupplyCore’s headquarters is at 303 N. Main Street, across from the Coronado Performing Arts Center. R.