Spotlight On: Gene Waddy, CEO, Alpha Business Solutions

Spotlight On: Gene Waddy, CEO, Alpha Business Solutions

2022-01-20T15:44:27-05:00January 20th, 2022|Economy, New Jersey, Spotlight On|

Alpha Business Solutions2 min read January 2022Gene Waddy is an entrepreneur and the CEO of ALPHA Business Solutions, a minority business enterprise (MBE) that provides payrolling and employer of record for companies across the United States. Gene met with Invest: to discuss the intersectionality of race and economic growth. He also explained how having gainful employment provides people with a sense of pride and ownership in their community. 

How crucial is diversity, equity, and inclusion for growth in New Jersey?

New Jersey companies are increasingly focusing on diversity and inclusion because they recognize that demographics in this country are changing.  Nationally, and within New Jersey, populations are becoming more ethnically and racially diverse.  Forward-thinking companies understand that to succeed, they will have to recognize the buying power and political clout of these newly-empowered and growing populations.  These strategic moves include developing and marketing products aimed at diverse populations as well as the hiring of people, at all levels, that are representative of the communities they’re seeking to serve.  For Fortune 500 firms, the emphasis on diversity and inclusion extends into the supply chain.  Larger companies are implementing supplier diversity programs, increasing contractual opportunities for certified MBEs.  

This focus on economic inclusion can help provide more and better opportunities and outcomes for everyone.  Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) is more than a popular catchphrase; it encompasses a practical strategy for achieving economic growth at the state and national levels.  I’ve been doing business in New Jersey for 25 years and I’ve seen what the public and private sectors are now realizing- the importance of including everyone in the economy, so that we all may benefit.  

What does the state gain when there is more DEI?

Privately-held firms have greater agility than their government or publicly-traded counterparts.  As a private business owner, I can respond to market trends and make adjustments much faster than larger, more bureaucratic organizations.  In the areas of diversity and inclusion, I can make decisions promptly that will both address disparities and benefit my business.  Many of our clients are nonprofit organizations that are mission-driven.  They seek to help populations that are traditionally underserved, that struggle to find opportunities for meaningful work.  For example, people who were formerly incarcerated, disabled, or perceived as old, can face significant challenges when seeking employment.  With ALPHA, we’re able to address many of these social issues by servicing firms that have opportunities for these disadvantaged populations.  At the same time that we are helping others, we are growing our business, which itself is diversely-staffed.     

When ALPHA helps its clients fill jobs for underserved populations, New Jersey sees the revitalization of its communities.  When people have meaningful employment, they develop a sense of pride and ownership in their work; they become more invested in their communities and take better care of their neighborhoods.  At the state level, New Jersey benefits by developing thriving communities and a more vibrant and resilient tax base.  Communities see improvements such as reductions in crime rates and the influx of new businesses.  These are the things that can happen when the entire community partakes in the American Dream.

What partnerships are helping you to connect communities to business opportunities?

Creating and nurturing strategic partnerships have really helped us grow in the private sector.  Our most important partner in helping us achieve our vision for diversity and equity in the American workplace is the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC).  They are the organization that certifies businesses as legitimately minority-owned.  They both investigate and advocate for minority businesses, helping them to grow and to become part of a greater community.  

As a board member of the Business School of Fairleigh Dickinson University, I help put together scholarship opportunities for minority students.  This not only supports individual and community empowerment, but it also helps us get a pulse on the education sector by giving us insights by seeing what students chose for their majors.  As a business owner, it’s important to know what the needs of the business community are and to be able to connect employment opportunities with the students who are coming out of our schools and universities.  We help mold the curriculum so that graduates come out employable.  Finding skilled talent is a major issue for businesses that are looking to develop or relocate to New Jersey.  We need to do everything we can to retain New Jersey’s most valuable resource- it’s talent base.

What are some of the trends in DEI that you are helping accelerate?

It wasn’t long ago that many companies were hesitant to have meaningful conversations about diversity.  It just wasn’t something that was discussed.  Things have changed since then- a lot.  Now, companies are requiring racial and ethnic breakdowns of the candidates they are hiring.  Now, we are having these conversations about race, and more importantly, we’re seeing proposals that explicitly address the need for diversity, equity, and inclusion.  It’s a great time to be a minority business in New Jersey, to be able to serve both the state’s needs and those of our underserved communities.  

I’m passionate in my support of minority businesses and minority entrepreneurs and I take every opportunity to share what I’ve learned and to mentor others.  As business creators, we not only build opportunities for our staff and families, but for whole communities.  In my role as CEO of ALPHA, I try to help other businesses achieve what I’ve been fortunate enough to do, and to do it while staying in New Jersey.  It’s immensely rewarding to be able to provide a livelihood for yourself, your family, your employees, and your community.  When you offer someone a job, you change their life’s trajectory.  We’re here not just to grow a thriving business, but to help businesses and entrepreneurs realize the impact they can have on society.

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