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The Virginia Minority Supplier Development Council (VMSDC) has honored Richard Coughlan, senior associate dean at University of Richmond’s Robins School of Business, with its Chairman’s Challenge award for his work in creating a leadership training program for Virginia minority business executives.

Supported by Richmond-area corporations Altria, Dominion Resources and MeadWestvaco, Coughlan launched the program in partnership with VMSDC last February with 20 executives from certified minority businesses across the commonwealth. The inaugural group completed the training last September.

Professors specializing in strategic management, accounting, negotiations and leadership and the Robins School’s Executive Education division tailored the curriculum to VMSDC’s membership.

Connie Smith, VMSDC’s board chairman, said that Coughlan’s “hard work and diligence to charting a new course of action results in new hope of reaching new horizons that impact the greater good in the business arena.” She called Coughlan “a trailblazer in the field of education.”

Smith called the program “rich in knowledge sharing and unparalleled relationship building among students, professors, community leaders and executives.” She also noted that Coughlan continues to develop activities for program alumni that further enhance their knowledge and skills.

In accepting the award, Coughlan told the audience at VMSDC’s annual awards luncheon, “The University of Richmond is very much interested in becoming the university for Richmond.”

“By helping chief executives expand their firms’ capabilities, we aim to increase their chances for building new partnerships with major corporations across the country,” Coughlan said