June 2005

Diane E. Sumpter

Entrepreneur and Businesswoman

Diane E. Sumpter, founder, president and chief executive officer of DESA, Inc., has spent more than 20 years working as a catalyst for change in South Carolina and the nation. As a business leader, she has concentrated on economic development while leading advocacy efforts for small, minority and women owned businesses.

As a community activist, Sumpter has dedicated time and resources to the causes of educational advancement and cultural awareness. As chief executive officer, she has boldly set the pace for DESA’s short- and long-term corporate growth while earning national recognition for exceptional service to minority and women-owned businesses.

Sumpter has strategically grown DESA from a small local enterprise into a successful and diverse corporate entity comprised of four major in three states. The company’s four business lines include Professional/Administrative Management, Construction Services, Facilities Support and Business Services.

DESA provides information and services from project conception to completion. Examples of DESA’s services are conference and events management, construction project management, facilities support and maintenance and administrative support to federal, state, municipal and private entities.

Sumpter’s commitment to the development and growth of minority and women-owned business is evidenced by her work with the South Carolina Minority Business Development Center (operated by DESA). The Center has assisted businesses by identifying, supporting and acting as a liaison to facilitate business growth for more than a decade.

Since DESA began in 1986, it has been awarded professional service contracts from the United States Department of Health and Human Services, the U.S. Department of Commerce, the Minority Business Development Agency, the U.S. Department of the Army, the U.S. Department of the Air Force, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Small Business Administration, as well as numerous contracts from the private sector.

In addition to being a board and life member of the NAACP, Sumpter is a member of the following Boards of Directors: SC Small Business Chamber of Commerce, SC Council on Competitiveness, SC Minority Contractors Association, East Richland County Public Service District, Partners in Education for Richland County School District Two.

A few of the awards that have been received by DESA and Sumpter are: Cited as one of the “People to Watch in Business in the Midlands for 2001” by The State newspaper, “2002 Top Performance Award for the South Carolina Statewide Minority Business Development Center,” AS-Salaam Construction Education Foundation’s Community Service Award for 2002, and the 2003 Visionary Service Award.

A native of Jacksonville, Florida, Sumpter moved to Columbia, South Carolina and graduated from Booker T. Washington High School. She continued her education by earning her undergraduate and graduate degrees in English and Social Work, respectively, from the University of South Carolina. A proponent of life long learning, she has completed numerous professional development courses throughout her career.