Construction industry leaders gather for forum on diversity

Declared a “groundbreaking” event for the industry, Gilbane’s First Annual National Partners Council Forum addressed diversity and inclusion as well as building partnerships with minority, veteran, and women-owned businesses.

December 06, 2011 |
Gilbane Construction Co. Diversity Forum

In an effort to promote and strengthen the role of minority, women, and veteran-owned firms in the construction industry, Gilbane Building Co. recently convened its first-ever National Partners Council Forum at its world headquarters in Providence, RI. The Forum, the first of its kind in the construction management industry, brought together presidents and chief executives from more than 15 minority and women-owned firms from around the U.S., along with 10 members of Gilbane’s senior executive team. During the two-day event, attendees participated in a dynamic exchange of ideas on industry best practices as well as building and sustaining strategic partnerships that will extend beyond a single project focus.

“The Gilbane National Partners Council’s Forum was truly groundbreaking,” said Mark O’Luck, Chief Executive Officer of New York-based Spectrum Personal Communications Corp. “The great thing about the Forum was how frank and candid the discussions were. The knowledge gained and information shared by Gilbane and members of the Council is so important during this period of contraction in the construction industry. The sharing of information from the National Partners Council and Gilbane will only serve to foster stronger business relationships going forward.”

“Historically our industry places too much focus simply on winning jobs and often the decision to work together is centered solely on that goal,” explained William J. Gilbane, Jr., President and Chief Operating Officer of Gilbane Building Company. “We believe that not nearly enough time is spent growing the relationships between companies and sharing skill development that will benefit all of us in the industry. This Forum brought together an extraordinary array of industry leaders to discuss supporting the growth of minority firms to pursue, perform, and deliver client-focused opportunities.”

He added, “Some attendees have built a relationship with Gilbane over 50 years or more while for others, the Forum marked the start of what we hope will be a mutually beneficial relationship. The benefit of this shared knowledge will make all of our companies and our industry stronger.”

Commenting on the immediate, practical impact of the Forum, Rosana Privitera  Biondo, President of Mark One Electric Company of Kansas City, MO, and a 37-year veteran of the industry, remarked, “I was stunned that Gilbane would be so kind as to invest the time and resources to bring minority and women-owned businesses together and to share so much information with us, as well as to learn of so many minority contractors around the country. It’s encouraging to see so many that have done well. There was a lot of teambuilding going on in the room and I look forward to reaching out to people in the Forum to potentially do business together.” BD+C

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