- Dec 1, 2020
On November 17, 2020, the training component of the first virtual Gilbane Rising Contractor Program reached its conclusion after seven weekly sessions covering construction industry best practices, including subjects from accounting to business development.
A group of 38 minority, women-owned, and disadvantaged businesses (MWDBEs) from New England, the New York City metro area, Washington D.C., Georgia, and South Carolina successfully completed the program, earning “Rising Contractor” status with Gilbane. As part of this completion, each Rising Contractor is now engaged in a mentorship arrangement with a Gilbane executive who will serve as the firm’s internal champion, providing guidance and connecting them with opportunities.
Dozens of Gilbane team members participated in the program, from economic inclusion and procurement staff who served as champions, to project executives joining to share wisdom while getting to know the contractors, and support operations staff delivering lectures and serving as local subject matter experts.
As we reflect upon the program and look toward the future, we’re struck by the profound effect it had on Gilbane’s staff. This program was just as much an education for the Gilbane team as it was for the contractors receiving instruction. It allowed our team the opportunity to broaden our perspectives by forging relationships with small business owners, many of whom are navigating the challenges inherent in the current economic uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Our participating team members gained a deeper appreciation for the significant role that Gilbane can play in helping these promising contractors to grow.
The Gilbane Rising Contractors Program made clear that economic inclusion is empowering, adding a dimension to our work that motivates people to embrace the enormous impact generated from day-to-day decision-making that is more conscious of spreading access.
Though we are off to a great start, the success of this program will ultimately be defined by our ability to provide Rising Contractors with opportunities. Participation has allowed our team members insight into the roadblocks contractors often encounter, such as payment terms, insurance costs, and balancing an appropriate workload for financial stability.
Our desire to help smaller contractors succeed with Gilbane – which is critical to our long-term ability to grow our vendor pool and provide clients with competitive pricing – challenges us to operate more creatively and adopt processes to ensure MWDBE firms have ample access to bidding opportunities and are set up for success on our job sites. We know that a critical component to our success as construction managers is our relationship with our subcontractors. Playing a significant role in a contractor’s growth produces the kind of meaningful partnership that will set us apart in an industry where these relationships are often seen as zero-sum, while also enhancing our ability to promote economic inclusion.
The Gilbane Rising Contractor Program is one step in the right direction to promoting inclusion in the construction industry. We’re inspired by the earnest commitment our team and partners have displayed in their support for the program, and we are ready to harness this energy as we look toward the future.