By BRANDY SCHEER, ST. LOUIS CONSTRUCTION NEWS AND REVIEW MAGAZINE
More than 85 industry professionals attended St. Louis Council of Construction Consumers presented its 2019 Diversity and Inclusion Workshop on the campus of St. Louis Community College at Forest Park Nov. 14.
The program, sponsored by SMPS St. Louis, kicked off with a breakfast/networking session and officially launched with a welcome by SLCCC Diversity Chairwoman Ramona Tumblin-Rucker, director of construction management at M Property Services.
Following the introduction of event-site host, panelist and SLCCC board member, Keith Fuller, director of diversity and inclusion at St. Louis Community College, plenary speaker Rhonda Carter Adams, corporate diversity lead at Illinois American Water Co., addressed the group. Her comments showcased the success of her company’s MBE participation requirements by explaining the fact that on many of its most recent projects, the company had far surpassed even its own percentage requirements with a 40 percent spend going to MBE firms.
Following Adams’ remarks, two tracks of breakout sessions (design and construction) were held throughout the building. Categories for each of the sessions included institutional, government, utilities, commercial development and marketing.
Upcoming projects discussed in each session ranged from mixed-use developments such as Iron Hill located at the intersection of Grand and Chouteau to Great Rivers Greenway projects including Centennial, Chouteau, Deer Creek, Gravois, Hodiamont and St. Vincent. Green Street’s CHROMA, Unify and Swan projects were mentioned, as were numerous projects at St. Louis Lambert International Airport.
Opus has plans for work on several warehouse projects in the area. National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency projects associated with the future St. Louis headquarters include access control points, a remote inspection facility, a visitor surface parking lot and landscaping; each has a small business set-aside component. And, while BJC representatives said there will be a decrease in the number of patient renovation projects in 2020, they said there will be many projects having to do with infrastructure, mechanical, radiology and clinical service lines.
Among the SLCCC panelists on Nov. 14 were Donald Robert, director of construction and Charles Henson, diversity manager at BJC HealthCare. Steven Soba of Washington University in St. Louis, Timothy Nittler, director of capital projects at Bi-State Development, Angel Ramos, assistant airport director of planning and engineering at Lambert Airport, St. Louis County Chief Diversity Officer Jack Thomas, St. Louis Development Corp. Executive Director Otis Williams, Gene Morisani of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Sylvania McDaniel, supplier diversity executive at Ameren, Lonny Boring and Angelica Gutierrez of Great Rivers Greenway, Director of Engineering Richard Unverferth and Manager of Diversity Programs Shonnah Paredes of MSD, Rob Lochner of Cullinan Properties, Eli Knight and Tim Vaughan of Green Street Building Group, Todd Rogan of Lawrence Group, Mark Winschel and Michael Stromberg of The Opus Group and Amanda Bohnert and Kristyn Newbern of S. M. Wilson who represented SMPS.
Moderators included Laurel Harrington of Christner Inc., Fran Wiggins of St. Louis City, Nicole Adewale of ABNA Engineering and Michelle Yates of Lawrence Group.
Immediately following the break-out sessions, a speed networking and marketing help desk opened to ensure that all participants had the opportunity for one-on-one discussions with each of the panelists.