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LF Driscoll's Modern Approach to Diversity - STO Building Group
Diversity is a fact; inclusion is a choice. Join LF Driscoll’s EOP and controls manager, Saege Steele, as she discusses what’s worked—and what hasn’t—when it comes to diversity, equity, and inclusion in the construction industry with two executives who are leading the charge: Blane Stoddart, president and CEO of BFW Group, and Mike Delaney, executive vice president at LF Driscoll.
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LF Driscoll's Modern Approach to Diversity

LF Driscoll’s Modern Approach to Diversity

Diversity is a fact; inclusion is a choice. Join LF Driscoll’s EOP and controls manager, Saege Steele, as she discusses what’s worked—and what hasn’t—when it comes to diversity, equity, and inclusion in the construction industry with two executives who are leading the charge: Blane Stoddart, president and CEO of BFW Group, and Mike Delaney, executive vice president at LF Driscoll.

HOST

Saege Steele

EOP and Controls Manager, LF Driscoll

View Bio

GUEST

Blane Stoddart

President and CEO, BFW Group

View Bio

GUEST

Mike Delaney

Executive Vice President, LF Driscoll

View Bio

Narrator (00:10):

Welcome to Building Conversations, a construction podcast powered by the STO Building Group on today’s episode, Saege Steele, EOP and Controls Manager at LF Driscoll speaks with Blane Stoddart, President and CEO of BFW group, and Mike Delaney, Executive Vice President of LF Driscoll about LF Driscoll’s fresh approach to creating a more diverse and inclusive atmosphere in construction.

Saege Steele (00:42):

Hello everyone. My name is Sage Steele and I am the EOP and controls manager on the Penn First project here in Philadelphia. I’ve been with LF Driscoll for about 16 years, and I am currently our project’s economic and opportunity plan manager. And I also manage various financial and compliance functions of the project. For those of you that are not aware, Penn First is a $1.5 billion IPD hospital being built for the University of Pennsylvania here in West Philadelphia. Today, I’m joined by executive vice president of LF Driscoll, Mike Delaney, and CEO of the BFW group Blane Stoddard, to discuss diversity and inclusion in the architectural engineering construction industry. Hello gentlemen. I’d like us to get started and you can give us a little background on yourselves and your roles at your companies. Mike, if you could begin for us, please.

Mike Delaney (01:37):

Sure. Thanks, Saege, thanks for having me. So, I’ve been with the company since 1983. I started as a messenger, worked my way up and now I’m an executive vice president. Uh, I’d spent most of my time through the estimating department, but now in my role in leadership of the company, I do help and lead most of the diversity efforts for the company. I’m really pleased to be part of today’s podcast and I’m equally as pleased to be here with somebody who’s helped me and helped Driscoll be a market leader in D&I, Blane Stoddard, and Blane, why don’t you introduce yourself and tell us a little bit about BFW.

Blane Stoddart (02:16):

Thanks Mike. Thanks, Saege, for having me. My name is Blane Stoddard. I run BFW group BFW provides construction administration, construction project management, cost estimating and scheduling, QA/QC quality control. We provide project engineers and we work with owners and we work with large construction project managers in the greater Philadelphia region. We’re very proud to partner with LF Driscoll, and we’re proud to be here.

Saege Steele (02:42):

Thank you both so much for that. So, let’s just get right into it. So, diversity and inclusion hasn’t always been a point of focus in our industry. How has the construction industry approached diversity and inclusion in the past? And have you seen a shift to that in recent years?

Mike Delaney (03:00):

So, you know, diversity and inclusion in construction been around at least most of my career, you know, in the mid-80s we started it and it was a very prescribed process. You’d have to have outreaches, you solicit bids, you take bids, you define low bidders, you award to the low bidder. You hope it’s a diverse contractor and you do your best to shepherd the diverse contractor through the work. But it wasn’t like it is now. There has been a shift in the world and a good diverse company president gave me a quote the other day and it kind of embodies what the new attitude is and what it is is: diversity is a fact, inclusion is a choice. And I think today that’s where we have to be is inclusion is a choice. That pre prescribed method that we did for the last 25 years only led to so much and so little success. It didn’t build a lasting industry and a supply chain for majority companies like ourselves to work. And I think that there is a new realization. I know for me, about four years ago, when I started on the Comcast project, that client was supportive of anything we could do on the diverse side. And we were able to do outreaches to folks like Blane. There’s a new awakening and I think you see a lot more majorities feeling that way. That inclusion is a choice.

Blane Stoddart (04:32):

Yeah, I think Saege, in the old way, owners and CMs, large general contractors, I use them interchangeably, CMs and general contractors would go out, they design a project, they do all the pre-construction, they do all the cost estimating. And at the end they would bid out the project. And as part of that bid, they would have an outreach meeting. I think that model has failed. I think that model has proven to be failed and I have to agree with Mike—it has to be intentional. And so now what we’re promoting in this new model is that diverse firms are brought to the table with the owner and with the CM early in the pre-construction. So that minority firms, black and minority firms, can provide early pricing and are part of that pre-development, pre-construction, and planning process, including on the professional services side. And if that happens, that’s how we’re doing it now with LF Driscoll. And I think that the LF Driscoll model and their diversity initiatives should become a national model, LF Driscoll is bringing in minority firms early in the process to get pre-construction pricing, to talk to our costs estimating so that, so that minority firms can be part of that whole process, even into giving our early prices, giving bids, and being part of that before the outreach meeting. By the time you get to the outreach meeting it’s too late to get on the project.
Blane Stoddart (05:57):

Saege Steele (05:58):

Thank you, Mike and Blane. Let’s get more into what LF Driscoll specifically is doing to improve diversity and inclusion. Mike, can you explain a few of the company’s projects going on?

Mike Delaney (06:07):

Sure. So late in 2019, Driscoll was fortunate enough to be honored by our city council for some of our efforts in diversity. And we were given a citation, from city government and candidly, myself and our president Mack Stulb, went to City Hall and received that for us. We felt like we were getting rewarded for something that we hadn’t done enough for. And at that moment we had decided we were going to do things differently. We had become friends with Blane and some other leaders in the marketplace. So we decided to expand what we do. One of the biggest ideas we have is we formed an outside Driscoll Diversity Inclusion Council. Blane sits on that. That council meets quarterly here and advisors adress goal. What we can do to be leaders in our community in terms of diversity and inclusion. Our council is represented by all the affinity chambers of commerce.

Mike Delaney (07:00):

That would be the African, Hispanic, and Asian. We have some supplier diversity organizations, the Eastern minority supplier council. We have a state Senator, Senator Donna Bullock, who all advise us on a regular basis, what we can do to be better at diversity inclusion and candidly, we have community leaders hold Mack and I accountable for our actions. At the same time, we were engaged with the office of economic development with the City of Philadelphia. At that time, that it was director Harold Epps. And we pledged to be the first member of their mentor protégé program. With COVID that had got a slow roll out, but it’s rolling out now and we’ll be mentoring in official capacity in association with city government about five firms and help them over two year period, build their business.

Mike Delaney (07:51):

Internally, we’ve taken a look at ourselves and we started doing joint ventures. In the last year, two of our major pursuits have resulted in joint ventures with diverse companies and we’ve used firms that come from those communities. So we think that that’s helpful. It’s showing that at a corporate level we’re committed. And then in terms of our day-to-day purchasing, we’ve changed our philosophy and changed up our packaging so that we can have more first tier subcontractors working directly for us, which enabled us on one project to take one part of the project and make the entire portion of that project diverse from every single trade in that area of the building would have been diverse. So we’ve done a lot. Uh, we want to do more, COVID has really stifled us some, but we’re still committed and we think we’re being industry leaders because we know we have outreach from our competitors asking us how we do it.

Saege Steele (08:44):

Thank you, Mike. Blane, I understand you’re also on Driscoll’s Diversity and Inclusion Council. Can you tell us a little bit about what it’s like being involved and what are you guys working on?

Blane Stoddart (08:56):

Well, I think that the Driscoll’s Diversity Inclusion Council (DDIC) is forward thinking, and I think it’s industry leading. And one of the reasons why owners are calling Driscoll and other competitors are calling Driscoll is because people are hearing about this Diversity and Inclusion Council. Most diversity councils are internal to that corporation. Most diversity councils are internal to that institution. Driscoll is thinking out of the box and brought in outside vendors like me and Ivan Watson, who co-chairs the DDIC to talk about how do we get vendors in the minority vendors in the pipeline. How do we get them working with the estimating department so that they can come in with prices and be in the ballpark? So, they’re not coming into late and can’t get on projects. Driscoll as identified 22 minority vendors that they’re working with. And out of those 22 that they were already working with, approximately five of them are in the mentor protégé program.

Blane Stoddart (09:58):

What happens if the top 20 CMs in the city adopted 22 minority firms? We would begin an ecosystem of work around construction in a city that historically has been very segregated. And so the diversity and inclusion council is forward-thinking, it’s not just internal people scratching each other’s backs and telling them what a good job you’re doing, because that’s the way you get a promotion. It’s outside people being real with Driscoll within the parameters that Driscoll can manage. And we’re really excited about it. We want it to become a model in Philadelphia, New York, and all up and down the East coast, because it actually works because the Driscoll is getting real feedback in real time about what’s happening in the marketplace and about what’s happening in the minority business community.

Saege Steele (10:49):

Yes, it takes a village and that is so true with so many things that we’re doing here. Um, I would like to move into something that I think is extremely important when we’re dealing with diversity and inclusion, which is creating relationships. I think you both can agree that creating relationships in construction is key and it’s important for everyone, but it is especially important when you’re dealing with the underrepresented. I know that as a woman of color, working in construction management, you come across so many different types of discrimination. It’s latent and right in your face and you can’t run from it, and then there’s the innuendos, the soft things that can happen in the background that can impede your progress in our industry. It’s not easy, but seeing all sides of the situation really gives me a unique perspective of everyone’s point of view with this complicated subject. And I’m really interested to hear your take on the subject. Mike, what does a diverse workforce add to a project? How does creating, and then building a relationship affect that?

Mike Delaney (11:57):

When we build a diverse team, we engage more of the community and we find out there’s more opportunity to better ourselves. I think my life’s been enhanced and my career has been enhanced by what Blane has brought to Driscoll in terms of opening our eyes about how we can do things better with diversity. I think it makes us a better company. Initiatives like safety, quality, and diversity can only make a company better at building. So I think engaging at the professional level first on a diverse side, certainly has a lot of advantages, particularly when you’re working in an urban environment where you have a lot of diverse community groups and understanding them better, can only make you better at what you do in terms of the workforce. I think that we always need to bring new people in, uh, new, young, exciting people that are enthusiastic about what they’re doing every day. I think that the younger generation candidly expects diversity. So, you know, that creates an atmosphere of excitement and positivity that we may not have in another generation. So I think diversity in the workforce can bring nothing but a positive. And I think you can look at other industries and you could see that as well.

Saege Steele (13:15):

Thank you, Mike. Blane, would you like to add on?

Blane Stoddart (13:19):

All the studies have shown that diversity leads to increase profits and return on investments, uh, companies that practice diversity, according to the wall street journal, and some other studies that have been done have a 36% higher return than companies who do not practice diversity. As it relates to Driscoll and the Diversity and Inclusion Council in Philadelphia, we find that Driscoll has a competitive advantage. I’ll repeat, diversity gives LF Driscoll a competitive advantage because now when we bid projects with LF Driscoll, we’re not just talking about best efforts. We’re not just talking about woulda, shoulda, coulda. Driscoll’s coming to the table with a diverse team and a track record to show that they’re real about diversity in delivering these large projects and small projects, and mid-sized projects all throughout the region.

Saege Steele (14:07):

Thank you. So, Blane, I hear you have a very interesting story about how your relationship with LFD began. Do you care to share?

Blane Stoddart (14:16):

Oh, absolutely. I was at a meeting, uh it’s with the Comcast project, which we’re going to talk about later. That’s how I met Driscoll probably four or five years ago. They were doing the Comcast project. The Comcast project required a 30% participation rate. And as you know, there is no ecosystem in Philadelphia, which we’re just starting to build out an ecosystem. And because of Comcast, Driscoll was adamant about going out in the community, doing outreach and getting minority vendors to work with them. And I was leaving a meeting because I don’t like outreach meetings, as you probably figured out by now. And Angela Dow Burton from the City of Philadelphia, she was the city’s OEO rep says to me, did you meet Mike Delaney? And I’m like, no, I’m going home. This is just another outreach meeting. And she said, go back in there and stand in line and meet Mike Dylaney.

Blane Stoddart (15:06):

I went back in there, I stood in line for 20 or 30 minutes. I got up to him and I introduced myself and I said, I just need to have a cup of coffee with you. And I just need a shot. And he decided to have a cup of coffee with me. When we had a cup of coffee, he says, can you provide me one project engineer? And I said, yes. And that’s how it started. I provided Driscoll with one project engineer, which ended up being seven project managers on the Comcast project. Some of them working for Driscoll, some of them working directly for Comcast, but that’s how I met Mike Delaney. And I’ve been attached to his hip ever since like his son

Saege Steele (15:42):

Mike, is that true?

Mike Delaney (15:46):

Yeah. Uh, the son part’s not true, but the relationship, how it all started is very true. So that encounter that Blane talks about. I still remember it because he came up to me and he went to shake my hand, but he also said, look, I got carpal tunnel syndrome, don’t kill me here. And so I shook his hand and I had a good feeling about him. And I was at a point where I wanted to be better at diversity. And I was struggling with the fact that I wanted to do more, but I felt there was this old routine of you had to take bids and pick a low bidder and all that stuff. And on that project, I just decided I was going to go with my gut. And my gut said that this was a good guy.

Mike Delaney (16:29):

I wanted to give him a shot. And that’s why, we brought him on. I don’t think there was a lot of discussion. It was just, we need a guy, come on, you figure it out, I’ll figure it out. And we’ll do that. And it’s turned out to be a great thing because not only did it, did it work out for Blane, it’s really worked out for Driscoll. Blane has a perspective that helps me learn, helps Mack learn, helps the company learn. He’s introduced us in the community to a place where we wouldn’t have been before to allow us to be better at D&I. I, you know, I consider him my partner in this journey that we’re on. And I think that if there’s a time I need advice, you know, Blane and I talk on the evenings on the weekends, we’re friends. And I think that’s the way it should be. And I’m hoping this as a model for me and many other folks in the community,

Saege Steele (17:20):

Those are definitely some of the benefits of working together as a majority of minority owned company, you get to see a different perspective of a situation that you’re both dealing with. Blane, do you feel the same working as a small minority-owned with LF Driscoll?

Blane Stoddart (17:38):

Yeah. Well, again, I mean, working on different projects with LF, Driscoll changes your perspective. You get to understand their operations, their paperwork, and to understand how you get paid. And you get to understand how they think about pricing out projects and you get to look under the hood. And what that does is it builds capacity. We’re always talking about capacity, capacity, capacity. Capacity to me means work. So I’m on four projects with Driscoll I’m friends with Mike Delaney. I consider everybody at Driscoll my friend because they’re one of my largest clients, but the reason why we work so easily together is because I had that one opportunity. So I did well on that one opportunity. So now I understand the system and it’s plug and play. And so, Mike is my friend because we talk so often that we talk about everything. We talk about our families. We talk about what we’re doing this weekend. We talk about political stuff. If there’s a politically charged issue, we, we sorta talk about it together and talk about how we want to attack it. Now we’re talking about clients, how to approach clients. We’re talking about marketing. So the relationship has blossomed. I don’t look at it as a minority majority relationship. I look at it as a relationship that works.

Mike Delaney (18:55):

You know, Blane, you make a really good point. Blane, in his assistance of us on the D&I, he acts as, almost as he’s a majority. And he’s the advocate for other minority firms. He does have a bit of a mentor streak in him. But something that I have noticed is that Blane’s not in it for himself. He’s trying to create an ecosystem and he wants to be known for being the guy who helped build that ecosystem as much as Mack and I do.

Saege Steele (19:25):

So Blane you’ve actually built an ecosystem like that at BFW. BFW is an extremely diverse group of people. I’ve worked with many different employees of yours, men, women, people of many different ethnicities. How do you manage that? How do you, how do you do that?

Blane Stoddart (19:42):

It’s intentional. So we have people from Egypt, from India, African-Americans women. We have people from Dominican Republic, uh, the English speaking Caribbean, Colombia, it’s just, we’re just the world. And again, you know, we want to walk the walk and talk the talk. So we have gone out of our way to bring on diverse candidates because we’re one of the poster children in Philadelphia for diversity. And so, you know, we just hired a white architect. So diversity cuts both ways. It cuts both ways. I mean, we have whites, blacks, Latinos, Indians, Egypt, everybody is in our firm. We have a staff of 18 and we’re growing and we’re proud that diversity is a core value. Our core values are honesty, integrity, teamwork, and equity. That’s a core value of ours. And we’ll continue to progress that way. We don’t want to just say we’re diverse and then not be diverse.

Saege Steele (20:35):

Mike, what do you think LF Driscoll has done to help remove some of those obstacles that Blane was discussing a little bit?

Mike Delaney (20:44):

Well, I think one of the things that we do is there is no pretense with the executive management at Driscoll. We’re open to everybody. And when you see Mike Delaney and Mack Stulb and our other vice presidents in project meetings, talking about diversity, asking our staff, what’s going on, showing up to meet any subcontractor who’s looking for an opportunity, not shuffling it down to some junior level for introduction. I think we try to walk the walk as, as Blane just said. And I also think that we let people know we’re putting ourselves out there and we’re willing to be accountable. You know, I get calls from the enterprise center and other diverse organizations all the time. I make myself accessible to help them with their membership. And I would think that some of the initiatives and some of the people in our company that lead diversity, Sage you’re one of them. Um, I think everybody knows Sage, you know, all of our, our key suppliers and in the diversity community. So being accessible, being real, I think is probably the best thing we could do.

Saege Steele (21:50):

I agree with you wholeheartedly there. So why don’t we talk about all of the different arms in this discussion. We talked about construction management. We’ve talked about architects and engineers and how we can all be involved. What can an owner of a project do to create a difference in diversity and inclusion on their project?

Mike Delaney (22:11):

Let’s let Blane go first. Cause he’s pretty passionate about that. And then I’ll follow up.

Blane Stoddart (22:15):

It’s like, I’m a dog on a leash and you just, you just took off the leash. Obviously we have been advocating in Philadelphia. We don’t just advocate with LF Driscoll we’re industry-wide advocates. So we’ve been approaching all the owners, the top 10 owners and employers. We’ve been approaching all the top 10 CMs and GCs in the city. And we’ve been approaching the top 10 engineers and architects in the city. And our message is the same. We are encouraging you to roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty as it relates to diversity and inclusion. What has happened historically in the City of Philadelphia is that the owners have a diversity goal and they put it all on the general contractor and all on the CM. We’re saying that that’s not fair. We’re saying the owner must take a leadership role in diversity and inclusion. The owner must promote mentorship. The owner must promote and encourage carve-outs. The owner must promote and encourage joint ventures because without the owner’s support and the CMs understanding that this is critical to the owner, it will not get done. It just won’t,

Mike Delaney (23:24):

You know, just following up on what Blane had to say, uh, to a great extent, Blane is correct that diversity inclusion was a float in from clients to contractors. And I think when contractors have the support of the owners and are more engaged with the community, uh, our diversity and inclusion just goes up by a factor of two, uh, at times, you know, it’s not just knowing who the diverse contractors and individuals are. It’s getting them to be enthusiastic about being on your project. So I can tell you that if you look at a project that has an engaged owner who gives some leeway to the construction manager, general contractor, to be innovative in their purchasing and partnering, you’ll get greater diversity. And at the end of the day, that’s good for the owner too. Um, I see a change in the owners and I’m hopeful for the future that all of our owners will be engaged.

Saege Steele (24:21):

So we’re talking about our projects, the end result. How do we get more women and minorities involved in construction, design, and engineering? I’m talking more about the education side of it. Blane, have you had any thoughts about what design or engineering and construction firms can do to encourage more women and minorities to pursue careers in this industry?

Blane Stoddart (24:46):

I think everybody has to, has to go out of their way. And everybody has to be innovative. Everybody has to be forward thinking. What BFW is doing, we’d go out like to Drexel university. And now we see a lot of our vendors going out to the trade school out in Delaware County. So we have to start at a high school level and encouraging minorities to get into construction or engineering. We have a scholarship program. Um, I’m involved in a nonprofit, which Mike supports, Young Caribbean. And through our scholarship program, I met a young black female civil engineer. We’ve already told her we’re going to hire her. Do I have a job for her? No, I don’t have a job for her, but I already made her a promise because we have not met a black female in civil engineer. We’re going to hire this person.

Blane Stoddart (25:33):

And if we don’t hire her, I’m going to go to Mike. And I’m going to say, Mike, you got to hire this first person. You know, so, so if you’re not intentional, you cannot find minorities because the field is, there’s just not an education program. We have to start an education program to encourage minorities, to enter construction and engineering and architecture. And again, people make six figures. A lot of times in the black community, people think that you have to play basketball, or you have to be the CEO to make six figure income. A lot of people in construction, engineering and design make really good incomes. I can’t find a senior scheduler, somebody who does construction scheduling, I can’t find a senior person who will work for less than $150,000. You just can’t and kids don’t know this in college. Kids don’t know this in high school. So it goes with education, recruitment, and retention.

Mike Delaney (26:30):

Blane’s absolutely right on the education side and architecture and engineering does have a lot of diversity in it, but construction doesn’t. A lot of that talent goes to design and not construction. We need to be better at recruiting the folks that are in school already to come our way. But some of our business seems a little old fashioned and archaic, and you know, engineering and architecture seems to be more techie than what construction is. And we need to work on that. We also need to work on the trades in the fields. We need to do what we can to help the high school kids coming out, get into the trades. Number one, they need to be sponsored. They need to be welcomed. They need to be at it. And then they need to be employed. We have some innovative programs where we sponsored kids out of high school right into the trades, trying to help them get to a point where they can pass an apprenticeship test and stay within the trade. But there’s definitely more effort that needs to be made to attract engineers and architects to come in and work for us. And as well as getting young folks into the trades,

Saege Steele (27:34):

Yes, we definitely need to advertise a little better and explain what we do. I think we need to remind people of the opportunities available within the building trades. I have one final question for you guys: local government. How do you feel about getting city or local government or even the federal government for that matter more involved and injecting more diversity in the utilization of minority and women owned AEC firms. I get so many different mixed opinions about what we think should and could happen. And I’m interested to hear what you both think.

Mike Delaney (28:12):

I don’t think we need any more regulation, but I think the innovative things that we need to do, I think city government needs to do. So I’ll give you a couple of great examples. The mentor protege program that we’re participating in is sponsored by the office of economic development for the city of Philadelphia. Uh, having them as a sponsor is a great thing and it’s helpful, but they’re really relying on private industry to make it happen. And we’re excited to be a part of it. The fact that they could create a platform to attract all kinds of institutions across the city to be supportive of it, I think is great. I also think things like we have in Philadelphia, the rebuild initiative, which is essentially 100% exclusively diverse companies doing certain size work for the city department of recreation and the free libraries. I think they’re great examples of what city government could do to help build that ecosystem. The project rebuild is, is a lot of small opportunities for a lot of folks to build what they need to get some capacity to come and jump on projects for us.

Blane Stoddart (29:13):

Again, I, I have to agree with you, Mike, that we don’t need more regulations and we don’t need more paperwork. I think a lot of time government response to a problem is to pass another law and force everybody to file another report. We have enough failed reports in diversity and inclusion, and we have enough, uh, glossy brochures that say we’re doing things that we’re not doing. What the government needs to do, and this is where I encourage the government is to create an atmosphere of innovation, create an atmosphere so that majority firms and minority firms can meet each other and do business together. Let me give you a good example. The office of economic opportunity years ago, every month, we’d have a networking session where they would bring in three majority firms that are doing business with the city to meet the minority firms.

Blane Stoddart (30:07):

I went to one of those meetings, Mike, this is the second time I got a meeting at a networking event. So again, relationship, relationship, relationship. If the government can set up an atmosphere where vendors who do not know each other can meet each other in a non-bid environment and get to know each other and build a relationship, business can come out of that. Finally, education. The government needs to set up a system in cities like Philadelphia, where people can get educated, opt to come into the trades. So, the unions have training money. The government could partner some of their government training money like Philadelphia works to take kids out of school, young people out of school and begin to teach them the trades and to get them prepared for the apprenticeship exam. The government can take some of the money at OIC and some of the other training programs, which is department of labor money for our returning citizens, people that are coming out of prisons to train them, to get into the unions.

Blane Stoddart (31:11):

The government can create an atmosphere where local unions like Local 332, which is the laborers union. They were supposed to be an entry point into the union, and then into the trades that did not happen. So the government can be like a broker to create an ecosystem for workers and businesses in the construction trades in Philadelphia, in a city that’s been mostly segregated. And there are people like us, like BFW, like LF Driscoll that are doing our own thing. But the more government support we have, the more leverage we have from the government and from the ownership community would make us even more successful and help us to meet some of our goals.

Saege Steele (31:52):

It takes a village unless we have everyone’s involvement, that’s what’s going to make this successful. So thank you both for talking with me today about this subject, to recap our discussion today, there are a few things that pop out in my mind to create or promote and improve the culture of diversity inclusion within construction. And first and foremost is leadership buy-in. You have to walk the walk and talk the talk all at the same time, owner commitment, early purchasing involvement, and creating and building relationships is paramount. Is there anything else that either of you would like to touch on before we sign off?

Mike Delaney (32:40):

One thing I, I would just want to say for those who are listening, is that you’ve got to give this a shot and you got to let down your guard and you got to really look to make some friends. You know, part of my success at D&I is cause I have friends and if you make it personal, you’ll be very successful because you don’t like to be unsuccessful in your personal life. So if I could give anybody a simple lesson, you know, just make it personal, try to make a friend, everything else, the percentages and all the other stuff will work itself out. So that’s my point of view and that’s what Mack and I are trying to do with all the things that all the initiatives we started in 2019 and 2020. And the proof will be in the pudding in 2022 and 2023, when we see the results of all that. But I have confidence that our level of commitment is going to create a level of success.

Saege Steele (33:24):

No, I agree wholeheartedly with you. We have got to get more comfortable being uncomfortable, discussing diversity and inclusion in construction. That is the only way that things are going forward in my opinion. Um, so thank you so much for both being here with me today and hopefully we can continue to have these kinds of conversations, enjoy the rest of your day. Gentlemen. Thank you.

Narrator (33:54):

Thanks for listening to Building Conversations. For more episodes like this, you can find our podcast on Spotify, Apple podcasts, Google podcasts, or the Structure Tone website.