Diversity has long been a focus of the Indiana Construction Roundtable (ICR). Since its inception in 1994, XBE engagement has been an ongoing conversation. That conversation eventually grew into the ICR Diversity Initiative, which build a comprehensive model for evaluating a project’s diversity beyond traditional project spend. This model has been utilized by multiple Owners, as well as serving as a foundation and resource for various public initiatives across the country.
The mission of the ICR Diversity Initiative, which lives on in ICR’s Mentor/Protégé Program, was to increase the sustainability and capacity of XBE enterprises in the state of Indiana. All too often, Owners and contracting partners would see well performing XBE contractors succeed and grow during a major project, only to vanish a few years later. By matching emerging businesses up with experience industry leaders, ICR has been able to help build a significant number of success stories, thereby increasing the quantity and quality of firms in the market.
This program is ongoing, but in itself is not capable of meeting the XBE engagement needs facilitated by an increase in demand across the state and, specifically, the Indianapolis region. Downtown Indy presently projects $3.49 Billion occurring within Indianapolis alone over the next three years, and that excludes the significant and ever expanding development occurring in the surrounding counties, and residential and heavy highway construction.
ICR Executive Director, Mike Thibideau, claims he has received more calls regarding XBE engagement over the past 6 months than he had over the past 2 years. “Private owners, developers, municipalities, public consumers, utilities, general contractors… every segment of the industry charged with XBE engagement has contacted me at some point in the past few months, looking for ways to meet their goals that do not involve utilizing a pass-through” says Thibideau, “I am able to refer them to a number of resources, organizations, and methods of community engagement through the ICR Foundation, but this demand from our members and partners means it is time to be able to provide more.”
From these discussions the ICR Board of Directors has expanded the scope of the ICR Mentor/Protégé Advisory Board, re-naming it the ICR Diversity Engagement Task Force. This group is charged with researching, compiling information, and, if possible, presenting recommendations, resources, and/or best practices based on their findings. This group will be chaired by Rosemily Geyer, President of Geyer Fire Protection. “There is no measure of success or failure in this endeavor beyond that of a soundly researched and discussed finding,” says Thibideau, “we want to make sure that our industry stakeholders are using every method available to build the capacity of their diversity engagement operations, and that they are also setting realistic goals for XBE spend based on the heightened level of demand regionally and statewide.”
ICR will be bringing in A/E/C member firms, as well as external stakeholders from organizations, institutions, and municipalities focused on this issue. If you have an interest in serving as a resource, or participating directly, contact Executive Director, Mike Thibideau, at Mike@indianaconstruction.org or 317-686-2669.