Indiana Construction Roundtable Diversity Initiative Program
Mentor – Protégé Program For the Design and Construction Industry

Introduction and Overview

The Indiana Construction Roundtable launched its Diversity Initiative (ICR DI) in the summer of 2007 with commitment and participation from its Board, members including contractors and other stakeholders that participated in a process that took several years. One of the key components of the ICR DI is its Mentor Protégé program that mirrors many of the foundational aspects contained in the Stempel Plan created by Ron Stempel, who served as the Contracts and Procurement Manager for the Port of Portland.

The Stempel Plan was adopted by the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) and has become the model for a number of mentor-protégé programs in the construction industry across the nation.

The ICR Diversity Initiative Mission and Goals are to build a broad base of emerging business enterprises with minimum of two years experience capable of performing high quality construction or design services at competitive prices. The programs immediate goals are two:

  1. To increase the volume of work that emerging business enterprises are capable of winning-and profitably performing-in open competition
  2. To broaden the base of their activity, increasing the number and long-term stability of such firms, and spreading their activity throughout the building, highway, heavy, industrial and utility sectors of the industry

The Mentor-Protégé Program is designed to:

  • Increase the number of M/W/DBE companies and their capacity
  • Ensure the success of such companies
  • Increase the number of women and minorities who work in the construction industry

This program is neither designed nor intended to meet any legal standards set by federal, state, local or other public agencies.

Existing Mentor-Protégé relationships may apply for this program, however, a mentor or protégé may independently apply to the program. The mentor-protégé partnership will be established based on available mentors and protégés.

The mentor-protégé program goal is to pair companies in a relationship that each finds acceptable. The mentor protégé partnership may be dissolved upon written request by either party within 30 days. ICR and the Advisory Board (AB) will review all circumstances on a case by case basis.




Indiana Construction Roundtable, Inc. (ICR) – A nonprofit organization which serves the construction consumer in Central Indiana with the assistance and input of all members of the construction team

Diversity Outreach Initiative – Launched in the summer of 2007 by ICR to address the concerns of the under representation of minorities and women in the construction industry

Owners – Organizations who purchase design and construction services

Mentor-Protégé – Partnership involving existing businesses that agree to work together to address matters necessary to help enhance the protégé business’s success

M/W/DBE – Minority, Women, Disadvantaged Firms or Companies owned and controlled 51% or greater by a minority or woman which can meet the certification requirements of the State of Indiana and the City of Indianapolis

Advisory Board – Mentor-Protégé Committee members providing assistance to ICR to implement the Mentor- Protégé program

Professional Service Provider – A Professional Service Provider is an individual/entity that can provide technical assistance to the protégé (e.g. accountants, bonding experts, legal assistance)



Measurable Objectives

There are four (4) measurable objectives of this program:

  1. A higher than average survival rate for the program’s protégés
  2. Continuous improvement in the financial strength and bonding capacity of those firms
  3. Consistent success in meeting the objectives included in each protégé’s individual business plan
  4. A high rate of successful transition out of the program in one to three years



Roles & Responsibilities

Those most deeply involved in the program will be ICR, its Board of Directors, its Mentor-Protégé Advisory Board and its staff, as well as, well-established companies that agree to become mentors.


There will be many important players. Each one will play a different role and have different responsibilities. A brief description of the key players and their individual roles follows this section.


What follows is a description of the roles and responsibilities for the entities shown in the boxes above. Note the dotted line above denotes an indirect relationship between the Advisory Board and the Mentor-Protégé partnership. The solid line indicates a direct connection.

ICR is the sponsor/program administrator. ICR’s duties include:

  1. Advertising and promoting the program
  2. Organizing related business events
  3. Collecting enrollment information from potential mentors
  4. Collecting enrollment information from potential protégés
  5. Provide up-to-date lists of all mentors and protégé’s enrolled in the ICR program
  6. Informing and reminding mentors and protégés of their roles and responsibilities
  7. Collecting status reports
  8. Maintaining program records
  9. Coordinating the efforts of the Mentor-Protégé Advisory Board and providing overall program status reports
  10. Identifying the necessary sources of program funding
  11. Organize and facilitate the meetings of the M-P Advisory Board
  12. Evaluate the progress of the mentors’ and protégés’ partnership through the submission of monthly progress reports. These monthly evaluations will allow ICR to assign the appropriate score under this section of the ICR Diversity Initiative

The Advisory Board (AB) will:

  1. Recommend M-P program policy
  2. Participate in the selection and assignment of mentors and protégés
  3. Guide the overall direction of the program
  4. Serve as a liaison between ICR and the local business community

A Professional Service Provider is an individual/entity that can provide technical assistance to the protégé (e.g., accountants, bonding experts, legal assistance). The services provided to any one firm will depend on its particular needs. Mentors and protégés will jointly identify those needs during their regular meetings. If effective, the mentoring process will help the protégés make the most intelligent and effective use of a professional service provider(s) – and generally encourage the sound business practices that increase a firm’s potential for sustainable growth.

The professional service provider may participate in the regular meetings between mentors and their protégés upon request. It should also respond to any ad hoc requests for assistance. It is up to the mentor to ensure that any professional service provider assisting them in this program adheres to the requirements for the benefit of the protégé.

The major categories of professional service could include, but are not limited to the following:

  1. General business management
  2. Financial administration
  3. Insurance and bonding
  4. Business development/marketing
  5. Specific seminars and other educational programs that mentors and their protégés may identify

Note: The ICR Diversity Initiative is unable to provide funding for the professional service provider at this time. It is the intention of the ICR DI in the future to be able to provide the services free of charge.

The number and quality of the mentors will be the key to the success of any mentor-protégé program. Mentors will represent well-established companies, who have the knowledge and experience to help emerging business enterprises refine and implement sound operating plans.

The Mentor firm will be required to meet with the protégé at least once monthly. ICR and AB will schedule periodic meetings with the Mentor and Protégé throughout the year.

Mentors should help their protégés accomplish the following:

  1. Set targets for improvement
  2. Set time table for meeting those targets
  3. Assist with protégé’s business strategies
  4. Evaluate the outcomes

Mentors should regularly review their protégés’ business and action plans

The protégé is an emerging business enterprise that has been in business a minimum of two years. They must have a business plan prior to the initial meeting with the mentor.

The responsibilities of the Protégé’s include, but not limited to:

  1. Identify operational weaknesses
  2. Attend meetings scheduled by Mentors
  3. Be prepared to share financial and other proprietary information with Mentor
  4. Provide Mentor with company’s business profile (accomplishments, certifications, current work-in-progress, current capacity and location)
  5. Protégés should be required to make every reasonable effort to implement the business decisions that the meetings produce
  6. Take the initiative to request whatever additional assistance they may need to address significant business issues



Standard Operating Procedures

This section is intended to explain how the Mentor-Protégé program will operate with respect to implementing the roles and responsibilities defined earlier in this document, the specific point system, and the forms that you will need if you are accepted into this program. Sample forms that maybe used with this program are included in the Appendix.


This model requires up to two mentors for each protégé. In this case, ICR and AB will designate one of the mentors as the lead and the other an adviser. The model requires at least monthly meetings of the groups. At these regularly scheduled meetings, mentors and their protégés should work through a written agenda, with the protégé’s written business plan serving as the touchstone. Together, mentors and their protégés should identify the steps necessary to implement the plan and should agree on a set of specific actions for the protégé to take by the time of the next regular meeting. Mentors and their protégés should also review and discuss the protégé’s performance, and see how it compares with the baseline communicated early in the partnership. This program does not forbid mentors to subcontract work to their protégés, or to form joint ventures with the latter. Mentors and protégés may, however, find that such business relationships cause conflicts of interest. Mentors will have an obligation to give their best business advice to their protégés, wherever the latter may be working, and whatever the potential impact on the mentors themselves.

Point Distribution

The ICR office will maintain the documentation for this program, and will make this information available to owners upon request. At the participating mentor’s option, their points may be made public on the ICR website.

Participating mentors and protégés have a chance to be awarded a total of 15 points, which can be earned in the following manner:

INITIATION PHASE (earns 5 points):
To earn the initial five (5) points available in this program, the following steps must occur:

  1. The program “Application and Participation Agreement” (Appendix A) must be thoughtfully considered, then executed by the mentor and protégé partnership.
  2. The program “Application and Participation Agreement” must be submitted to ICR. ICR will review the program “Application and Participation Agreement” and if the stated requirements are met, will award the 5 points within 30 days of submission.

DEVELOPMENTAL PHASE (earns 7 points)
To earn the additional 7 points the following steps must occur:

  1. The mentor-protégé partnership must conduct monthly meetings and submit monthly reports to the ICR.
  2. On a random basis, ICR staff or an AB member may attend a scheduled meeting of the mentor and protégé. They may also contact the participating partnership and request a meeting to review documents pertinent to this program.
  3. ICR and AB can decide to reduce points awarded based on the performance of the partnership. This determination will be based on the goals in the program application.

TRANSITIONAL PHASE (earns 3 points):
To earn an additional 3 points the following steps must occur:

  1. Upon graduation of the Protégé, the Mentor will earn an additional three (3) points. Graduation occurs when the goals established in the program “Application and Participation Agreement” is met.

The Mentor-Protégé partnerships are expected to last between one and three years. At the close of a three-year period, if a team has not met all of the goals, an exit strategy will be established with the guidance of ICR and/or the AB.

At any point in the program, should the Mentor-Protégé partnership disagree with the points awarded, they may request, through the ICR office, a review of the decision by the AB at its next meeting. The request must be written (email is acceptable).

Existing mentor-protégé relationships may apply for this program, however, a mentor or protégé may independently apply to the program. The Mentor-Protégé partnership will be established based on available mentors and protégés.

The Mentor-Protégé program goal is to pair companies in a relationship that each finds acceptable. The mentor-protégé partnership may be dissolved upon written request by either party within 30 days. ICR and the AB will review all circumstances on a case-by-case basis.

Developmental Phase:
(Total: 12 of 15)







In the case of a dissolution, the mentor may receive 5 points for having submitted an approved application. This decision shall be made by ICR in consultation with the AB.

Information provided to ICR will be held in confidence. The only information that could be shared with an ICR Owner is the verification of program participation and the score of the requested Mentor participant. This information will be shared with ICR Owners exclusively, and only upon written request. The same standard will be used when providing information to other companies if requested by the Mentor participant.



Selection of Mentors and Protégés

In consultation with the Advisory Board (AB), ICR will seek out and interview potential mentors. ICR will ensure that the mentor and protégé understands and accepts the program’s expectations. The AB and ICR will encourage emerging business enterprises to enroll in the program. The AB and/or sponsor will interview the firms that apply. ICR and the AB will decide which firms are eligible for the Mentor-Protégé program. Mentors and protégés will be invited to meet and determine if they are compatible. Each will inform ICR in writing within 5 business days of the meeting whether they wish to go forward. If one party or both decide not to go forward, ICR and/or the AB will restart the matching process.

Assignment of Mentors to Protégés

The AB and ICR will attempt not to pair industry competitors, unless a request is made by the mentor or protégé


One of the first meetings associated with the Mentor-Protégé partnership will be an orientation that will be conducted by ICR and the AB. Mentors and their protégés should meet at least once each month. The mentor and protégé, at the onset of their relationship, should establish which party will be responsible for arranging these meetings, creating an agenda and a recap of the meeting.

A sample report template is included in Appendix C.

Additional meetings, beyond the monthly meetings, can be held by the Mentor-Protégé partnership on an as needed/agreed upon timeframe.

Progress Reports

Progress reports are intended to help everyone assess the actual results of the mentor-protégé program. They should also help the various players clarify and strengthen their individual roles. Recognizing that the relationships among the players are all voluntary, the reports should also help strengthen the program as a whole.

For each quarter and year of enrollment, ICR will produce a progress report on each protégé, based on the performance standards that this model recommends. These reports will go to the protégés and their mentors with copy to the AB. At the discretion of the AB, the aggregate information will be reported to the ICR Board.


A formal graduation acknowledgement will be conducted once the goals established by ICR, mentor and protégé in the business plan are attained. Many variables will affect the pace with which each protégé-mentor team will realize their goals. It is anticipated that participation will range between one to three years. At the close of three years, if a protégé-mentor team has not met all of the goals, an exit strategy will be established with the guidance of the program’s AB.



ICR Mentor-Protégé Program: Timeline of Processes & Procedures from Application to Graduation



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