By Kim Patton, Outreach Manager for Swinerton
Throughout our history, Swinerton has been wholly committed to providing opportunities for local, emerging, small, and disadvantaged businesses, including those owned by women, minorities, veterans, LGBTQ+, and disabled persons. Swinerton recognizes the importance of diverse businesses to the economics of the construction industry, the communities they serve, and to our own success as a builder—that is why our dedicated diversity program was established decades ago.
Swinerton has five key focus areas that provide the framework for our diversity program; these include community, education, resources, opportunity, and commitment. Centralizing efforts around these key areas result in a more robust approach to diverse business inclusion. Swinerton strives to engage the community early and often through outreach meetings and community events. Education and resources go hand in hand as we educate and provide resources to our subcontractors through technical assistance workshops and mentorship programs. Creating the right opportunities for our partners includes reviewing bid packages to determine what is best suited for a diverse subcontractor and targeting those businesses accordingly. Lastly, our commitment to diversity is not a “box to be checked” but rather a mentality adopted by everyone at Swinerton.
Swinerton has 11 regional Community Relations Representatives who plan, implement, and manage our community support, involvement, and outreach with our clients, partners, neighborhoods, agencies, and community-based organizations. This continual engagement helps us maintain our corporate commitment of 20% diverse subcontractor and supplier participation annually.
“Our Community Relations team reinforces our reputation as a community builder and acts as the bridge between various communities and Swinerton,” said Rick Vaughn, SoCal Regional Community Relations Director.
Since its inception, our program continues to evolve with the introduction of new applications and processes. Our Community Outreach page adds a public face to our diversity program, while our internal site allows our teams to access helpful tools and resources, and our Power BI Diversity Reports provide real-time data on our diverse subcontracting and supplier efforts to ensure we are tracking to meeting and exceeding our goals.
Making a Difference in the Community
Last year was a cultural tipping point in our nation. In 2020, major corporations began to wonder how they could be more equitable and inclusive. As a result, our clients have looked to Swinerton for guidance. It has been encouraging to see companies who did not previously have supplier diversity programs reach out to us to help them build their programs.
Having our clients see us as a benchmark for a successful diversity program is quite humbling, but the true intent of our efforts revolves around making a difference for our diverse business partners. We want to bring opportunity to these businesses, help them grow, and ensure their success with Swinerton and beyond.
Swinerton’s national corporate partners also support our efforts. Our partners include the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC), the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC), the National Association of Minority Contractors (NAMC), the Veterans in Business (VIB) Network, and the National Veteran Business Development Council (NVBDC). These organizations connect us with their national membership base, help us advertise our opportunities more broadly, and host relationship-building events where we actively participate.
Swinerton’s diversity program is truly about supporting our communities. From working with the Cypress Mandela Training Center in Oakland to the United Minority Contractors of North Carolina, we strive to work with various external partners and internal groups from coast to coast who help us strengthen our position in the communities we serve.
Of course, part of remaining at the forefront of a commitment to diversity is looking inward and constantly evolving. To further our efforts around educating our employees and encouraging a more culturally inclusive environment, Swinerton established an Equity & Inclusion Council and Business Resource Groups (BRGs). BRGs create a better and more conducive work environment by providing employees a safe space to collaborate with colleagues who share similar backgrounds, experiences, and passions.
“Swinerton’s history of supporting diverse communities is as rich as its history of building landmark structures. For years, we have partnered with nonprofit organizations whose mission is to serve the underserved—partners like Rebuilding Together, who has performed 80% of its work in the last five years in historically Black neighborhoods in the Southeast sectors of San Francisco, and partners like Sweet Alice Harris, whose work for the last 60 years has helped make a difference in the lives of many in the Watts community.”
“It’s the relationships we’ve cultivated with these community partners that have outlasted the legacy of the projects we build,” said Rachael Guerrero, Corporate Social Responsibility Manager.
Swinerton also recognizes the immense strength that comes with diversity of thought, backgrounds, and perspectives, and that is why we have taken actions to strengthen our recruitment efforts to attract a more diverse talent base. This year, 51% of our intern hires identified as a person of color. We have added two Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to our core college recruitment list in an effort to diversify our applicant pool and build partnerships across diverse colleges and universities. This year, the National College Recruitment team will host two national diversity recruitment events that will target diverse talent from various schools nationwide, and we are forming a more active partnership with the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) in an effort to build brand awareness and access top industry talent.
Swinerton recognizes the importance of being a trusted community partner with a demonstrated commitment to diversity. In addition to meeting budget, schedule, and quality expectations, our knowledge combined with the results of exceeding project diversity commitments time after time lends to our credibility. Swinerton’s well-developed program is being recognized by our clients, which in turn sustains our ability to win work and garner new opportunities for our Swinerton teams.
“We have a strong commitment to increasing the diversity of our staff, since we believe that being a diverse group of thinkers and doers will both ground us and push our collective thinking to new heights,” said Cherece Milton, National College Recruiting Manager.
“With that said, we will establish diversity hiring goals to help assist us in measuring our inputs and outputs along with our improvements year over year.”
We understand that integrity, leadership, passion, and excellence is integral to every aspect of the work we do and the peace of mind we bring—including our commitment to diversity. Our objective is to ensure that the efforts of our program will have a long and lasting impact on the communities in which we live, serve, and belong.