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Husch Blackwell Executive Roundtable Addresses Teaming Agreements to Lift Disadvantaged Construction Businesses

 

Published:

February 11, 2021

Related Service:

Construction & Design
 
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Husch Blackwell's Construction Academy and our HB Communities for Change initiative invited Milwaukee leaders to start 2021 with a discussion of ways to help small and disadvantaged construction firms enter the market and sustain growth. This was a first step in seeking the right plan of attack to help implement real change.

The base topic of mentoring relationships for Black and Latinx businesses helped reveal broader challenges and concerns. As one executive stated, “If you’re going to push something you need to know how heavy it is.” Milwaukee has a weighty problem of physical and economic segregation. The executives described several barriers limiting the ability of small firms to compete, such as access to capital and surety bonding. Equally significant is the access to a network that will expose businesses to opportunities within the construction market. The experienced guests acknowledged the help that specific inclusionary practices provide to assure minority participation in both public and private projects. However, there was a strong consensus that in order to build sustainability every business must have a value proposition such as excellence, creativity or innovation, and a way to show those qualities to the existing network of owners, established firms and funding sources.

There was universal agreement that the first steps on the path to better equity is to use authentic language that identifies the factors causing obstacles and to pursue measures that can achieve realistic goals. Teaming agreements, joint ventures and other mentoring arrangements are useful tools, but must be combined with broader actions to welcome Black and Latinx businesses into the network of construction stakeholders in the financing, procurement and development community.

Husch Blackwell is committed to continuing the conversation for how to effectuate real change and looks forward to partnering with clients and industry leaders within Milwaukee and other markets that we serve.

Professionals:

Joshua B. Levy

Partner

Quinncy McNeal

Pro Bono Counsel

Eric J. Meier

Partner
 

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