• Marin Builders Member, Turner Construction IN THE NEWS for Their Dedication to Diversity and Inclusion in Construction

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    December 01, 2021

    Turner Construction: Building relationships to help businesses prosper

    San Francisco Business Times
    By Erin Bernall – Contributor
    Nov 26, 2021

    What is the foundation of Turner Construction’s supplier diversity program?

    Turner Construction believes in and practices the motto “building a better future.” We strive to deliver a superior job to our customers, build enduring relationships with our trade partners and commit to developing the communities in which we build. We have a long history of demonstrating our motto, and through our robust supplier diversity program we continue to maximize opportunities for minority, disadvantaged, women-owned, veteran/disabled, LGBTQ and small business enterprises. As a leading builder, it is our responsibility to positively influence and engage these businesses that do not have an equal footing. To support our national commitment to supplier diversity, Turner has a goal of 20% diverse business utilization regardless of contractual obligations.

    Turner recognizes diversity and commitment to underrepresented businesses as an operating principle and conducive to successful business. Through Turner’s extensive national network of subcontractors and suppliers, we’ve been able to provide and build long-term relationships with diverse businesses generating more than 86,900 contracts with a value of over $30.3 billion nationwide since 1979.

    Inclusion starts with an aggressive outreach program starting at the infancy of a construction project. It is critical to actively spread project awareness within the marketplace and educate diverse contractors on how they can participate. We further achieve these results by partnering with organizations working hand-in-hand with qualified diverse businesses. These partners include National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC), the National Association of Minority Contractors (NAMC), the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC), BuildOUT CA and the Veterans in Business Network (VIB).

    How does supplier diversity strengthen Turner Construction as an employer and as a service provider?

    Embracing supplier diversity gives both the general contractor and diverse businesses a competitive advantage. Turner is much stronger as an employer by looking beyond supplier diversity as a business “must do,” but rather an impactful approach to help businesses and communities thrive. Supplier diversity on our projects leads to innovation, greater productivity and increased profitability. When there are more options, more voices and more ideas, there are more opportunities for business excellence.

    Having a streamlined supplier diversity program allows us to develop the current and next generation of resources in the construction industry. A more inclusive strategy also broadens the pool of qualified subcontractors and suppliers, which provides procurement with a unique opportunity to encourage competition. This gives us an edge when bidding out projects, drives innovation and allows us to foster entrepreneurship by providing a platform for underrepresented suppliers in the construction industry.

    Diversity strengthens the economic health of local communities and is essential to the development and stability of our economy. Our supplier diversity program propels our business forward and through these partnerships with diverse businesses, we can create exceptional value to our clients which provides us with a competitive advantage.

    What makes a successful supplier diversity program?

    A successful supplier diversity program is built on an overall corporate culture that empowers diversity and inclusion from the inside out. Taking the time to build that foundation of understanding and support within your company adds strength to the overall execution of the program. Educate internal stakeholders on ways they can influence and incorporate more diverse subcontractors and suppliers on their projects. Make introductions and encourage teams to participate in events where they can build relationships with diverse contractors. Share success stories of the positive impact your program has on individuals, the community and clients.

    Most importantly, it is critical to stop operating in silos. A community helps build community. In addition to collaboration within your company, there is so much knowledge and best practices that can be shared among industry groups, corporations and other supplier diversity leaders. Together we can break barriers and drive better results as we all continue to make an impact in the diverse supplier community.

    What can companies learn from Turner Construction’s commitment to supplier diversity?

    Supplier diversity is vital to the sustainability of the construction industry and is necessary to how we operate. We know that building a diverse corporate culture and supply chain is challenging, but it’s a journey we encourage all firms to embark on. Taking the time to build relationships with diverse businesses will make the most impact to a supplier diversity program. In order for diverse businesses to be successful – which is our ultimate goal – it is essential to take the time to understand their expertise in order to best align project opportunities within your firm.

    Supplier diversity is not a new concept, but we are in a pivotal time where these programs are maturing to become incubators for innovation and growth. The next generation of supplier diversity programs is going to have a major impact in the concerted efforts around breaking barriers for underrepresented businesses in our industry and beyond. Clients are also becoming more informed and intentional when it comes to supplier diversity. It is our role as corporate leaders to help further these commitments.

    How does the Turner School of Construction Management program help to develop diverse businesses?

    Established in 1969, the Turner School of Construction Management training program exemplifies our commitment to removing barriers for small and diverse businesses. This program is coordinated and executed across the nation and is one of the on-going outreach initiatives Turner utilizes for maximizing supplier diversity.

    This multi-week, free program is taught by seasoned Turner employees and provides small and diverse businesses with informational training on topics including estimating, business development, bonding, insurance, scheduling and management. Since inception, the program has graduated more than 39,000 small and diverse businesses nationally. Through programs like this, we are able to share industry knowledge and best practices that help businesses develop their capacity to grow.
    Bianca Johnson, Community and Citizenship Director for Northern California
    bfjohnson@tcco.com, (415) 840-4589
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