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Construction Management Building Blocks Program


Pitt collaborated with regional construction leaders for novel approach to expanding business practices for women and minority contractors

More than 30 local women and minority contracting professionals have successfully completed the inaugural Construction Management Building Blocks Program at the University of Pittsburgh. Graduates were recently recognized during the program’s closing ceremony and reception in Pitt’s Alumni Hall.

Through a series of specially designed business-management courses, the Building Blocks Program provided contractors from traditionally 2016 Construction Management Building Blocks Program Graduates2016 Construction Management Building Blocks Program Graduatesunderrepresented communities with unique insights to expand their operational practices. The acumen attained through the program was meant to aid contractors in attaining larger, more prominent contracts with major organizations in Southwestern Pennsylvania.

Program courses included in-depth sessions on accounting and control, bonding and insurance, estimating and bidding, and project management, among other topics. Speakers and presenters were brought in from a range of organizations throughout the region.

“I walked away from the Building Blocks Program knowing that I don’t necessarily have to be a large construction firm in order to work with major organizations like Pitt,” said Darrell J. Williams, one of the program’s graduates and owner of the Pittsburgh-based firm Wilco Construction. Williams, who has been in business for himself since 2003, also said, “I already have the expertise and the skills needed to do a fine job for them. The Building Blocks Program taught me procedures, business practices, and the various avenues to go through in order to work with larger organizations.”

In an effort to increase diversity among Pitt’s own contracting partnerships, the program launched as a unique collaboration between Pitt and other construction leaders in the region, including Skanska USA; Mascaro; Massaro; PJ Dick; RYCON Construction, Inc.; Volpatt Construction; and UPMC. Skanska, one of the world’s leading construction and development companies, originated the Building Blocks Program through its Global Diversity Council in 2008.

“Skanska is committed to creating jobs and sharing best practices in the communities we work in,” said Skanska USA Executive Vice President and General Manager Ed Szwarc. “By partnering with the University of Pittsburgh, we make a vital investment in the local community to help expand contracting opportunities in the region.”

University of Pittsburgh officials said this program speaks to the University’s commitment to enriching diverse communities throughout Southwestern Pennsylvania.

“The Construction Management Building Blocks Program shows just how much Pitt cares about being a good neighbor to the City of Pittsburgh as well as how much we want to reach out to Pittsburgh’s citizens and make a real and lasting difference in the lives of people,” said Scott Bernotas, Pitt’s associate vice chancellor of facilities management. Source: University of Pittsburgh

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