Promoting diversity across Texas led Skanska USA to create a new statewide position and bring in company veteran Maritza Burgos as Texas diversity manager.
“Our primary goal is to increase participation and expand our diversity contractor pool,” Burgos tells Texas Construction. “We want to be an advocate among disadvantaged, historically underutilized and small minority and women-owned business enterprises to connect them with opportunities at Skanska.” This will help boost the firm’s percentages of diversity contractors on its projects, she adds.
Burgos will be responsible for identifying minority firms to participate in procurement opportunities. Based in San Antonio, Burgos will serve as the community liaison between local organizations and mentoring programs, and implement the company’s “Construction Management Building Blocks” diversity program for Skanska’s statewide operations.
Since entering the Texas market in 2002, Skanska has made diversity initiatives a priority. It reached 37% diversity participation on the Alamo Colleges St. Philip’s College Nursing and Allied Health Center in San Antonio. In the Houston market, Skanska recently achieved 40% diversity participation on the University of Houston-Sugar Land Brazos Hall project.
“Our goal is to achieve above 26.1% minority participation,” Burgos says. “It is all a project-by-project basis, but Texas is a diverse state and that makes it a simpler task,” she says.
Burgos will work with Skanska’s “Construction Management Building Blocks” program, which introduces SMWBEs to skill sets needed on large-budget projects with Skanska, as well as with other firms, she says.
The program will help subcontractors, especially smaller firms, grow and be competitive.
“Being strong advocates and ambassadors for diversity is part of our corporate culture and is as important to us as safety,” Burgos says. She adds that clients benefit and are becoming more diverse, too. “Partnering with diverse suppliers and contractors is a key ingredient to increase profitability for our firm and the subcontractors,” Burgos says.