Bulley & Andrews’ (B&A) success lies in understanding what matters most and honoring it. To that point, Bulley & Andrews’ (B&A) believes in the importance of making the construction industry more diverse and inclusive and is committed to providing equity for those under-served and under-represented. People are our most valuable asset and we are dedicated to fostering a corporate culture that embraces diversity and supports inclusion among people, projects and communities. The focus of our efforts is to cultivate an environment that makes space for and supports the experiences and voices of all people.
B&A applauds our industry’s progress toward making the built world more equitable and welcoming to all, but we know there is more work to be done. Inspired by our clients, we have taken a humble approach and asked ourselves, “what should we be doing to help create more accessible and representative space for all?” For us, this means we take responsibility on every level, from the individual to the organization. This includes how and what we construct for our clients. By examining and adjusting our own culture first, we are better able to support our staff, promote these values for our clients and provide positive influence in the marketplace. This is our springboard to creating meaningful change in our industry and for our world.
What started as a modest initiative has grown into a robust Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) Group conceived and led by B&A employees. The foremost goal of this group is to provide a platform for team members to receive formal support and accountability and expect tangible, timely action toward diversity and inclusion initiatives. The group includes three committees, each with distinct focus: LGBTQ+, multicultural, and women. The D&I Group steers B&A-led resources and recommends actions to make positive changes with a focus on those underrepresented in the A/E/C industry.
How We’re Showing Up
Supporting employee participation in the D&I Group allows each committee to realize their individual goals and positively impact our firm as a whole. Their initiatives include:
- Hosting regular committee meetings where employees are encouraged to voice concerns and share ideas
- Working with the My Block, My Hood, My City (M3) organization and dedicating employee service days to M3 neighborhood cleanup projects on Chicago’s South and West sides
- Fundraising for organizations such as the AIDS Run & Walk Chicago whose goal is to raise funds and awareness to fight the HIV epidemic
- Talking with women-owned business leaders at firm-sponsored information sessions to better understand how to support their organizations
- Observing “Wear Red Day” to raise awareness of cardiovascular disease in women
- Partnering with Habitat for Humanity for their Women Build event
- Wearing custom pronoun pins and providing the opportunity for employees and visitors
- Donating money and supplies to Margaret’s Village, a shelter for women, children and families
- Recognizing the people behind the projects on B&A’s social media accounts and website
- Educating college students of diverse backgrounds about career opportunities in the A/E/C industry
- Celebrating National Women in Construction Week with various activities for employees every March
- Talking with employees at dedicated “Lunch & Learns” about gender identity and how to respect one another in the workplace
- Touring projects encouraged for all employees, including support staff
- Designating a place for staff to indicate their pronouns in their email signatures
- Partnering with organizations such as Hire360 and Revolution Workshop to provide industry workforce development and job opportunities to members of under-served communities
What We’ve Accomplished
The changes our D&I Group has influenced have had an undeniably positive affect on how B&A builds and partners with our clients.
B&A’s project management approach is built on a foundation of trust established through inclusion and open communication. Fostering and supporting a team that embraces all voices and perspectives has led to more thoughtful, innovative and responsive ways of building for our clients and partners.
- Prioritizes D&I as an agenda item for OAC meetings
- Proactively seeks qualified minority and women-owned businesses to be partner on our projects. B&A maintains a list of 200+ prequalified M/WBE trade contractors and suppliers who we routinely invite to bid and work on our projects
- Hosts job fairs and identifies local tradespeople for employment opportunities
- Talks with community members being served by a project to address their specific needs and/or concerns. This helps cultivate a sense of ownership and civic pride in the project
- Encourages project sites to become a “Culture of Care” locations. Created by the Chicagoland Associated General Contractors (CAGC), the initiative seeks to advance construction as the industry of choice for diverse and talented tradespeople by building inclusive work environments nationwide
- Provides gender neutral bathrooms on project sites
- Implements a zero tolerance policy for harassment of any kind on project sites
Supporting Inclusion in the Built Environment
While B&A places a premium on cultivating a diverse and inclusive workforce internally, our team is also dedicated to doing the same for the construction industry at large. We listen, empathize and are responsive to the dynamic needs of our projects and their respective teams including the client, architect and trade partners. A large part of that effort involves searching for and providing opportunities and resources to not only diverse firms, but specific diverse team members who bring value to those firms. This effort demonstrates how B&A values diversity of backgrounds, experiences and voices. Doing so makes our projects better and reflects our belief that stewardship, fairness and advocating for others is not only important, but necessary.