Projects in Progress: Fostering Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Through Mentorship Programs
On April 8, 2021, Patricia de la Peña moderated "Projects in Progress: Fostering Diversity and Inclusion Through Mentorship Programs" for the Design Build Institute of America Southwest Region's (DBIA-SW) 2021 Hybrid Annual Conference: Moving Past the Disruptions.
North Texas Tollway Authority (NTTA) developed the Relationships & Opportunities Advancing Diversity (ROAD) program ten years ago with a mentor/protégé model to help broaden capacity and strengthen expertise for Disadvantaged, Minority and Woman-Owned Business enterprises (D/M/WBEs). The program provides opportunities for DMWBEs to partner with established firms to enhance technical and industry knowledge so companies are equipped to compete for future procurement opportunities at NTTA and similar entities across the North Texas region.
What started out in 2010 with five teams of construction and engineering providers has grown over the last ten years to include mentors and protégés in engineering, legal services, construction, information technology and geotechnical and materials testing. To date, nearly 50 mentor-protégé teams have completed or will soon complete the program. Several firms that once participated as protégés have “paid it forward” by becoming mentors in later classes, the ideal growth path of a ROAD program participant.
DBIA-SW Region's 2021 Annual Conference united design-builders from five states for two days of educational opportunities, networking and celebration. The program focused on infrastructure and invited participants to learn how public projects and design-builders can leverage their skills to lead through uncertain times and use design-build to move forward.