Over the past year, a Pacific Northwest-based firm, Walsh Construction and architecture firm HOK, have been hard at work designing and constructing the Concourse D Annex at Sea-Tac Airport.
Today, the new two-story 32,400-square-foot facility is connected by a sky bridge to the existing Concourse D and constructed with a simple but elegant steel structure with a sloped metal roof and glulam trusses.
The building will be architecturally significant. But what really sets the company apart is its commitment to increasing the use of small business in Port contracting.
In the past, it’s been a high priority for the Port to increase the utilization of small business in Port contracting. The refined goal moving forward is to increase equity, inclusion, and participation of minority and women-owned businesses (WMBE) in Port opportunities, regardless of their size. In 2017, Port contracting and procurement efforts awarded $62.8 million to small businesses( or 25.3 percent of overall Port spending) and is on track to exceed that number in 2018.
Walsh made the Port’s small business goal a requirement as they worked on hiring subcontractors for the construction project. In fact, Walsh awarded nearly 50 percent of their contracts to small businesses, and 22 percent of those businesses were minority and women-owned businesses.
This number exceeds the Port’s target and Walsh’s initial commitment of awarding contracts to 40 percent small business and 10 percent to women and minority firms. To recognize Walsh Construction’s commitment to a superior product and its commitment to Port goals, the Port honored Walsh with a Champion of Inclusion Award. This award recognizes the work of prime contracts who have demonstrated continuous commitment to working with small businesses.
Doug Benjamin, Program Manager for Walsh Construction, said the practice of working with local small businesses also fits into Walsh’s mission.
“Our mission statement refers to giving back to the communities where we live and work, and partnering and helping small businesses in our communities is doing just that,” he said.
He said Walsh is grateful to be recognized by the Port and the company is proud to have exceeded the goal. “With or without the award, it is the right thing to do,” he said. “The award is just icing on the cake.”