PWC Assists with W/MBE Compliance Goals

Mon November 17, 2014 - National Edition
Florence Chilton

Florence Chilton.
Florence Chilton.



Each month CEG is presenting a blog contributed by members of Professional Women in Construction (PWC). Founded in 1980, PWC is a nonprofit advocacy andsupport organization dedicated to the advancement of professional, managerial and entrepreneurial women in construction and related industries. PWC has chapters nationwide.

PWC has put in place a new Compliance Committee to assist contractors and M/W/DBEs to assure that participation and attainment goals are reached. PWC is assisting with any project that has goals by providing encouragement, knowledge and experience. We are there to help answer questions and match WMBE’s with contractors. We hope those we work with on this effort will become members of PWC and get involved. We want everyone to succeed.

I am the Committee’s chair. I am the president and owner of Florence Construction Corp., a NYC/NYS certified WBE/DBE (woman-owned /disadvantaged business enterprise) , civil construction company that bids on civil construction projects in the tri-state area.

I started my career in the construction industry in 1988, graduating from Local 138 I.U.O.E. The NYS-approved apprentice program taught me how to work safely and properly in the construction industry while earning my NYS Crane license and learning how to operate numerous pieces of heavy equipment. As I balanced school and field work I realized that construction was where I was meant to be. Being a woman in the construction industry has its own challenges. Working in the construction field in a nontraditional role you need to have the fortitude to overcome many obstacles. You need determination to succeed to make a better life for yourself and your family. Conquering the challenges as one of the pioneers in the construction industry has been both difficult and rewarding.

I decided to form my own company in 1995, and FCC became official in 1998. However, I discovered quickly that local law 129, intended to encourage WBEs, actually penalized Florence Construction. Since WBEs were categorized by race and ethnicity and those owned by Caucasian women had no stated participation goals, Florence Construction was ignored on all local NYC construction projects. There was simply no incentive to hire us.

A new law, Local Law 1, passed in July 2013. This law eliminates the $1 million cap on M/W/EBE (emerging) program-eligible contracts that was set by the former Local Law 129 of 2005 and allows for the inclusion of higher value contracts. Local Law 1-2013 establishes new citywide participation goals in the programs for construction projects. The participation goals now include ALL women-owned companies regardless of race or ethnicity and sets the goal at 18%. This gives new hope to Florence Construction. We are moving into the general contracting arena and plan to work more aggressively in the market.

The company’s accumulated bidding value is in the multimillion dollar range and Florence Construction is looking for investors, interested in helping a DBE/WBE succeed and earn profits along with the company. Contact: fchilton@floconstcorp.com

Florence Chilton, president of Florence Construction Corp., serves on the Board of Directors of PWC.