Jessica Frankl photo
(L-R) at the IBEX table are Anthony Patti; Bebe Kovac; Frank Ravesi; Lisa Chapman; Andy Frankl; Sandy Stein; Nathan Schultz; Sadha Boodhan; Sabrina Thomas; and Bill Jefferson.
Five of the New York metro area’s top movers and shakers spoke at PWC’s Meet the Construction Chiefs, held Feb. 26 at Club 101 in Manhattan.
“Our speakers today represent industry leaders from the private and public sector, bringing news about capital program budgets reaching well into the billions,” said Professional Women in Construction (PWC) President Barbara Armand, president and CEO of Armand Corp.
Shari C. Hyman, president and COO, Battery Park City Authority (BPCA), commended the BPCA’s Diversity team, led by Anthony Peterson, for bringing M/WBE contract totals to 29 percent for 2014, surpassing the state’s 20 percent goal. She noted that this spring, the BPCA expects to exceed the recently raised 2015 MWBE utilization goal of 30 percent.
“MWBEs [need to] share in the continued economic growth of downtown as the neighborhood matures and becomes a destination for all New Yorkers,” Hyman said.
Richard Kennedy, COO of Skanska USA’s building operations in Metro New York, said that in 2014 his sector of the firm put “$1.2B of construction work in place,” and “we see the market continuing to grow and strengthen every day.”
He spoke of institutional work at the U.N.; the multi-lab research facility for CUNY; the new headquarters for IBM’s Watson computer downtown; and in healthcare and higher ed. Kennedy then noted Skanska USA’s newly formed Women’s Network and its Building Blocks program in construction management that has graduated 350 companies and just added a “Subcontractor Spotlight” to bring small MWBE contractors to the decision makers.
Sharon Neill, deputy commissioner, NYC Dep’t. of Buildings, spoke of the need for more women to enter construction trades and the growth of women entrepreneurs as “women-owned construction firms constitute the fastest growing urban business sector in the U.S.”
She noted the DOB’s commitment to reducing paper work and bureaucracy and work to implement electronic/virtual means in all from applications to processing certificates of occupancy to making payments. She spoke also of the inspection ready system to streamline scheduling.
Neill said, the DOB realizes that “safety is paramount,” and “development is critical to our great city, it’s a huge part of our economy.”
Andy Frankl, president of IBEX Construction, spoke of IBEX’s work for the Chapin School whose mission is aligned with PWC’s “to prepare and promote a diverse and talented community to thrive and lead in a global society and to become self-directed learners who value the process of learning as much as the end result.”
Chapin’s goals have “driven us to go beyond the normal expectations and unlock and expand every tool in our toolbox,” Frankl said.
He concluded by pointing to IBEX’s utilization of technology saying that “We like to think of ourselves as the intelligent construction company.”
Denise Berger, asst. chief engineer/operations, engineering dept., the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ), spoke of the challenge facing all public agencies of “investing in our infrastructure with limited resources.”
The PANYNJ’s 10 year $27.6B Capital Plan for the State of Good Repair Program and upgrades is being conducted through work at area airports; PATH facilities; Port Commerce; Storm Sandy capital recovery; bridges and tunnels including the Goethals Bridge Modernization Program and the Bayonne Bridge’s “Raise the Roadway Program” with “a commitment to utilize 44 MWBE subcontractors at an estimated value of $79.5M.”
Presenters at the event included PWC board members Nancy Czesak, first vice president, Tishman, an AECOM Company; Kay Lee, general sales manager, SimplexGrinnell; and Florence Chilton, CEO, Florence Construction.
Event sponsors were: AEC Repro; HAKS; Safety Supplies Unlimited; and A. Esteban & Company.
The event included a B2B interchange with exhibit tables and a buffet dinner.
For information, call 212/486-7745 or visit www.pwcusa.org/ny.