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Anchin's MWBE event: Williams sees "great days ahead" for New York construction industry

New York - A self-described eternal optimist, Paul T. Williams, Jr., President of the Dormitory Authority of New York State (DASNY), said he believes "there are great days ahead" for New York's construction industry, despite the current challenging times for financing and building new projects.

Williams' comments were made at Anchin's Building the future: Celebrating MWBEs and their Advocates, a recognition event for outstanding MWBEs held April 28. 

Williams served as keynote speaker at the event, which was co-sponsored by Carver Federal Savings Bank and the New York Building Congress.

Launched in 2010, Anchin's MWBE event this year expanded its audience, both in terms of companies vying to be recognized and event attendance.  Fourteen awards were presented at the event, based upon applications submitted by the companies and judged by an independent panel of seven industry executives.

Williams said his optimism is based on a number of reasons, including the fact that 2010 was a watershed year for MWBE development, especially on the legislative side.  Specifically, he noted:

  • The Final Report of the MWBE Executive Task Force, chaired by Williams, presented to then-Governor David Paterson.  The report outlines how the adoption of the task force's recommendations has increased the utilization of MWBEs, and led to a "new era of state procurement."
  • The New York State Disparity Study.  This study, commissioned by Empire State Development Corporation, which spanned the years 2004-2008, confirmed that 95% of state contract  work, representing more than $30 billion, went to majority firms, leaving MWBE firms "starkly underutilized."
  • The 2010 Business Diversification Act, which created MWBE goals for staffing and spending, instituted system-wide accountability, and created the position of Chief Diversity Officer for the State.  Williams said that Governor Andrew Cuomo has confirmed his strong commitment to diversity through his appointments and has publicly stated that he wants to increase MWBE utilization from 9 per cent to 20 per cent.
  • The recent budget adopted by New York State, which allocates "big dollars" to construction projects.  The budget indicated that the State "remains committed to opportunity and diversity across our entire platform," he said.

According to Williams, DASNY exceeded its MWBE goals for 2010, with MWBE utilization in construction projects at 23.57 per cent with a goal of 20 per cent.  That represents  expenditures of almost $220 million with MWBEs.  For the first quarter of 2011, DASNY has reached MWBE utilization of 20 per cent, representing expenditures of more than $100 million.

"We fully expect to meet and exceed our dollar totals from last year," Williams said.  "For all of these reasons, I choose to remain optimistic."

Your road to success will not be an easy one," Williams told the industry executives, "but it is the passion to do what you do that motivates you.  We in New York State government are counting on your success.  We want you to achieve your dreams."

Winners of the 2011 MWBE Building the Future awards were:

  • Architects, Watts Architecture and Engineering Services, Buffalo, NY.
  • Engineering, Jacob Feinberg Katz & Michael Consulting Group, New York City, and KS Engineers, P.C., Newark, NJ.
  • Subcontractors, Recon Construction Corporation, Flushing, NY, and International Asbestos Removal, Inc., Woodside, NY.
  • Supplier, Park Avenue Building and Roofing Supplies LLC, Brooklyn, NY.
    Construction Manager, NobleStrategy, LLC, New York, and McKissack & McKissack, New York.
  • General Contractor, Earth Construction Corporation, Queens Village, NY, and The MBI Group, New York, NY.
  • Outstanding Community Service, The McCloud Group, LLC, Hoboken, NJ.
  • Corporate Advocacy, TDX Construction Corporation, New York; the Metropolitan Transit Authority, New York; and the Women Builders Council, New York.

This annual event was launched by Anchin 2010 to recognize the contributions’ of outstanding MWBEs to the construction industry.  Judges for the 2011 event included Samuel Padilla, President, Padilla Construction Services; Deborah Bradley, President, Deborah Bradley Construction & Management Services, Inc.; Lou Coletti, President and CEO, Building Trades Employer's Association; Lea Cloud, partner, CR Studio; Michael Garner, Chief Diversity Officer, MTA; Maureen Fritch, President, Fritch Construction; and Dave Gockel, President and CEO, Langan Engineering.

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