What a privilege and honor for opportunity to have a voice in sharing ideas, insights and recommendations as an entrepreneur and CEO of an emerging construction manager/general contractor in Durham, NC. Members of the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness met at the NCCU Law School for a roundtable discussion with various local industry, non-profit and governmental leaders on innovative ideas for job growth and workforce development. The discussion was facilitated by Melody Barnes, Advisor to the President on Domestic Policy and Don Graves, Executive Director of the Jobs Council. The supporting members in attendance included: Roger Ferguson, President and CEO of TIAA-CREF; Joseph Hansen, International President of UFCW; Monica Lozano, CEO of ImpreMedia; Darlene Miller, President and CEO of Permac Industries; and Penny Pritzker, Chair and CEO of Pritzker Realty Group. The leading question for discussion focused on what works well in North Carolina and what is needed.
Here are my comments and recommendations at the roundtable discussion, which by the way was actually a hollow square setup:
From an entrepreneurial perspective with boots on the ground, our company is representative of the small business that becomes the link to economic development at the foundational level of impact. The decisions we make are critical because they affect not only our employees but their respective families. While the educational resources here are rich, we have to be able to offer a compensation package to attract and retain the talented, skilled employee. In addition, a platform for success positions us to drive the success of other companies and expand our footprint as well.
There are various initiatives that would be beneficial recommendations to consider:
Everything in NC is legislated, including for example the delivery method for construction. So it is important that the language is clearly defined and specific around goals, intent, initiative and expected outcome and not left vague to interpretation.
Small business is too global as a categorical definition. It consolidates all categories and expands an extraordinarily competitive arena for the most disenfranchised groups, i.e. African American and Hispanic for example. The small business designation dilutes the opportunities for success for historically underutilized businesses. It is important to distinguish goals for ethnic categories, women, veteran-owned, etc. in order to provide for equity in competing for opportunities.
Allow for financial flexibility, e.g. offerings that are merit-based. While profitability is important, cash flow in this economy is the sustainable life line.
Provide tax incentives to small businesses not just to the large companies to allow for reinvestment in talent, technology and growth.
Support the resource alliances such as the NC Institute for Economic Minority Development that provide training, technical and marketing programs.
There has to be a matrix for serial opportunities through partnering and strategic alliances that help promote and target companies for continual work.
The Daniele Company is a premier construction management company located in downtown Durham, NC, specializing in Pre-construction Planning; New Construction and Major Renovation; Project Management and Contract Administration; Electrical Distribution; as well as Diversity Coordination.
Our belief is that the business of construction is not simply about building structures, but ultimately about changing the shape of communities, enhancing the quality of people's lives, and catalyzing the growth of neighborhoods and cities.