Updates

Obama Foundation Issues Request for Proposal to Four Construction Management Teams for Obama Presidential Center

Obama Foundation Issues Request for Proposal to Four Construction Management Teams for Obama Presidential Center, Establishing Ambitious Goals for Diversity & Inclusion

Major Minority-Owned Firms Tapped to Submit RFP in Obama Foundation’s Ongoing Goal of Bringing Local, Diverse Firms into Development of OPC

Chicago, IL – Today, the Obama Foundation issued a formal Request for Proposal (RFP) to four teams under consideration for the role of construction manager for the Obama Presidential Center (OPC). The RFP highlights the Obama Foundation’s commitment to fostering inclusion and promoting diversity, as well as creating meaningful opportunities and jobs for local businesses, community members, and underrepresented communities in the South Side and throughout Chicago. With projects and initiatives all over the world, the Obama Presidential Center will be based on the South Side of Chicago, a community near and dear to the Obamas.

The Obama Foundation is asking its construction manager candidates to commit to awarding 50% or more of its subcontracts to “diverse suppliers”, which in addition to minority (MBEs) and women business enterprises (WBEs) includes businesses owned by veterans, individuals with disabilities, and LGBTQ individuals. The Foundation is requiring that no less than 35% of the OPC’s subcontracts to MBE firms. With these aggressive goals, the Foundation is hoping to set a new precedent for diversity and inclusion in major construction projects in Chicago and beyond.

In addition to contracting practices, the RFP also asks bidding firms to detail new and innovative approaches to maximize diverse participation among the OPC workforce, particularly from underserved communities on the South and West Sides of Chicago, including Woodlawn, South Shore and Washington Park. Candidates are asked to provide not only job recruitment, but also job retention strategies, a sometimes-overlooked element in maintaining diverse workforces. Competing firms will be asked to detail how they plan to work with labor unions to increase the pipeline of talent among underrepresented groups. Competing firms are also being asked to think specifically about engagement among under-employed populations including ex-offenders and minority youth.

The Foundation is further requiring bidding teams to submit a significant amount of detail to demonstrate how the team’s own best practices align with the Foundation’s mission of civic engagement and commitment to diversity in hiring. The CM candidates will also be required to provide:

  • Detailed spending history with diverse suppliers, including past construction projects and operational spending (e.g. vendors for legal, advertising, communications, banking, etc.);
  • Breakdown of past philanthropic spending, including those firm’s contributions to educational, environmental and civil rights causes; and
  • Make-up of the board of each firm and diversity goals for current internal hiring practices.

“The Obamas chose to develop the Obama Presidential Center on the South Side to give back to the community that has given so much to them. With this RFP, the Foundation has established significant and aggressive goals for diversity and inclusion. We are committed to creating meaningful opportunities and jobs for local businesses, community members, and underrepresented communities in the South Side and throughout Chicago, and using our platform to pioneer new approaches to engaging minority populations in the construction industry to provide not just short-term jobs, but long-term professional opportunities,” explained David Simas, CEO of the Obama Foundation.

“We thank everyone who responded to our RFQ and congratulate the four teams on making it to the final stage of consideration,” said Roark Frankel, Director of Planning and Construction for the Obama Foundation. “We have set high standards for our finalists to meet – from contracting, to detailing who they will employ, and to the innovative hiring programs they will develop for young people. While we recognize that our goals are ambitious, we also believe that change cannot happen without setting the bar high.”

Today’s RFP announcement comes after the Obama Foundation issued an open Request for Qualifications (RFQ) in June 2017 to firms interested in the construction manager position.

While construction is not slated to begin until late 2018, the construction manager is expected to join the project team before year’s end to provide pre-construction services such as cost estimating, constructability review(s), value engineering, and logistics planning during the project’s remaining design phases. Firms will also be asked to include information to be considered to perform all of the construction services for the OPC. They will join a diverse team that demonstrates the Obama Foundation’s commitment to including local, minority firms in the development and construction of the Obama Presidential Center, including Interactive Design Architects, McKissack & McKissack, Ardmore Associates and many more. To ensure that the work of the Foundation is informed by a diverse set of viewpoints and is in line with its values of diversity and inclusion, the Obama Foundation announced the formation of an Inclusion Council in October 2016.

The following construction management teams have been selected to submit their proposals to the Obama Foundation:

Clark/Smoot Presidential Builders (Clark Construction Group/Smoot Construction Company/GMA Construction Group, LLC/Bowa Construction)

Founded in 1906, Clark Construction Group today employs 4,200 people in offices and jobsites across the United States. Celebrating its 25th year in Chicago, Clark has established itself as a premier local General Contractor, Design-Builder and Construction Manager.  Clark is corporately headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland with other regional offices in California, Florida, Texas and Washington.

Founded in 1946, Smoot Construction is one of the largest minority-owned construction firms in the country and provides comprehensive construction management, general contracting and design-build services. Smoot Construction serves clients in Midwest and the greater Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, and has developed a diverse portfolio that includes historically significant restorations, public assembly facilities, educational institutions, commercial office buildings and sports facilities.

Founded in 2009, Griggs Mitchell Alma Construction Group, LLC. (GMA) is a minority- and veteran-owned small business based in Chicago. GMA is licensed, bonded, and insured in the State of Illinois. Additionally, GMA’s self-performed work capabilities include Concrete, Rough Carpentry and Finish Carpentry and Flooring.

Founded in 2009, Bowa Construction (a division of The Bowa Group Inc.) is located in the South Side community. They have become one of the largest minority-owned general contractors in the Chicagoland area. Bowa has developed an extensive portfolio of clients in healthcare, civic, higher education, commercial office renovations, historic renovations, and mission critical projects.

Lakeside Alliance (Turner Construction Company/Powers & Sons Construction/UJAMAA Construction Inc./Brown & Momen Inc./Safeway Construction Company, Inc.)

Working in and around Chicago since 1924, Turner Construction Company brings excellent management expertise, building experience and knowledge of the respective markets, infrastructure and civic processes. Turner employs a staff of 215 people in Illinois, and manages annually approximately $500 million of local construction activity.

Powers & Sons Construction Company was founded in 1967 and has evolved to be a well-recognized and respected multi-million dollar General Contractor, Construction Manager, and Design-Builder. The firm has fully staffed offices in Chicago, IL; Gary, IN and Indianapolis, IN with a staff of more than 70 professionals. In 2016, the company managed more than $200 million in construction projects.

Founded in 2002 by owner and architect Jimmy Akintonde, Ujamaa Construction Inc. (UJAMAA) has consistently built its portfolio with successful projects and satisfied clients. Under his leadership, the UJAMAA team is equipped with decades of combined general construction experience from the most premier construction companies in the Midwest. In 2016, UJAMAA completed over $42 million in local construction projects.

Brown & Momen, Inc. is a professional, Chicago-based corporation established in 1988 providing comprehensive services in general contracting, construction management, owner’s representation, and carpentry. Brown & Momen has worked on a number of notable Chicago-based projects, including museums, apartment complexes and schools.

Safeway Construction Company, Inc. has provided quality and affordable construction services, throughout the Chicago area for over 30 years. Their team offers a unique combination of Chicago construction experience, minority & women outreach, relevant project experience, along with well-established construction best practices.

Power Mortenson Partners (Power Construction Company/Mortenson Construction/GMA Construction/Bowa Group)

Power Construction Company is a 91-year-old, family and management-owned firm operating exclusively in greater Chicago. With over 250 full-time professionals and $1 billion in annual revenues, today Power is the largest contractor in Chicago.

Mortenson Construction is a 63-year-old, family-owned organization. Mortenson is currently ranked as the 18th-largest contractor in the United States and have distinguished themselves by offering services based on the values of trust, teamwork, service, responsibility, safety and stewardship.

Founded in 2009, Griggs Mitchell Alma Construction Group, LLC. (GMA) is a minority- and veteran-owned small business based in Chicago. GMA is licensed, bonded, and insured in the State of Illinois. Additionally, GMA’s self-performed work capabilities include Concrete, Rough Carpentry and Finish Carpentry and Flooring.

Founded in 2009, Bowa Construction (a division of The Bowa Group Inc.) is located in the South Side community. They have become one of the largest minority-owned general contractors in the Chicagoland area. Bowa has developed an extensive portfolio of clients in healthcare, civic, higher education, commercial office renovations, historic renovations, and mission critical projects.

Power Mortenson Partners intends to add another minority-owned firm to their partnership in their RFP response.

W.E. O’Neil Construction Company

Established in 1925, W.E. O’Neil Construction Company has flourished into an award-winning and nationally ranked industry leader with established experience working on major projects and cultural institutions in Chicago. The W.E. O’Neil family of companies is headquartered in Chicago and has a long tradition of community engagement through innovative apprenticeship programs and supporting local businesses.

W.E. O’Neil Construction Company intends to partner with one or more minority-owned firms in their RFP response.

###

Contact: Kate Berner, [email protected]

Top