John Larkin recently was featured in a well-done article in African American News Journal where he was quoted regarding his part in construction taking place at the Columbus Metropolitan Library (CML). Larkin’s company, a Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) certified firm, recently won the contract for all fire alarm renovations, installations, and on-going service and inspections within the entire CML enterprise.
The following is a reproduction of this recent article by Nancy Tidwell, a Diversity & Inclusion Consultant expert.
Columbus Metropolitan Library is Serious About
Construction Project Diversity and Inclusion
By Nancy R. Tidwell
When the CEO of Columbus Metropolitan Library (CML) first sat across the table from me in a meeting about construction and asked, “What do you think?” I knew I was in good company. Rarely does the owner’s top officer of any construction project sit at the same table with the diversity and inclusion consultant, much less ask for an opinion. This I can attest to after nearly 20 years of experience in the field.
It continued to happen time and time again as perceived wrinkles in the program were worked out and everyone including community advocates, library staff and construction management knew without a doubt that CEO Pat Losinski, backed by the CML Board of Trustees, is serious about diversity and inclusion. His concern is not commitment—it is “how” do we make it happen?
Pizzuti, the owner’s representative, is leading that charge and has already demonstrated that its team is bold enough to see the project through in achieving the desired results.
The project is off to a good start with the construction management team at Turner Construction keeping their eyes open for every opportunity to be inclusive. The first two bid packages exceeded the 20% MBE/WBE goal for contract awards and are committed to achieving 10% minority/6.9% female goal for employment.
When budgetary concerns led to shutting down Main Library during renovation, creativity came into play and “cut and cap” work was identified for mechanical, electrical and plumbing. All three were awarded to minority contractors—the local office of Coleman Spohn, DEH Electric and Clive Stephens Plumbing. With that same creativity, technology cabling for Main Library and six branch locations was divided up between three primes—Gudenkauf, which subcontracted 19% of its work to an MBE firm; U.S. Communications, a female-owned company; and Crossbow Systems, a minority-owned firm.
Perhaps one of the most significant contract awards thus far is the bulk purchase of a fire alarm system for Main Library and seven branches. Selected was Electronic Systems Consultants, a minority business enterprise owned by John Larkin.
|“As a startup company in Central Ohio and the
sole source provider for the library’s fire alarm
and life safety system, we are very excited about
the opportunity to be a part of this project. We
are not only committed to providing a seamless
installation but to developing a long-term relationship
with the library,” stated Larkin.|
John Larkin, Senior Partner with Electronic Systems Consultants LLC in Columbus, Ohio.
CML’s diversity and inclusion effort doesn’t stop here. Job referral flyers have been posted in all of its locations in an effort to identify individuals in need of work who are also interested in construction. With a shortage of construction workers in the forecast, the project team will forward this information to contractors who are hiring. At the same time, every job referral form submitted will be responded to with information on employment resources and training, including apprenticeship programs. In addition, awarded contractors will be asked to consider the internship placement of local students pursuing a career in construction.
CML is in the midst of building five new libraries, renovating two and transforming its Main Library in downtown Columbus. Two earlier branches, Driving Park and Whitehall, were completed under a different delivery method. In order to facilitate a more effective diversity and inclusion process, the project delivery method for the remaining libraries was changed to Construction Manager at Risk.
One thing is clear though—it is the project owner that makes the difference in determining whether or not diversity and inclusion is taken seriously. In this case, Columbus Metropolitan Library is setting a precedent that will long be remembered.
Nancy R. Tidwell is a Diversity & Inclusion Consultant.
Editor's Note: John Larkin is available for speaking engagements as well as interviews with magazines and newspapers. For more information, contact Allan B. Colombo, Director of Social Media and Web Assets, at 330-956-9003, or by email: click here.