Public Building Commission Director Joins Suburban Minority Contractors Association to Discuss Opportunities for Minority Business Participation on Public Projects, Highlight 2013 Successes

Molly Sullivan, Public Building Commission, (312) 744-9277

Public Building Commission of Chicago (PBC) Executive Director Erin Lavin Cabonargi today joined leaders from the Suburban Minority Contractors Association (SMCA) where she outlined upcoming opportunities for area contractors on public projects managed by the PBC and thanked area business leaders for their support and assistance on business outreach efforts.

At an SMCA membership meeting on Chicago’s South Side, Lavin Cabonargi also reviewed the successes of 2013 and noted that the PBC achieved high levels of minority and women-owned business entities on public construction projects managed by the PBC. The high level of M/WBE participation extended across all PBC work, from general construction to professional services such as surveyors, engineering and other services.

Lavin Cabonargi stressed that the PBC’s achievements in 2013 were due in large part to the partnerships the PBC has forged with organizations like SMCA and area business associations and assist agencies, which help PBC with contractor outreach so businesses are aware of and can participate in the projects.

“These partnerships are key to our work with the business community and our communities at large. We are grateful for the relationships we have forged and remain committed to ensuring that our project workforce is reflective of the diversity of the communities we serve,” Lavin Cabonargi said. “The construction projects that we manage provide contracting opportunities and fuel job creation. In 2013, nearly 12,500 individuals were employed on major public projects.”

In addition to outlining upcoming business opportunities, Lavin Cabonargi reminded contractors that the best way to learn about and stay updated on PBC projects is to sign up for “PBC Alerts” by visiting the PBC website at

Rev. Larry Bullock, President and CEO of SMCA, said the PBC’s work aligns well with the goals and mission of the organization, which serves as an assist and advocacy agency for minority business owners, contractors and subcontractors in the suburban community. “The SMCA is proud of the work the PBC and its staff are doing to improve business opportunities for Chicagoans, especially minority-owned businesses and contractors. As an assist agency in the construction procurement arena, SMCA looks forward to continued collaboration with the PBC and its strategic partners,” Bullock said.

The Public Building Commission of Chicago (PBC) earlier this year reported that minority and woman-owned business (M/WBE) participation played a key role in project development and overall professional services, and that minorities and female workers were well-represented in the workforce that delivered these 27 major public construction projects completed in 2013.

The PBC also reported strong job creation numbers, with nearly 12,500 individuals employed on projects in 2013 as a result of partnerships with diverse business chambers and community organizations, helping PBC meet its residency workforce requirements and exceed community hiring goals that benefitted residents of the communities surrounding the projects.

Lavin Cabonargi noted that the strong outcomes reported for 2013 show that the PBC’s commitment to minority and women-owned business participation is as strong as ever and that community engagement efforts to provide workforce opportunities to minorities and females have worked.  The PBC’s community outreach efforts, in partnership with community-based entities helped contractors to identify and hire community residents.

In all, 27 construction projects were completed in 2013 totaling more than $400.4 million in contract awards. Of the more than $362.6 million paid to date, these projects have achieved a combined M/WBE participation of 39.93% or $144.7 million. MBE participation was 32.21% or $116.7 million, and WBE participation was 7.73% or $28 million, exceeding the goals of 24% and 4% respectively.

Professional consulting services for general construction projects – architectural, engineering and other similar services — completed in 2013 represented a total value of $17.42 million. As paid to date, these services have achieved a combined M/WBE participation of 70.25% or $11.34 million. MBE participation was 57.35% or $9.26 million and WBE participation was 12.9% or $2.08 million.

Minorities and women female workers were also well represented among the workforce on construction projects. Male minority journeyworkers, apprentices and laborers represented more than 55% of the hours worked, while women journeyworkers, apprentices and laborers represented more than 5.68 % of the hours worked.

2013 was an exceptional year overall for the PBC. On behalf of its clients, PBC successfully delivered nine new capital projects, upgrades to 98 schools as part of the School Investment Program, and six modular units at elementary schools to facilitate full-day kindergarten. The PBC also delivered energy, technology and infrastructure projects that have helped reduce use of natural resources, improve access to technology and improve public safety tools.