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Building Stronger Airports and Communities: Nurturing Partnerships with Disadvantaged Business Enterprises

A blog by JE Dunn Construction

Gathering at the 2024 Planning, Design, and Construction Symposium, we recognize the importance of not just constructing terminals, runways, and MRO structures, but also fostering connections within our communities. It's crucial that every stride forward is inclusive and beneficial for all members of society. A key aspect of this mission is nurturing partnerships with Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBEs) and Minority/Women-owned Business Enterprises (M/WBEs), empowering them to grow and collaborate, ultimately driving the development of future airport projects while creating job opportunities in local communities.  

Our industry's vision is about transcending boundaries. Yet, as we aim for new heights, we must stay rooted in our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. Actively engaging with DBEs not only diversifies our supply chains but also infuses our projects with fresh perspectives and innovative ideas.

JE Dunn is privileged to work with exceptional M/WBE joint venture partners on terminal projects at Charlotte Douglas International Airport and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.    These partnerships, initially formed with the M/WBE partners at airports, have evolved into meaningful joint venture collaborations on large industrial and healthcare projects within our communities in addition to our airport work together.  

These partnerships go beyond mere transactions; they are mutually beneficial relationships that enrich both parties and the broader community. For disadvantaged businesses, such collaborations provide opportunities to enhance skills, expand networks, and access resources previously out of reach, empowering them to contribute significantly to airport projects' success.

Furthermore, building relationships with DBEs and M/WBEs aligns seamlessly with our industry's broader commitment to social responsibility. Prioritizing diversity, equity, and inclusion in our procurement processes not only meets regulatory requirements but also demonstrates our dedication to uplifting underrepresented communities.

Expanding job opportunities in the construction trades is vital for enhancing a community's economic resilience and vitality. In tandem with supporting disadvantaged businesses, pursuing a robust skilled trade workforce development program is a cornerstone of prosperous communities. Recognizing this, JE Dunn collaborated with the City of Austin to inaugurate a groundbreaking workforce development initiative. The partnership leveraged our projects at Austin Bergstrom International Airport to create direct pathways from training programs to meaningful employment on live construction sites.

While partnering with DBEs and M/WBEs requires commitment and support, the rewards are substantial. It requires proactive outreach, genuine collaboration, and ongoing support and mentorship. By investing in the growth and success of these businesses, we lay the groundwork for a more equitable and prosperous future for all stakeholders.

Looking ahead to the future of airport planning, design, and construction, let's seize the opportunity to make a lasting impact beyond blueprints and steel. Let's embrace diversity as our greatest asset and leverage partnerships to build resilient communities. Together, we can elevate our industry, leaving a legacy of inclusivity, innovation, and opportunity.

The sky is not the limit; it's just the beginning of what we can achieve together. To learn more about JE Dunn’s commitment and upcoming partnership opportunities, please visit us at Booth #233.