Advancing supplier diversity efforts in Wichita

McCownGordon’s Wichita office was recently named an honoree in the Wichita Business Journal’s Diversity and Inclusion Awards. Willy Pegues, Vice President of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, sat down for an interview with the journal.

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Have DEI efforts in the construction industry improved in recent years? 

Yes, but the industry still has a long way to go. In recent years, the construction industry has been more intentional in increasing diversity within the profession and the utilization of Certified Business Enterprise trade partners like MBEs and WBEs.

What are your company’s commitments to diversity, equity, and inclusion? 

At McCownGordon, we foster an environment where all cultures and backgrounds are acknowledged, celebrated, and embraced. Our core purpose is to improve lives by aligning and working with clients that value the importance of DEI. We engage the people in the diverse communities we build in. We focus on serving, promoting and supporting diverse trade partners, providing opportunities to increase diversity within the recruiting pipeline, and creating an environment where everyone feels welcomed and have a sense of belonging.

What are the greatest DEI challenges you see in the construction industry?

 Staying the course in making diversity, equity and inclusion a bona fide strategic objective/goal. We need to be intentional in efforts to support DEI. Most importantly, there needs to be a higher level of accountability by the senior leadership in the industry related to DEI efforts.

How can supplier diversity be improved in terms of diversity in the construction industry? 

There are numerous ways supplier diversity can be improved, but the most compelling is the relationships with diverse trade partners (i.e., minority-owned, woman-owned, veteran-owned, etc.). Promoting and supporting diverse trade partners is essential, because their economic growth not only supports the communities they are working in but also supports the communities they live in. This ultimately contributes to inclusive prosperity.