Carpenter & Company and Woodward Design+Build Reiterate Their Commitment to a Cutting Edge DBE Program on the WTC Project
The innovative Four Seasons New Orleans DBE program is vastly different from any other program ever used in the City before. The Four Seasons program isbased on a different methodology, conceived and executed by different teams and monitored in very different ways. Importantly for the confidence of all parties, this project will be monitored by the City of New Orleans utilizing a specially designed software program that will review every aspect of our DBE program to ensure 100% compliance and transparency.
Our partnership is firmly committed to meeting the city’s objectives for meaningful DBE involvement, and for implementing the cutting edge DBE program that was central to our winning proposal. We are confident that this approach will be a model for all future city projects and will serve to provide good paying jobs and economic opportunities for more than a thousand local residents during the construction phase and hundreds more once our hotel and condominium project and cultural attraction are open.
The strength of the program we will implement, as conceived together with our local minority partners, is rooted in several key elements including:
- A fundamental commitment to create a DBE program from the ground up, and not simply make minor adjustments to existing DBE programs.
- Establishment of a DBE Advisory Committee which includes the City of New Orleans Office of Supplier Diversity, Woodward’s construction team, and our equity investors. This committee meets monthly to ensure open lines of communication, set clear expectations for the program and address any issues.
- Creation of a strategic partnership with locally owned Liberty Bank that allows all participating DBE companies to receive payment on their invoices with a fast-track turnaround instead of the traditional 30-day payment process. This innovative partnership will help get worker wages paid faster than ever before in the City of New Orleans.
- Partnership with BuildNola, which was formally announced in September. This partnership was singled out by Ashleigh Gardere, Senior Advisor to the Mayor and Director of The Network for Economic Opportunity for setting a high bar of participation for other local private companies to follow. Woodward was the first local company to join in this important job and income creation initiative.
- The allocation of additional private sector funds to ensure greater DBE participation. Unlike a public sector project that must utilize the lowest bidder, additional private investment funds will be necessary to help include DBEs that often cannot lower their rates to successfully compete for private projects like this one.
- In major trades such as mechanical and electrical work, utilization of a mentor protégéor joint venture relationship program for major trades with a local DBE firm that will allow for needed cross training of workers and project management and accelerated growth and capitalization of the DBE firm.
As the City has clearly stated, the Four Seasons development at the World Trade Center will be a prime example of the new way to provide meaningful DBE involvement, with “clear goals and strong local hiring requirements.” We stand by our commitment to do just that.