MWL Mentorship Program Chat ’N Chew Event 2013

On January 9, 2013, over 60 current and past participants in the Columbia University Minority-, Women- and Locally-Owned (MWL) Construction Trades Management Certificate/Mentorship Program joined with senior executives from  Columbia University Facilities, the New York City Department of Small Business Services (SBS), and representatives from corporate partners including Con Edison, Goldman Sachs, National Grid, BNY Mellon to "Chat and Chew" in a free flowing conversation regarding the Certificate/Mentorship Program and other initiatives designed to assist the MWL community.

"I've learned so much as a direct result of this program. I have received many opportunities to market my company effectively," said James Bealon, owner of EZ Runer Construction Corp. and panelist at the event. "This program is more than just about receiving bid opportunities.  I was able to develop a relationship with a mentor that has helped me incredibly over the last few years.   I would not have made the connection without this program."

The audience engaged in a panel discussion with representatives from mentee firms that have received opportunities with the University or New York City as well as one of the corporate partners as a result of participating in this program.

"Being part of this program has changed my life.  I recently received an opportunity to work at the Manhattanville Development site," said panelist, Scott Griffin, Owner of Artisan Construction. "This is one of the largest and most exciting projects our company has encountered.  It has allowed me to hire more MWL talent to help my company throughout this project."

"It is up to you to perform well when opportunities are presented," Executive Vice President of Facilities Joseph Ienuso told the audience.  "The work you leave behind is your business card. Your performance will open the door for future opportunities."

Tanya Pope, Executive Director of Construction Business Services with Columbia said, "I have had the opportunity to help with this mentorship efforts while with the City and now here at Columbia.  I am proud of the progress we have made with the firms and even more proud of the commitment the City, our corporate partners, and the University continue to make every day to bring opportunities to MWL construction firms."  Pope previously served as the Executive Director of Education and Training with New York City Small Business Services.

"Through the new M/WBE legislation, our participating construction businesses will be able to compete more effectively for higher-valued government contracts," Gregg Bishop, Deputy Commissioner of Business Development at the NYC Department of Small Business Services said.  "We hope this training and our partners' participation will also lead to more opportunities with private corporations."