Posted: July 01, 2011
Diversity Corporation of the Year
Finalists in the "large" categoryBy Lisa Ryckman
Managed Business Solutions
Managed Business Solutions has taken its commitment to diversity from Colorado Springs to a remote village in southeast Alaska.
The 18-year-old IT company, a subsidiary of Native Alaskan-owned Sealaska Corp., provides hardware and software services in North America, Latin America, Africa, Asia and Europe. Now, it has opened an office in Kake, population 500.
That's just one example of the company's commitment to creating a diversified economy and sustainable jobs for Native Alaskans.
"Our hope is to keep expanding and adding on more offices in small villages within our shareholder range," Marketing Manager Jane Kovalik says.
MBS is minority-certified by the National Minority Supplier Development Council and recently received certification under the U.S. Small Business Administration's 8(a) program, which helps develop small companies owned and operated by individuals who are socially and economically disadvantaged. The company's federal certification as a Small Disadvantaged Business (SDB) enables MBS customers to meet 8(a)/SDB and supplier diversity goals, Kovalik says.
For the new office in Kake, Alaska, MBS brought in a T1 fiber-optic line "that allows Kake workers to function as though they are right down the street from us," says MBS President Jon Duncan, who is himself a Sealaska tribe member shareholder. "What we are introducing in Kake is an entirely new industry."
MBS has been recognized by DiversityBusiness.com as a Top 500 Diversity Owned Business as well as a Top 100 Native American Owned Business.
"We try to support other small businesses when we're purchasing or building relationships," Kovalik says. "We really do believe in trying to help ourselves and help others."
The engineering and construction industry tends to be a man's world, but CH2M HILL is working hard to change that.
Since the launch of its Contructing Pathways for Women Through Inclusion initiative in 2003, the percentage of women in senior leadership positions at the Englewood-based company has increased six-fold, to 18 percent. The percentage of women project managers has increased from 21 percent in 2005 to 30 percent in 2008, and women of color lead two of the company's 13 geographic regions.
CH2M HILL's efforts were recognized in 2009, when it became the first engineering and construction firm ever to win the Catalyst Award, which honors exceptional initiatives that support and advance women in business.
"One-third of our work force consists of women. We're also challenged in our industry to hire people of color," says Faye Wilson Tate, CH2M HILL's director of Global Diversity and Inclusion. "What we do is really, really focus on attracting, developing engaging and retaining women and people of color in our offices around the globe."
The $6.3 billion company, which offers full-service consulting, design, design-build, operations and program management, has 23,000 employees in 170 offices worldwide.
But no matter where the company is, its commitment to inclusion, diversity and equality provides a fundamental link between all members of its far-flung work force, Tate says.
CH2M HILL's Supplier Diversity Initiative supports women-, minority- and service/disabled veteran-owned business enterprises, and its employee network groups offer opportunities for growth and camaraderie to Latino/Hispanic, African American and gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender employees, among others.
"One of the core values in CH2M HILL's culture is respect," Tate says. "We really try to walk the talk. We pride ourselves in being forward-thinking in this area. It makes for a much richer environment and culture."
When it comes to diversity, bigger can mean better.
Take Raytheon: the $20+ billion defense and aerospace systems giant landed in the top five of this year's DiversityBusiness.com Top 50 Organizations (Div50) for Diversity - a move up from sixth place last year.
And it aims to go higher still.
Raytheon has been nationally recognized as a "Best Practice" company and a diversity champion in promoting work opportunities for people with disabilities. Its Raytheon Persons with DisAbilities (RPDA) employee group, which acts as a forum and a voice for disability issues in the workplace, earned Raytheon recognition as a top company for the differently abled.
Commitment to diversity comes from the top down: from its chief diversity officer to its corporate diversity program manager, not to mention the Raytheon Diversity Council and supplier diversity program manager.
"Diversity at Raytheon is about inclusiveness - providing an atmosphere where everyone feels valued and empowered to perform at a peak level, regardless of the many ways people are different," writes Supply Diversity Program Manager Warren Elbeck, who nominated Raytheon.
Raytheon's Supplier Diversity Program strives to provide an inclusive environment to do business with small, minority-owned, women-owned, veteran-owned (including service disabled veterans). The company
considers diversity a key component in hiring, and it uses a variety of
outreach programs to educate employees about why diversity matters for the company culture and business.
Lisa Ryckman is the online editor at cobizmag.com.