Mentoring disadvantaged businesses helps everyone

Posted in: Bridges, Highways


three men and a woman sitting at a table discussing teaming at DBE conferenceWorking with builders, engineers, architects and designers from disadvantaged businesses is critical to success. Only associating professionally with people from similar backgrounds is a great way to stagnate in the AEC industry. That’s why we consciously and proactively try to build relationships with firms of all types, backgrounds and makeups.

Mead & Hunt recently attended an AEC firm matchmaking event in Columbus, Ohio. The event focused on pairing Certified Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) and Encouraging Diversity, Growth and Equity (EDGE) consulting and engineering firms with prime consulting firms. The goal of this event was to allow all participating firms to network, find new opportunities, and expand business.

Vertical banner with Ohio map with districtsWhile on the surface it may seem that the main purpose of this event is to help DBE and EDGE firms by giving them the opportunity to work with prime consulting firms, in truth the benefit goes both ways. It is just as important for prime consulting firms to have this opportunity to expand their professional network.

The benefits of this intentional networking goes beyond the realm of our professional success: cultivating a wide breadth of experience in those who create the built environments we all have to live in is crucial to the continued vitality of our communities. With diversity of experience comes innovation, new and unique solutions to tough challenges. Varying perspectives hold tremendous value and deserve to be heard. Our communities are not homogenous—our community builders shouldn’t be either.

We are proud to participate in events like these, and we will continue to do so. It is vital to the continued success of our firm, our industry, and ultimately our clients and communities. We are all made stronger when we work together.


Mike Ciotola, PE

About the Author

Mike Ciotola, P.E., ASSOC. DBIA, makes sure safety is woven into complex transportation projects. In his more than 25 years of experience, Mike spent 13 years with the Ohio Department of Transportation. He gets the project done, whatever it takes. Mike helps clients design interchange modifications, roundabouts, and other roadway and bridge improvements, including work on multiple Safety Design Task Order contracts. Mike says “Safety is always integral to projects. We improve the quality of people’s lives by helping our clients to design safe roads.”

Read more posts by Mike Ciotola, PE

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