A partnership program between the City of Fort Worth and the architecture and construction firm The Beck Group held a graduation on Nov. 5.
The inaugural class of the Beck School of Construction graduated and were recognized in a graduation ceremony at Fort Worth City Hall on Tuesday.
The ceremony featured a presentation from Mayor Betsy Price. It was followed by a private match-making event with local vendors, contractors and project managers.
Plans for the construction school first originated out of a city staff report last year that identified a shortage of minority-owned businesses having the capacity or qualification to bid on city contracts for construction supplies and services.
The school, a three-year construction educational program, was subsequently formed to expand the capacity of Minority Business Enterprises (MBEs).
Representatives from 15 MBE businesses and one City of Fort Worth employee were accepted to enroll in the program.
“This has been an exciting first year for the School of Construction, and we look forward to continuing our relationship with the City of Fort Worth and all of the program participants,” said Scot Bennett, Fort Worth regional director of The Beck Group.
Over the last eight months, the 16 program participants attended eight class sessions that were designed to increase their knowledge of the construction industry and to be competitive in the bidding process in Fort Worth and also in the local six-county marketplace, i.e., Tarrant, Dallas, Denton, Johnson, Parker and Wise counties.
“Overall, I found the classes to be very insightful and action-oriented," said Regina Whitlock, CEO of Whitlock Building Services and a program participant. "I was able to take the lessons learned from each class and implement those into our business processes. We are now better prepared to scale our business and take it to the next level.”
Other course elements included insights on construction law, finance, on-the-job safety, bonding and insurance and negotiation among others.
Program participant Roylins Wesson won a scope of work for one of The Beck Group’s AT&T projects for his firm, Wesson Construction Services, LLC, during the course of year's program.
This year's classes were held at the Business Assistance Center, located at 1150 South Freeway.
The Beck School of Construction will begin accepting online applications for its next round of classes in December. The program is open to certified MBEs who have been in business for at least one year.
“Fort Worth is growing as a city, and we want to make sure that the area’s businesses grow right along with it,” said Robert Sturns, director of the city’s Economic Development department. “Our outstanding partnership with The Beck Group through the Beck School of Construction helps ensure that a diverse group of businesses will all have an opportunity to help develop Fort Worth."
The inaugural class of Beck School of Construction:
• Petrina Bonnick-Higgins of ACARI Management Group, Inc.
• Tracy Newby of C. Green Scaping, LP
• Phillip Gant III of Customized Technicians, Inc.
• Lynell Bland of Ellison Construction Cleaning Services, LLC
• Todd Rodriguez of Endur Contractors, LLC
• Debera Sturns of Kemp & Sons General Services, Inc.
• Rey Morales of Morales Construction Services, Inc.
• Erick Cortez of Mountain Top Concrete
• Osie Carroll of Post L Group, LLC
• Rosa Moreno of Veloz City Trucking, Inc.
• Victor Jones of VIP Construction, LLC
• Roylins Wesson of Wesson Construction Services, LLC
• Regina Whitlock of Whitlock Building Services, LLC
• Mark Gentry of Gentry Carpentry Construction
• Tasha Kilgore, Contract Compliance Specialist with the City of Fort Worth’s Office of Business Diversity
• Reggie Sturns-Kemp, President of Kemp & Sons General Services