Matt Clafton: Diversity in private sector construction (Voices)

Matt Clafton

Matt Clafton

Diversity and inclusion have become an important priority in the modern world- and now the private sector is placing more emphasis on incorporating those requirements on projects. Specifically, there has been a push for businesses to adapt to their clients’ needs for equity.
So, what does that mean for construction companies, specifically those in northern Nevada like Alston Construction?
Some research has found that diversity correlates to success within companies, with companies in the top quartile of diversity being more likely to have higher financial returns above their respective national industry medians.
Companies that properly facilitate inclusion programs are showing a direct positive impact for employees, clients, and company identity. When a company nurtures a high-performing staff from all backgrounds, they create a climate centered around diversity and productivity.
Social responsibility is changing the way private-sector leadership functions. Subcontractors are beginning to evolve because of diversity requirements, and construction companies are quickly having to find ways to adapt.
This responsibility to contract through DBE’s or SBE’s relies on the general contractor. Although some diverse firms may not fall under the diversity requirement, such as veteran-owned, there still can be a separate requirement by the client to engage with these types of businesses.
Before this change, there was no requirement for subcontractors adhering to diversity and inclusion. Since companies have started to adapt to it however, there seems to have been an increase in morale around the industry.
The new era is all about adapting to the client’s criteria, promoting equity and inclusion, and the responsibility to inspire change in the industry. Many hope that if private sector companies make a commitment to change, it will give the inspiration for others to follow in their footsteps.
This change has brought about conversations surrounding the workforce and how companies should implement these requirements. The construction industry’s history is long and complex, but something like this is new to everyone and will take time.
With the culture around construction changing rapidly, it is now only a matter of time until we see how this will affect the industry and the world around it.
Matt Clafton, Alston Construction senior vice president Western Region and manager of food and beverage division nationwide, brings more than 31 years of construction expertise to his role, including 21 years with Alston Construction. Clafton has been responsible for an excess of 17 million square feet in the Western US since 2003 and has been a part of many landmark projects for clients including Amazon, Zulily, Trex, PetSmart, Urban Outfitters, Bally Technologies, Angie’s Boom Chicka Pop, Kroger, FedEx, Mary’s Gone Crackers, Sears and more.


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