Championing Diversity during Black History Month and Beyond

I have always strived to live and work beyond barriers, beyond the average, and beyond my own desires in order to positively impact the people around me. When I established Clayco in 1984, I instilled these same values within the company, urging employees to facilitate innovation and connection that transcend traditional ideas of community. The enduring challenges confronting us as Americans have deep historical roots, and each February, we commemorate Black History Month to acknowledge the struggles and achievements of Black Americans in shaping our nation. As we close out this important period, I want to highlight some of the ways that our Clayco team continues to support Black-owned organizations, entrepreneurs, artists, and changemakers through various Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives. 

Since those first years of Clayco, we have continually been refining our knowledge of the business and banding together to grow the company from two people to over 3,000. Our team is filled with some of the most brilliant and compassionate people, and together, we rewrote the book on doing business in a way that treats everyone as we would like to be treated. Clayco’s commitment to advancing inclusion and equitable opportunities for Black-owned businesses and organizations is a fundamental aspect of who we are. We must repeatedly reflect on how we can be the greatest advocate in the present moment and help rectify the historic struggle of so many people who fought – and continue to fight – to secure freedom and equality.

When workplaces are fair, people from all backgrounds get equal chances, creating a culture where everyone feels valued. It also means an improved understanding of different viewpoints, better problem-solving, and adaptability. Building equity in the workplace isn't just about diversity – it's the key to an atmosphere where people creatively collaborate and keep succeeding. At Clayco, we work to provide opportunities for everyone and cultivate lasting mentorship connections with disadvantaged firms. 

Championing equity is a cornerstone crucial for fostering a just environment both within businesses and society at large. Equity spotlights the imperative to address systemic disparities and level the playing field for people of all backgrounds. We must ensure that opportunities are distributed equitably to not only enhance employee morale and productivity but also contribute to the overall success and sustainability of the company. Beyond the corporate landscape, societal equity dismantles barriers to education and employment, facilitating a world where every person can reach their full potential.

Here are some more of the ways that Clayco is making a difference in communities of color: 

  • Clayco Rising is the most comprehensive diversity and inclusion program in the industry and creates a meaningful opportunity for structural change. The initiative leverages our resources to uplift others and help them rise above the barriers of race, income, and gender. 
  • The Clayco Foundation Juneteenth Fund is another excellent way that we support local and national organizations that further the causes of equality and justice. We seek non-profits and individuals that align with our mission for recognition and as fund beneficiaries. 
  • Clayco Connects is our relationship-building initiative that brings together the executive leadership, strategic subcontractors, and numerous minority construction firms to engage in long-term knowledge transfer, capacity building, and strategic partnerships. The program facilitates a job site culture that supports the training, retention, and promotion of field team workers with an emphasis on minorities and women. 
  • Construction Career Development Initiative (CCDI) connects youth in underserved communities with career opportunities in construction, ranging from professional trades to college degree programs. This mentorship program exposes minority/underrepresented and underemployed men and women to career development in construction.

I’m proud to say that every member of our Clayco team is committed to building real, meaningful change from the ground up. Whether it is Black History Month or any other time of the year, let’s unite and go BEYOND what is expected to build an inclusive and equitable world.

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