Active engagement by our members propels the Chamber and helps us accomplish our mission and vision. During 2017, about 60 different Chamber-sponsored clubs, councils and task forces collectively engaged over 1,000 people.
The REACH program ensures our certified small and emerging businesses (SEBs) are ready to bid and capitalize on new projects, as well as reach their strategic goals – and volunteers like Curtis Johnson and Bob Carlisle play an important role in this mission.
Education is at REACH’s core. Since our launch three years ago, REACH volunteers – architects, attorneys, bankers, code writers, credit remediators, engineers, general contractors, and more – have helped us provide over 7,000 hours of 1-on-1 and group education and mentorship.
“It would have been an impossible challenge without the incredible generosity of Chamber members. They understand economic growth is not a zero-sum game and that by helping others, they are laying the foundation for their own further success,” said Winsley Durand III, REACH’s Executive Director.
Curtis Johnson, architect and Principal with DLR Group, has been a steady presence in the Plan Room, a no-charge offering that gives small and emerging construction businesses the tools and expert insight they need to bid and capitalize on new projects.
“I was looking for a way to get more involved with the Chamber, and I once I learned of the REACH Plan room, I quickly agreed with and believed in its mission,” Johnson says. “I believe it is a great investment in the future of the Architecture Engineering and Construction industry.”
Johnson says he has helped contractors understand everything from the scope of work presented in an RFP to the bidding requirements themselves.
“These have been for projects that my firm has not even been involved with,’ he says. “It has been enjoyable to learn that the Contractors are winning work and getting the experience they need to grow their businesses.”
Volunteer also are needed for REACH Beyond, a 12-month mentoring program that pairs mentors from general contracting firms with mentees from small and emerging construction companies. REACH Beyond graduated its first class of mentees in May. Bob Carlisle, founder and president of MCL Construction, made a tremendous impact on protégé Cameron Gales, managing owner of Gala Painting.
“Bob genuinely wanted to see my business be successful and provide me with any tool,” Cameron says. “He reminded me that, at one point, he was just like me. It’s awesome for someone to say, ‘I was where you are, but look at where we are now.’ That’s great mentorship.”
Durand says the benefit goes both ways: “It is incredible to see the fulfillment that our volunteers get from their interaction with REACH Participants. Their contribution of time and talent may be the difference in whether or not a firm succeeds.”
For more information about REACH, REACH Beyond, or volunteering, please contact Savannah Cuevas, Project Manager – REACH, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 402-978-7929.