“Small and diverse businesses often have limited access to resources, funding, and networks,” said Tammy Martin, Business Diversity Director at Burns & McDonnell. “Our Empowering Diverse Partnerships program is critical because it enables our partners to grow while also helping to create a sustainable market in our supply chain.”
In the Midwest Contractor area, Infinite Energy Construction of Kansas City, Missouri, received an Empowering Diverse Partnerships Partner of the Year award. The company provides electrical contracting to commercial, military, aviation, and industrial clients.
Along with awards, the winning businesses receive a $5,700 scholarship to the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College for the Growing an Established Diverse Business program, which provides training on business growth strategies.
The 2023 Partner of the Year ceremony was held at Burns & McDonnell world headquarters as part of the networking and guest speaker event, "Honoring Diverse Legacies: A Celebration of Business Diversity and Martin Luther King Jr.”
The event also featured Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas leading a special Q&A with Ayana Parsons, an inclusive leadership expert, serial entrepreneur, public speaker, and venture capitalist. Her body of work includes co-founding Fearless Fund, the first venture capital firm for women of color by women of color.
Parsons also co-founded Yardstick Management, the nation's leading Black-owned management consulting firm. Over the years, Parsons has held global leadership roles at the World Economic Forum, Korn Ferry, Heidrick & Struggles, Procter & Gamble, and Kimberly-Clark. She is also the founder of AKP Management LLC, a leadership consultancy for purpose-driven changemakers, small businesses, and corporations.
“Today, few Americans and even fewer women have access to capital and entrepreneurship as a means to generate wealth and transform lives. That must change,” Parsons said. “With my knowledge and experience, my mission is to help ignite change in how we do business and with whom. It’s time to level the playing field and equip the overlooked, the marginalized, and the underrepresented with the tools, resources, and networks they need to scale their businesses and pursue the American dream.”
“I was thrilled that Ayana was able to join us and share the great things Fearless Fund is accomplishing, because supporting minority-owned businesses promotes a pool of innovation, empathy, and growth that has a positive impact on all of us,” said Leon Harden, Manager of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Strategy at Burns & McDonnell.
Over the past five years, Burns & McDonnell has had a total business diversity spend of $2.3 billion and has worked with more than 2,600 small and diverse businesses in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, plus Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, and India.