Black Woman CEO Makes History in Fort Worth, Hopes for Change in Architecture, Engineering, Construction – NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth
The Bureau of Labor and Statistics says black workers make up only 6% of construction professionals. The city of Fort Worth has taken what some hope will be the first of many to like it. History was made with the first black woman owned company selected as the Top Company for Capital Projects.
Deryl McKissack has endless stories to tell. Like the time she was hired for a job and the manager expected a man to walk through the door.
“I’m getting my first job at a big construction company, my name is Deryl and the big boss comes out and says, ‘Where is he? “Said McKissack.
And then there was another disturbing experience in another job.
“When I went to a construction site and my boss was flying the Confederate flag around the clock, which was the size of the wall behind his desk,” she said.
McKissack said it wasn’t easy being a black woman in the architecture, engineering, and construction industries. She is now the President and CEO of McKissack & McKissack. Despite extensive experience and proven track record, she comes across questions about her qualifications.
“Every time you go on a big project you are always questioned,” she said. “No matter how many monuments you put in the national mall, we have done a lot of them. How many schools have we built, built or planned? Every time we go to the next it’s always a question. “
She doesn’t apologize for what motivates her and say she likes to win. And she won. McKissack & McKissack made history as the first black-owned company to serve as prime contractor for the City of Fort Worth.
From start to finish, they will oversee several planning projects in the community, including the design and construction phases. Kimberly Shaw, CEO of the Regional Black Contractors Association, said this is what north Texas needs more of.
“You are beginning to see that there are things that can be improved. And a lot of people are starting to ask, “How can we help? What can we do? ‘”Shaw said.
The RBCA works with government agencies and local authorities to get black contractors to work. They also launched a second chance workforce development program for those previously incarcerated.
“We advocate black contractors and take a very cyclical approach. We partner with leaders in our industry communities to create these equitable opportunities, ”Shaw said. “The construction industry has tremendous demand for workers and we definitely have the supply if we get the opportunity to get them to work.”
Shaw said a win for McKissack’s is a win across the board.
“You have this model where the business owner thrives. The business with which they subcontract is thriving. And the people in the underserved communities who can work on the projects are thriving, ”she said.
McKissack says when experience and know-how add up, the solution is pretty simple.
“Let’s give minority companies big contracts and major contracts,” she said.
For more information on the Regional Black Contractors Association, visit https://blackcontractors.org/about-us/.