Today, the Obama Foundation announced that it has selected Lakeside Alliance to serve as the construction manager for the Obama Presidential Center. Lakeside Alliance is a newly-created joint venture consisting of Turner Construction Company, and the Presidential Partners consortium of Powers & Sons Construction, UJAMAA Construction, Brown & Momen, and Safeway Construction, who represent some of the most established and well-respected African-American owned construction firms in Chicago.
The creation of the joint venture will ensure that minority firms from the South Side will be in significant leadership positions in the construction of the Obama Presidential Center. The Presidential Partners will have a major stake in the financial risk and reward, day-to-day decision making, and strategy-setting for the project. People of color and women will be performing meaningful roles on the CM team.
Smaller firms are often precluded from winning large-scale construction projects because they lack the necessary resources or experience with similarly-sized projects. The joint venture structure is designed to solve for that problem by creating a consortium that includes minority firms working in partnership with a national firm. This structure goes beyond a typical arrangement where a national firm receives the majority of a contract and an MBE/WBE receives a smaller share. The Obama Foundation anticipates that participation by the minority firms will provide the experience they need to grow and compete for other significant projects in the future.
“The Obama Foundation believes in creating opportunities for diverse and local businesses and building pathways to meaningful jobs for minorities and other underrepresented populations,” said David Simas, CEO of the Obama Foundation. “The development of the Obama Presidential Center gives us an opportunity to make a major, unprecedented impact on the South Side in terms of hiring talented, local businesses and individuals. We look forward to working with Lakeside Alliance to achieve our goals, set new benchmarks, and make the Obama Presidential Center a landmark that our neighbors can be proud of,” he added.
The members of Lakeside Alliance have demonstrated a deep, longstanding commitment to increasing diversity and inclusion in the Chicago construction industry. For the Obama Presidential Center, they are committed to exceeding industry standards and surpassing their own milestones by awarding as much as half of the expected more than $300 million in subcontracts on the project to diverse suppliers and to ensuring that a significant percentage of the total project work hours are performed by minorities and residents from the project’s neighboring communities. The contract Lakeside Alliance signed with the Obama Foundation includes financial incentives for exceeding these ambitious goals and penalties for falling short of the goals set.
“We are honored to help construct the Obama Presidential Center, which promises to be an iconic institution that will attract visitors from the South Side and around the world,” said Mamon Powers of Lakeside Alliance. “If it weren’t for the Obama Foundation embracing this unique joint venture and making local hiring a priority, diverse South Side firms like ours would not get the chance to have a seat at the table and play a meaningful role in the process. We applaud the Obama Foundation for their vision and look forward to working with them to increase diverse participation in the construction industry,” Powers added.
Powers & Sons Construction Company just celebrated its 50th year in business and has grown over that time to become one of the most-recognized African-American owned general contracting, construction management, and design-builders in the region. The firm has more than 70 professionals and fully-staffed offices on the South Side of Chicago, as well as in Gary and Indianapolis, Indiana. In 2016, the company managed more than $200 million in construction projects.
The Powers Family are members of First AME Church in Gary, Indiana, and the company’s CEO, Claude Powers, is on the board of Payne Theological Seminary.
Photo caption: From Left To Right: Mamon Powers, III, President-Indianapolis; Mamon Powers, Jr.-CEO; Claude Powers, President-Chicago/Gary