Promoting Equity & Opening Doors in KC for Minority- & Women-Owned Subcontractors

When our team completed The Darby at Briarcliff, a luxury apartment community in Kansas City, it was an exciting new addition to the neighborhood.

While constructing it, we made some important new connections with Minority/Women Business Enterprise (M/WBE) certified organizations.

Working with a program administered through Port KC (the Port), the economic development authority terminal in the area, we hired as many minority- and women-owned subcontractors as possible for the project. The Port's program requires participating businesses to be M/WBE certified, and their company needs to qualify as a small business according to size and revenue standards set by the Small Business Administration.

“This levels the playing field for minority- and women-owned small businesses," said Tom Troemel, Senior Project Manager. “The Port's incentive program provides a pathway for them to compete against larger contracting companies that typically bid on this kind of work."

To help us connect with M/WBE certified subcontractors to bid on the work, we tapped into the Port's list of prequalified contractors. In partnership with A Clean Slate, LLC we hired a consultant who specializes in arranging partnerships for women and minority-owned construction businesses – Consuella McCain of the KC Consulting Group

Working closely with Consuella and her team, we were able to reach and propose the opportunity to 249 certified M/WBE subcontractors in Kansas City.

“We are committed to expanding diversity on our payroll, jobsites and within our supply chain at Opus," said Mike Stromberg, Senior Manager of Real Estate Development. “We did broad outreach to many M/WBE subcontractors who may not have submitted bids as part of a typical bid package."

The project team hosted five pre-bid meetings over the course of nine months so M/WBE subcontractors could learn about the project, meet our team and ask questions.

“Most of those meetings happened during the height of the pandemic," Consuella said. “Much uncertainty remained around in-person meetings, and Opus fully supported all of our efforts to maximize participation with virtual meetings and active outreach."

We received 25 formal bids from M/WBE contractors and over half were awarded the work. Over the course of the project, approximately 50% of project labor hours were performed by M/WBE subcontractors.

“We enjoyed working with Mike, Tom and so many others on the Opus team," said Consuella. “Opus 'gets it' and understands the importance of establishing relationships with minority and women-owned organizations and subcontractors."

We were pleased with the level of engagement achieved with M/WBE subcontractors and the overall results.

“In addition to helping these subcontractors get a foot in the door for a sizeable project, it helped us broaden partnerships within the community while expanding our list of qualified subcontractors," Tom said. 

Katy Crookham was a subcontractor on the project. She owns Crookham Construction, a woman-owned M/WBE certified business.

“It was a pleasure working with Opus on the Briarcliff project," she said. “They do a lot of legwork on the front end before a project starts. That gets everyone on the same page and helps things run much more smoothly throughout the life of a project. Opus understands what it means to be a true partner and we look forward to working with them again."


Every voice brings unique perspective and value and collectively can make our world and workplaces better. Diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) serve to amplify everything we do; a culture and environment that actively values DEI makes us stronger, more creative, more competitive, sustainable, and just plain better. Learn more about our DEI work.