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Winsley Durand Joins MCL Construction

As a company that started 37 years ago with just three employees, MCL Construction understands and is an example of success gained from opportunity. 
 
Over the past few years MCL has made a major commitment to giving small, disadvantaged, and minority-owned businesses opportunities to succeed. The company is determined to help them grow from opportunities provided by larger companies in the industry and there is no one better to lead this initiative than Winsley Durand.

This month, Winsley joins the MCL team as the Senior Director of Diversity and Economic Inclusion. He will facilitate the expansion of an Economic Inclusion program with a proven track record. Former Economic Inclusion Coordinator Savannah Stark has grown the program significantly in her 3 years at MCL. Savannah was responsible for developing plans and administering sourcing practices that promoted diversity with suppliers and subcontractors and coordinated mentorship opportunities. Savannah fostered relationships with Minority Business Enterprise (MBE), Disabled Veteran Business Enterprise (DVBE), Women Business Enterprise (WBE) and Small, Emerging Businesses (SEBS).

"I started some things and got some programming in place and really took those first few years to help MCL establish something internal as part of how they do business. I know that was important to their leadership, to set the groundwork, but really what happens from here on out, it's kind of that next level of really expanding it beyond what I was able to do," she said.
After giving him a great head start, she knows Winsley is the perfect candidate to serve as her replacement.

"Everything I know and that I've put in place at MCL I learned from Winsley while working under him at the Chamber. He's the guy that kind of started it all. He knows more than I do. He brings leadership, initiative, approachability, strong relationships, and a real, genuine concern for small businesses," says Savannah.

These qualities come from Winsley's extensive background in economic development and community involvement. Over his 18 years at the Greater Omaha Chamber, Winsley performed or supervised business and retail attraction, business retention, military affairs, membership, minority economic development, REACH, entrepreneurship & innovation, and small business education. He also has also served the community as one of the founding board members of the ACE Mentoring Program, as a member of the Omaha Public Schools Community Bond Oversight Committee, and as a member of both the Board of Directors of the Urban League of Nebraska and the Board of Habitat for Humanity-Omaha. Not to mention numerous awards and recognitions, including the City of Omaha "Aspire to Inspire," MLK Jr. Award and the 2008 class of Omaha's 40 Under 40. This experience has prepared Winsley perfectly for his new role.

"My previous experiences have laid the path to this position. I have worked with small contractors, building them up, building their capacities, getting them connected, doing all of the things that they needed to have good infrastructure and to be good businesspeople. But in the end, I prepared them so that they could go find work. Now, in this role, it's kind of that next step. Not only can I help prepare them, but then we also have the work to be able to get them connected, too. So, it's kind of completing the whole circle," says Winsley.

The new director plans to rely upon existing relationships to do outreach, making sure companies are aware of the opportunities and giving them the tools they need to be successful. He is looking to increase the total number of small firms that MCL utilizes and increase the amount of work for current subcontractors. He "would love to see the firms grow in terms of revenues and number of employees, but overall, just become better, stronger firms that are able to contribute to the overall economy."

MCL prides themselves on having an in-house Economic Inclusion program that puts an emphasis on small and emerging business solicitation. They make it their mission to make sure underserved businesses and communities are recognized within the construction industry. From 2017-2023, MCL performed 75 projects with 48 different small, disadvantaged, and minority subcontractors, totaling $29.57 million.

"I think if you look at anything in life, if you really care about it, you spend the time and the resources to invest in it yourself. And us having the program in-house should be no greater testament to what we believe in. It's integral to the culture that we want to build here and the way we want to operate our business and that's why we felt the need to have it live and grow here. It's who we want to be. We want to look at every opportunity that we have and ask how we can take that opportunity and give some other companies a chance to grow," says Managing Principal Tony Fucinaro.

These partnerships are mutually beneficial, as they help both the subcontractors and MCL. Subcontractors benefit through receiving contracts that they otherwise may not have earned, building relationships and experience, and promoting their communities. MCL benefits by creating a better supply of subcontractors to choose from and from the future growth of the program when formerly underserved companies come back to contribute to the program.

"As we educate small contractors and get them engaged, there'll be a stronger, more robust pool of contractors for the general contractors to draw upon and, hopefully, MCL will be the beneficiary. They also tend to hire more people from the communities in which they live and where they're based, so we'll be able to uplift underserved communities and create more employment and opportunities in those areas," Winsley stated.

Fucinaro said, "Some of these companies started out as 2-3 individuals, and now they can come back and give back to a program that they were a part of. That can help grow other businesses, and that can have an exponential impact on the community when these companies go from being a small, emerging business to a business that's able to stand on the foundation that they created and then they're able to give back."

MCL has only scratched the surface of what this program can be. There are a plethora of projects coming up in which Winsley and the Economic Inclusion program will be utilized. As Winsley steps into this pivotal role, the future looks bright for small and minority-owned businesses partnering with MCL, marking the beginning of a new chapter in MCL's ongoing commitment to diversity and community growth.
About MCL Construction
The needs of a community are constantly evolving. The construction journey to meet those needs is filled with complexity and issues people many may not see coming. From concept through activation, MCL guides our partners with an innovative, tailored and clear approach. We do this because there's no better feeling than being valued for changing communities and lives for the better. 

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KEARNEY AREA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
1007 2ND AVE | PO BOX 607 | KEARNEY, NE 68848
PHONE: (308) 237-3101

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