Venture Seeks Minority-Owned Businesses

Article excerpt

Byline: David DeCamp, Times-Union staff writer

The list of projects with the Better Jacksonville Plan runs for pages. Roads. Drainage. Buildings. Construction. Engineering. Management.

But Elkins Constructors and Gordon Steadman, director of development at Elkins, are eyeing the big catch.

"Actually, with our business, we'll only look at one major project," Steadman said. "The last two major projects are the library and the courthouse."

So Elkins, which has yet to put forth a proposal for a Better Jacksonville project, has paired with the Auchter Co. in a joint venture. On their to-do list is involving minority- and woman-owned businesses in their work, a priority for Mayor John Delaney. Goals for participation have sometimes doubled over traditional levels, depending on the contracts.

Steadman, president of the local Associated Builders and Contractors, said he's supporting Delaney's effort, which includes boosting participation goals above previous norms.

"We do not want majority companies just to be part of this plan," said Steadman, 40, who's been in the local construction business for 17 years, including the last one at Elkins.

For some companies, that's meant creating mentoring programs, scholarships and other methods to help business development. …