Diversity Focus of Long Career; Charles M. "Chuck" Powell Dedicated the Past Two Decades to Helping Minority- and Women-Owned Businesses Secure Contracts with Pittsburgh's Urban Redevelopment Authority. [Derived Headline]

By Fontaine, Tom | Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, October 21, 2015 | Go to article overview

Diversity Focus of Long Career; Charles M. "Chuck" Powell Dedicated the Past Two Decades to Helping Minority- and Women-Owned Businesses Secure Contracts with Pittsburgh's Urban Redevelopment Authority. [Derived Headline]


Fontaine, Tom, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review


Charles M. "Chuck" Powell dedicated the past two decades to helping minority- and women-owned businesses secure contracts with Pittsburgh's Urban Redevelopment Authority.

"I'm very proud to have had an opportunity to work to ensure the participation of minorities and women in the URA's activities," said Powell, 77, of Brookline, who recently retired as the agency's diversity and community affairs director.

Powell began working for the URA after a 20-year career at the former Mellon Bank, where he rose to become vice president of government affairs. He spent the first five years of his 25-year career at the URA as a personnel administrator. At the time, the job of diversity director didn't exist.

"There was a strong urge to create more opportunities for African- Americans and women to work in the construction industry," Powell said.

URA Acting Executive Director Robert Rubinstein called Powell "an unwavering champion for disadvantaged business opportunities."

Powell said he helped establish the now-defunct Black Contractors Association in the mid-1990s to "bring minority contractors up to speed on the industry's best practices so they could compete for major projects."

He worked closely with labor unions to help nonunion, minority- and women-owned firms land work on union projects, while at the same time working to boost the number of minorities and women in trade unions.

Powell cited the $14 million Thelma Lovette YMCA in the Hill District and Downtown's $40 million August Wilson Center for African American Culture as career highlights. …

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