It Starts with Us! The Movement and Challenge.

Two years ago, a movement was started but the world took away our focus on the roll out. The roll out is starting with a challenge. 

It all started in 2019 when I took a call from a W/MBE member. She had been the low bidder in her scope on a project. The client had a relationship with someone else and instructed that that “friend” get the project. She explained how she was using the incident to inform the GC on the impact of that decision on not only her business but the overall picture of inclusive contracting. 

Much of what she was explaining to the GC was the same verbiage that I use every day while advocating for our members. LIGHTBULB MOMENT! I said to her, “I happen to know that you yourself sub projects to your long-term vendor “friends” that you have always used. You aren’t taking a chance on W/MBE businesses in the AWC. Do you see the disconnect?” That is the moment that the movement “It Starts with Us” began. 

When was the last time you reached out to a member of AWC to perform a project scope, make a purchase from, provide a service for, or personally contract with? Has it been on a project WITHOUT a goal? Have you referred family and friends to our directory or to our members? Do you even know what our members do?

Check out the new “It Starts with Us” Page that can be found under the Resources tab on our website. This is going to be a great resource for you all to recommend the work of a member and encourage others to also use members. We have stories highlighting 4 different ways you can use members:

  1. Contractor to Contractor on projects: Liz with Quad E used 3 of our AWC members: Boys Water Products, T. Scherber, and Minnesota Street Works on a project this past summer. 
  2. Business to Supplier: Missy with T. Scherber had her safety director start buying all PPE supplies from MC Tool & Safety.  
  3. Professional Services for business or personal: Joelynne with HanSon Custom Crushing had Joe Zandlo of Minneapolis Financial Group provide retirement planning and product options for her non-union staff.
  4. Personal contracting services: I contracted with two of our members including Sota Ridge this past year for exterior projects at home.


Guess what? It might cost more, it might be a little uncomfortable to talk to someone new, it might take a little more time. BUT it might not be any of those things. It WILL however be worth it to invest in AWC members. 

AWC is filled with amazing exceptional businesses. Today I am challenging every reader of this blog to use a member you have never worked with. Use our directory, watch the stories on “It Starts with Us” page, think outside your go to vendors and imagine how far we can go.  Then share your story with us so we can build on your commitment. 

BE INTENTIONAL and let’s build wealth within this tribe we call AWC!

— B