TOLEDO, Ohio, October 1, 2021 – SSOE Group (www.ssoe.com), a global project delivery firm for architecture, engineering, and construction management, is excited to publicly announce the firm’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Statement, which SSOE rolled out internally in September.
“A declaration of SSOE’s commitment to furthering DEI company-wide, this statement paves our organization’s path forward—specifically as we look to hire a DEI leader at SSOE to put together an extensive plan for real, actionable change,” shares CEO Vince DiPofi, PE. “My hope is that we’re able to make an impact at an even larger scale, not just positively impacting our culture here at SSOE but our industry as a whole.”
SSOE’s Culture Committee—which is comprised of diverse individuals from across the company—began the endeavor of developing a DEI statement and guided the firm’s leadership through its development, with full support. Donna Harris, Construction Cost Engineer who serves on SSOE’s Culture Committee, shared, “We put this statement together understanding that DEI is a journey and we have not yet reached our destination. Our goal is to bring unconscious bias to conscious bias so we can work on it and move forward. As someone who has worked at SSOE for over 30 years, I’d love to retire knowing the environment at SSOE is a DEI culture for both employees and the community.”
Raul Estrada, Tool Install Division Manager who also serves on the firm’s Culture Committee, shared, “We know that if we want to continue this journey, we really need a leader. Someone who understands what DEI is at its core and is 100% focused on it daily. As consultants whose business is to solve problems, we thrive with diverse thinking. So, we’re looking to create an environment that really leverages the value of diversity of thought.”
DEI at SSOE
SSOE’s DEI Statement reads as follows: “SSOE: Diverse in thought, united in action. Together, we are on a journey. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) is a commitment to create a culture that encourages growth at all levels. By building trust and valuing team results, this becomes a strategic advantage that benefits us all.
Our people are our greatest asset, and collaboration is our greatest tool. Everyone has something to offer and by tapping into their unique insights we optimize and generate innovative ideas and solutions to complex problems. The tenacious pursuit of embracing diversity, pledging equity, and intentional inclusion will lead us to an environment in which all people feel respected and safe bringing their whole selves to work.”
The Path Forward
In 2020, the firm audited current external spending with the goal to set a target for increasing its spend with suppliers that are minority business enterprises (MBEs). The firm also began its official partnership with The University of Toledo College of Engineering’s Dr. Lesley Berhan, Associate Dean of Diversity, Inclusion, and Community Engagement, to strengthen inclusive excellence within the SSOE organization. The firm continues to work with Dr. Berhan and implement her recommendations—one of which includes the recommendation for DEI leadership. DiPofi shared, “As recommended by Dr. Lesley Berhan, we are putting specific strategies in place to engage and retain employees from groups traditionally underrepresented in the industry, including a cross-departmental DEI team and affinity groups to gain further insight. It will be the job of SSOE’s leadership to remove any barriers to inclusion and model respect for all employees.”
For more details on SSOE’s DEI leadership role or to apply, click here.