Burns & McDonnell
Michelle Word is Supplier Diversity Manager at Burns & McDonnell and in that role is passionate about leading business diversity initiatives. She serves on numerous local, regional and national business and civic boards promoting diversity and creating opportunities for a better quality of life in disadvantaged communities.
Laron Evans is a Senior Electrical Engineer at Burns & McDonnell, working for the firm’s transmission & distribution division. He has served as an engineering manager and lead engineer on multiple large electrical substation projects and more recently has been assigned to coordinate a range of supplier diversity efforts with Exelon, the firm’s utility client.
PUF's Steve Mitnick: Laron and Michelle, tell me about your work at Burns and McDonnell. What do you do every day?
Michelle Word: I'm the supplier diversity and development manager at Burns and Mac. Some days can be very similar, and some days can be not too similar at all. But all my time is devoted to supplier diversity efforts and community involvement. My primary focus is working with the small, diverse business community for our organization, to support the community as well as our internal project managers. I try to introduce them to the possibilities out there for working with diverse suppliers.
PUF: Do you have subcontractors, and do you try to develop them so that there's a good mix there?
Michelle Word: Yes. Part of it is locating companies and getting to know them a little bit better, in order to decide if this is someone that we want to introduce to others internally. We do some of that background work ahead of time.
We do try to develop companies and help them grow. Obviously, we can't do that for everybody. But there are several companies where we have, I would like to think, a positive impact on helping them grow.