(CHICAGO)—More than 150 people representing nearly 100 businesses in the building trades attended Rush University Medical Center’s second vendor fair for minority-owned and women-owned businesses, held on April 3 on the Rush campus. The event enabled representatives of these businesses, drawn mainly from the immediate area around Rush, to network with the Rush’ss pre-qualified prime contractors and learn about subcontracting opportunities for on projects associated with Rush’s ongoing campus renovation project.
Rush University Medical Center’s hiring goals for the $900 million project call for 25 percent of the total adjusted contract amounts to be performed by minority-owned businesses and 5 percent by women-owned businesses. The April vendor fair, with the first one being held last September, is a part of Rush’s overall effort to achieve those goals and to implement an outreach strategy, which is managed by Rush’s MBE/WBE Program Consultant, Trinal, Inc. of Chicago.
“As the largest non governmental employer on Chicago’s West Side, Rush has both the ability and the responsibility to provide economic opportunity to our surrounding community and to make sure that the people helping us build our new facilities reflect that community’s diversity,” says Terry Peterson, Rush’s vice president of government affairs. “It is a responsibility we take seriously, and the vendor fairs are part of our effort to inform nearby firms how they can partner with Rush and our contractors in this effort.”
During the fair, executives of Rush’s construction manager, Power/Jacobs JV, provided an overview of a dozen subcontracting opportunities that would be open for bid in the near future, including a general trades package budgeted between $35 and $45 million. Representatives of Rush’s qualified contractors staffed booths to meet with potential subcontractors and answer questions. Everyone who attended the fair received copies of the contractors’ contact information, a listing of all RSVPs and a schedule of the projects coming up for bid.
Peterson and Alderman Robert Fioretti of the 2nd Ward, which includes Rush, spoke at the event. Jesse Smart from office of 27th Ward Alderman Walter Burnett, Jr., spoke at the event as well. Other speakers included representatives of Rush’s program to hire and train residents from the aldermanic wards immediately surrounding the Medical Center to work on the construction projects.
Rush University Medical Center is an academic medical center that encompasses the more than 600 staffed-bed hospital (including Rush Children’s Hospital), the Johnston R. Bowman Health Center and Rush University. Rush University, with more than 1,730 students, is home to one of the first medical schools in the Midwest, and one of the nation’s top-ranked nursing colleges. Rush University also offers graduate programs in allied health and the basic sciences. Rush is noted for bringing together clinical care and research to address major health problems, including arthritis and orthopedic disorders, cancer, heart disease, mental illness, neurological disorders and diseases associated with aging.