In the current team-oriented environment, relations with subs and suppliers have never been more important, and Cincinnati-based Messer Construction Co., No. 60 on ENR's list of the Top 400 contractors, has taken this message to heart—building nationally-recognized diversity into its supply chain.

“Because we live where we work, we have a significant advantage over other national contractors when it comes to building strong relationships with subs and suppliers,” says Tim Steigerwald, senior vice president.

In nearby Columbus, Ohio, the firm is completing Ohio State University’s North Residential District Transformation, which consists of eight dormitories that will house more than 3,500 students.

Including subs and suppliers in the planning process is a key to success, Steigerwald says. “We involve them in the planning of the work and treat them as our partners, and that really makes the difference.”

Steigerwald says Messer goes beyond just partnering, reaching out to improve the industry. “We remain steadfast in our commitment to create opportunities for certified small [and] minority- and women-owned businesses,” he says.

Messer’s efforts are paying off. In April, Diversity Inc. magazine ranked the firm No. 8 out of all U.S. firms for its commitment to supplier diversity—the only construction firm on the list.