Howard Hayes Named President of RUCC M/WBE Incubator Board

By on March 5, 2019

Howard Hayes, longtime stalwart of construction industry diversity and inclusion, has been named president of the board of directors of the Regional Union Construction Center (RUCC).

The RUCC is a construction-focused business incubator for minority and women owned businesses. It is funded by labor unions, large contractors, industry trade groups, and business organizations. There is no cost to M/WBE contractors participating in the RUCC program.

It is such an honor to serve an organization with such a powerful legacy of assisting MWBE construction firms. I look forward to increasing the visibility and viability of minority and women-owned union construction in the St. Louis area,” Hayes said in a statement from RUCC.

Created in concept in 2006 by three construction leaders, Terry Nelson, Executive Secretary – Treasurer Carpenters District Council, Jim LaMantia, Executive Director of PRIDE, and Bob McCoole, President of Alberici Group, and with help in implementing the concept from a working group of 20, the RUCC has the sole mission of helping increase the capacity of M/WBE construction businesses.

Hayes has more than 15 years of experience working to insure St. Louis’ Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBE), Minority Business Enterprises and Women Owned Business Enterprises (M/WBE) participate in business opportunities to the fullest extent possible.

For the past year, he has served as vice president, diversity and inclusion,  for PARIC Corporation.  Prior to PARIC, he served for seven years as director, minority business development and compliance for St. Louis Development Corporation. 

He was the senior advisor to St. Louis city government on the growth and competitiveness of the City’s over five thousand minority and women owned business enterprises. His duties included partnering with numerous agencies, the U.S. Small Business Administration, banks, and micro-lending organizations throughout the region to foster new business start-ups.

Hayes assisted minority and women owned business enterprises with access to contracts and capital.He designed and directed small contractor training programs for St. Louis. Hayes specialized in business management and business development, financial management, as well as certification and compliance of minority and women owned enterprises.

For the  past six years he has been an adjunct faculty member of Harris-Stowe State University, where he instructs students in entrepreneurship.

Hayes serves as an executive board member, chair of the audit committee and loan committee member of the Contractor Loan Fund. He is a board member of the St. Louis Bioscience Inclusion Initiative.

Growing M/WBE Capacity

M/WBE firms qualify for mentoring and advice within the RUCC program based on assessment of their owners’ commitment to sound business practices as demonstrated in an initial screening process. Firms which do not pass the initial screening can still be assisted by the program’s executive director.

The RUCC helps improve the business skills of the minority and women owned businesses. The companies usually have the skills to perform the work masterfully but lack the business skills necessary to ensure their opportunity of success.

An advisory board is formed for each company composed of an attorney who specializes in construction law, a CPA who is an expert in construction accounting, a surety who is a bonding specialist, a construction leader / executive who understands the details of the construction business, and the RUCC Executive Director, who is a seasoned professional and proven leader. This group meets monthly with the owner of the M/WBE company to assist with the company operations, issues, challenges and opportunities.

The program is designed in a phased approach, so that participant M/WBE firms will ideally eventually no longer need RUCC mentoring services.

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