NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — The Tennessee Titans are making diversity part of its mission when choosing companies to build the new domed stadium in East Nashville.
“I remember when the first stadium was built and I remember when the Titans came to Nashville,” said Titans Foundation Vice President and Executive Director Johari Matthews. “What I can’t remember is the amount of thoughtfulness and opportunities that was provided in that original stadium.”
The team wants to play a different game with the new stadium by launching a new economic inclusion program. According to the Titans, the construction of the $2.1 billion facility will be the largest opportunity for inclusion in Tennessee history.
“A project of this size and scale can be a catalyst to change businesses, for not only the short term, but the long term,” said Gerry George. His business, Relevant Workforce, Inc, is helping increase the capacity of diverse businesses that can work on this project and others in the future.
“We normally partner with larger contractors who are looking to fulfill a participation goal on the projects that they’re working on,” George explained. “What we do is help them source, help with certification, we work as a liaison between minority and women owned businesses and the larger contractors.”
Don Hardin’s namesake company is working to find diverse businesses that can handle a project of this scale, including those in steel, concrete, electrical, and mechanical fields.
“The city is requiring that we get 25% and we think we can we can exceed that,” said Hardin. “When it’s all said and done, we hope that the smaller firms will grow a bit and the medium-sized firms will grow a bit more and even more importantly, they do create a lot of jobs.”
In 2019, Metro council passed a historic Equal Business Opportunity ordinance for contractors to maximize participation of minority and women owned businesses with Metro contracts.
“We wanted to really lean on, again, community leaders and key stakeholders, to help hold us responsible and accountable to making sure that we are doing exactly what Gerry and Don have referred to,” said Matthews.
She says they’ve enlisted an advisory committee, responsible for making sure the team is meeting it’s diversity goals and providing an annual report back to Metro and the community.
“It also creates a generational change, because you will have individuals who will be able to be a part of this stadium construction, and this could seriously change the trajectory of their lives for the better,” said Matthews.
Hardin, George, and Matthews are all Nashville natives with Matthews serving as director for the Titans’ ONE Community programs. The ONE Community Advisory Committee’s 2023 inaugural members include Matthews, Tennessee State Senator Brenda Gilmore, Emerge Tennessee Executive Director Freda Player, Lipscomb University President Dr. Candice McQueen, Warner Elementary Principal Dr. Ricki Gibbs, and Tennessee Titans Chief Marketing and Strategy Officer Gil Beverly.
Interested business owners and residents can visit this website for more information on procurement: www.tennesseetitans.com/procurement. You’ll notice there’s a “future notifications” button and form in the COMMUNICATION section where people can submit their information to learn more.