As this picture of our global Infrastructure Development team shows, Skanska recognizes that a diverse and inclusive environment is key to providing our clients with the best solutions.
Step into Skanska USA’s infrastructure development headquarters near Washington, D.C., and this business unit’s extensive diversity quickly becomes apparent. Flags from different home countries are fastened to work station walls, and a variety of accents fill the air. Some colleagues speak multiple languages.
Of Skanska’s 27 employees here, nine different nationalities are represented and 30 percent of the employees are female. This group – which develops public-private partnership (PPP) solutions for infrastructure needs that include highways and tunnels – relies on this diversity to develop the best solutions for clients, drawing on employees’ global worldviews and experiences.
“We have a really healthy mix of race, gender, ethnicity and backgrounds – that’s exactly what we want,” said Karl Reichelt, the Skanska executive vice president who heads this group. “It really makes for an excellent team when we all come from different perspectives.”
This diversity stems from the nature by which our infrastructure development group operates. The world of public-private partnerships is quite broad, with experts needed from more fields than just construction, including finance, legal and development. Because of this need, this unit draws from a wider talent pool. And with PPPs more common in other parts of the world than the U.S., it also recruits globally from other Skanska operations.
“If you want to be innovative, you have to be diverse,” said Chris Guthkelch, a Skanska project director who hails from Britain. “We need to reflect the world in which we live.”
An example of how such diversity and collaboration is helping Skanska meet our clients’ needs is the $2.1 billion Elizabeth River Tunnels PPP project in southeastern Virginia. Winning this project required tapping expertise from across the Skanska enterprise, including tunneling experts from Norway, additional development experts from Sweden and toll road expertise from Latin America. Establishing partnerships with the local Virginia community was also critical.
Reichelt said when he joined Skanska in 2006, the team consisted of just a handful of people. He’s proud that our infrastructure development unit has grown into such a diverse team.
“That’s what we wanted to do because we knew it would be good for our business and good for our team,” Reichelt said.