Of the two, the proposal by NOLA Airport Builders has the most changes from the plans put forward in the previous round, including a shake-up in the leadership of the joint venture, which went by the name Parsons-Odebrecht in the first round. Those two companies, one based in California and the other in Brazil, brought in Royal Engineers, one of the state’s largest minority-owned engineering firms, as a full partner after the first round of the process and severed ties with the local company Woodward Design+Build.The Woodward tie became controversial in the last round when a lawsuit called attention to racially insensitive behavior on the part of some of the company's supervisors. One interesting way the NOLA Airport Builders group is attempting to compensate for that now is by
In addition to those changes, NOLA Airport Builders announced Wednesday that the Urban League of Greater New Orleans would be working with it to improve outreach to so-called “disadvantaged businesses,” firms that are owned by women or minorities.
Erika McConduit-Diggs, president and CEO of the organization, said this will build on work the Urban League already is doing and on previous successful efforts to improve participation by disadvantaged businesses in other projects.
“We want to be able to commit ourselves to make a difference and help make those opportunities available,” she said.
The Urban League is listed as a contractor on the project and is being paid for its services, but McConduit-Diggs would not say how much the nonprofit will receive.
The Parsons-Odebrect/NOLA Airport Builders group was also criticized for Parsons' ties to former Deputy Mayor and now Sewerage and Water Board President Cedric Grant. They appear to have compensated for that unseemliness by taking the word Parsons out of their group's name.