Making connections through BJC's diversity program
Nov. 2021 - Cheryl Stoddard, President of Technology Integration Engineering (TIE), credits participation in BJC Planning, Design and Construction’s (PD&C) diversity and inclusion program for the growth of her young company. Launched in 2019, TIE Consulting Engineers designs low-voltage technology systems.
“The Capacity Building Warehouse (CBW) was a catalyst for where we are today,” says Stoddard. “I would have struggled more if it had not been for applying to BJC’s CBW and making connections through BJC 201.”
The CBW was created to identify and qualify minority business enterprise (MBE) and women business enterprise (WBE) vendors that demonstrate experience and capacity to work with BJC. BJC 201 is a quarterly education program, an evolution and expansion of BJC 101, designed to help educate MBE/WBE firms about the highly regulated healthcare design and construction space, as well as teach business and marketing skills.
Starting out, Stoddard wasn’t sure how to connect with prime contractors. “I know about engineering, am passionate about technology and have real world experience, but I was not equipped to run a business,” says Stoddard. “I had no idea how to navigate this, so I reached out to friends in the community willing to help me.”
An introduction to PD&C’s diversity and inclusion manager, Charles Henson, was a key connection she needed. “Charles helped lay out what I needed to do to apply to the Capacity Building Warehouse and encouraged me to attend BJC 201 to understand how to do business with BJC.”
Henson says that Stoddard was eager to learn and make connections. Through meetings and classes, Stoddard introduced herself and her company to prime contractors. She met Craig Webster, managing principal of BR+A’s St. Louis office, and was subsequently awarded a contract to design low voltage systems for the new 16-story inpatient tower at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, including electronic security and access controls.
An engineer, Stoddard previously worked for health care systems on the owner side, most recently as director of facilities and construction contracting for Ascension. A self-described technology geek, she returned to school in 2013, earning a master of engineering degree from Washington University. In early 2019, she left her job at Ascension and started TIE.
A little less than three years later, TIE secured projects with four health care systems and three universities. TIE has grown from two to eight employees, made up of six women and two men. Stoddard is passionate about mentoring young women in the field of technology engineering and is mentoring two students with hopes of creating a bench of young, talented female engineers. TIE’s most recent employee is a 4th year student from Washington University who moved to St. Louis from Nigeria to study engineering.
Proud of the talent TIE has attracted, she says, “These young women have the potential to become my successor, and the BJC Capacity Building Warehouse Program gave us the opportunity to build a foundation and create a great legacy.”
Henson adds, “Cheryl learned quickly by embracing our program here at BJC and doing everything she needed to do to succeed.”