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Firm secures WBE status as demand for diversity grows.

Henegan Construction Co., Inc., a New York-based leader in construction management and general contracting, has been granted Women's Business Enterprise (WBE) certification by Women's Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) through its regional affiliate, the Women Presidents' Educational Organization (WPEO).

The announcement was made today by Maureen A. Henegan, the company's chairman and CEO.

While Henegan Construction's official WBE status does not reflect a change in the firm's controlling ownership or management, it does respond to new expectations in the marketplace.

"Because we have served predominantly private-sector clients," Henegan explains, "we never sought WBE certification from public agencies. But in recent years, our clients have increasingly made diversity, both in-house and among their consultants and vendors, a significant goal." The rigor and credibility of WBENC's certification process, she continues, relieves prospective clients of the burden of conducting their own due diligence. "When they hire a WBE-certified firm, like Henegan Construction," she says, "their board members their customers, and the general public recognize the seriousness of their commitment to diversity."

Maureen Henegan--who, with her sister, owns more than 51% of the company founded by their father in 1959--joined Henegan Construction full-time as vice president in 1986, following a legal career in which she specialized in tax, finance, labor, and transportation. She was named president in 1991, became chair of the board in 1997, and for the past four years has served as CEO.

Under her leadership, Henegan Construction has grown in size and stature, with a staff of more than 150 and an average annual volume of work in excess of $300 million. The firm's strategic plan calls for steady and sustained growth, with a target of $500 million by 2009.

Henegan believes that the gender of a firm's ownership and leadership has no particular impact on business success, but acknowledges that public perception remains a factor. "In the best of all possible worlds," she says, "we wouldn't need to identify any business as 'women-owned,' and clients would consider only the strength of a company, its track-record of accomplishments, and the quality of its work." Unfortunately, she notes, ownership by women is still a rarity in the larger construction companies like hers.

"For now," she continues, "the more visibility and credibility women can gain as business leaders, the better it is for all of us. By successfully going through the WBE certification process and becoming involved with WBENC, I hope I can accomplish some valuable goals for Henegan Construction, for our clients, and for all businesswomen."
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Title Annotation:ASSOCIATIONS: EVENTS, AWARDS; Women's Business Enterprise
Publication:Real Estate Weekly
Date:Oct 25, 2006
Words:414
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