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Greenfire pays it forward.

Byline: Erika Strebel

For Milwaukee-based Greenfire Management Services, diversity is about giving back and helping other minority firms build success.

The construction management firm has worked on projects such as the River House Apartments, a 243-unit development made up to two four-story buildings along the Milwaukee River, and the Potawatomi Hotel & Casino parking structure and administrative office renovation.

President Kip Ritchie noted that two recent projects in particular, the two-phase renovation of the Historic Garfield School and the 64-unit Legacy Lofts, which involved both new construction and the renovation of a former ice cream factory, demonstrate the firm's dedication to diversity.

"In both of those projects we had a really diverse workforce, whether it was working directly with minority subcontractors or working with programs that help create opportunities for tradespeople to develop skills, for people to enter the workforce," Ritchie said. "Just knowing that were able to be part of that was really fulfilling."

Greenfire started out as a small, minority-owned business and has since grown, though it continues to be owned by the Forest County Potawatomi Community, so its shareholders are the 1,400 members of the tribe.

The firm hires local residents and small and minority-owned businesses for each project. Ritchie noted that many of these small minority-owned businesses are young, much like Greenfire once was.

"When we can turn around and pay it forward and help other young minority firms build capacity and have access to capital. For Greenfire to be in the position to do that is a thrill for us and a thrill for ownership," said Ritchie.

Greenfire's efforts extend to the jobs that the firm is creating. It has recently expanded its ranks to 40 people. Ritchie noted that inclusivity is particularly important because Milwaukee is such a diverse city.

"When you take a look at our entire workforce, whether it's gaming, in our holding company, all of our employees we want that to be a mirror," he said. "We want that to reflect what we see in Milwaukee. I think everyone wins when you have diverse workforce and make that a priority."

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Publication:The Daily Reporter
Geographic Code:1U3WI
Date:Nov 15, 2018
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