On an Island in the Sun

When it comes to giving back to the community, Guam-based Black Construction’s philosophy is simple: Always look out for your neighbor.
By Maggie Murphy
April 1, 2022

Fifty-eight-thousand miles west of San Francisco, in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, lies the tropical paradise of Guam, the largest of the Mariana Islands and an official U.S. territory. Guam has a population of approximately 166,000 people—about one-tenth the size of Manhattan—so fostering community is a central feature of Guamanian life. It’s also very much a part of the company culture at Guam-based Black Construction Corporation.

Located midway down the western coast of the island, in the village of Tamuning, the full-service general contractor has a history of successfully completing projects with the highest standards of quality and safety, earning Black the Accredited Quality Contractor designation from Associated Builders and Contractors. But Black operates on the philosophy that success is best when it’s shared—particularly as it relates to supporting the local community. Most recently, the company provided critical support to Guam during the COVID-19 public-health emergency.

Called to Action

As the first cases of COVID-19 were confirmed in Guam on March 15, 2020, the local government immediately began to mobilize resources in an effort to reduce the virus’ spread. With just two civilian hospitals on the island, maintaining a low infection rate was essential, so as not to overwhelm the already-small number of available beds. Black provided much-needed equipment to support the setup of critical testing sites, including traffic cones, lighted digital sign boards, traffic/directional signs, barricades and portable light towers.

The company also donated large quantities of sanitization materials to several essential community resource groups, including St. Dominic’s Senior Care Home, the Salvation Army homeless shelter, Harvest House foster children’s ministry and Erica’s House, which supports families affected by violence and abuse.

“Community service will always be a vital part of our company,” says Mellanie Dorego, proposal manager for Black. “Our COVID-19 relief efforts have been yet another opportunity for employees to develop a deeper connection with and commitment to the local community.”

Past Is Prologue

While providing aid during the pandemic has been a primary community focus for the past two years, Black’s commitment to neighborly outreach was in place long before the novel coronavirus made its way across the globe. The company’s executive leadership team regularly encourages and supports employee volunteerism and identifies service opportunities with organizations whose missions are in alignment with Black’s own values, including the Special Olympics, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Guam, the Guam Veterans Association, the American Red Cross and the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Black’s community-building efforts aren’t limited to civic and charitable organizations. The company is also committed to helping ensure economic stability for future generations by introducing them to careers in the trades. Recently, Black donated two forklifts to the Guam Trades Academy, which plays a vital role in the training and education of future craft labor entering the industry. Academy students can use the forklifts for operating-procedure training as well as basic mechanical-repair training.

“I personally enjoy getting involved in these projects, as it not only helps me to be more active in civic engagement, but it gives me a sense of purpose in my work and a true understanding of the needs of my neighbors,” says Annmarie Rios, warehouse manager at Black. “Black Construction’s sense of social responsibility and investment in giving back forges strong bonds within our communities, gives us as employees a sense of belonging and makes us feel proud to be associated with a company that ultimately wants to make a difference.”

by Maggie Murphy
Maggie Murphy is managing editor of Construction Executive.

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