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Former DBIA Board Chair Tom Porter Remembers

Tom Porter served as DBIA Board Chairman in 2009. Tom has more than 30 years of legal risk management experience having served as Executive Vice President and General Counsel for Barton-Malow and as a consultant for several large construction organizations. He is currently the Vice President and General Counsel for LeChase Construction. We recently sat down with him to discuss his time as Chairman.

How did you and DBIA contend with the effects of the economic recession?

Tom Porter: When the economy took a nose dive starting in 2008, we were understandably anxious about how DBIA would be affected. By December 2008, the construction industry was struggling as the frozen credit markets inhibited owners paying for projects while contractors and others were dealing with project cancellation and major revenue losses. Other industry associations were eroding membership and revenue and we feared the same would happen to DBIA. We were pleased to find out, however, that the inherent advantages of design-build and the strong value proposition offered by our organization gave us a stable financial and operational environment through 2009 and beyond. Membership held solid and conference attendance grew. Considering the environment, I think that is a tremendous credit to the DBIA staff and the many committed DBIA leaders and members at the national and regional levels.
Could you discuss the Executive leadership transition from Lee Evey to Lisa Washington?

Tom Porter: DBIA was fortunate to have Lee Evey as long as we did as DBIA’s executive leader, both for his established credibility in the industry and the energetic, visionary, dynamic leadership he brought to the organization. To Lee’s credit, he put the question of succession planning on the table for consideration by the Board. Lee had recruited Lisa Washington to DBIA to manage our education programs. After she proved her talent in that realm, Lisa was promoted to Chief Operating Officer, where she continued to shine. Lee supported Lisa as his successor. The Board likewise believed that Lisa was the right leader going forward and we made that transition in 2009. It is been very gratifying to see Lisa’s leadership talent, her professional growth and her success in driving the organization to successful results while serving as DBIA’s Executive Director/CEO.

What do you see as DBIA’s strengths over the years?

Tom Porter: DBIA is one of the few organizations that invite all industry players to participate on an equal footing. This is not an organization solely comprised of owners, designers or building trades. It is a platform for all industry players to convene, network and collaborate equally to strengthen the industry as a whole. This is even reflected in our past board members and chairs that have included owners, architects, engineers, general builders, specialty contractors, attorneys and educators. This wide base helps ensure the credibility of DBIA in defining best practices for our industry.
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