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Tanya C. Matthews Remembers

DBIA’s first woman National Board Chair, Tanya C. Matthews, FAIC, DBIA, talks about her time at the helm in 1999.
In your opinion, what were the greatest challenges DBIA faced in the early years?

Tanya Matthews: The greatest challenges that DBIA faced in the early years revolved around securing procurement reform legislation in Congress and in all 50 state legislatures. We had to teach the benefits of design-build and why the taxpayer is better served with more tools in the toolbox of government contracting officers.

When you became Board Chair, how many women were involved in DBIA?

Tanya Matthews: There were no other women involved in DBIA at that time, except for a woman who was an attorney in California, Nancy Smith of Nossaman. Chairing DBIA was joyful because we were showing the many benefits that design-build offers to public agencies. I never noticed the male/female discrepancy.

What did you learn from your time as Chair?

Tanya Matthews: I learned that we are helping the American people by expanding the use of design-build and teaching people how to use it well. I remember helping the Department of Energy for some work in New Mexico where they were designing and building labs in Los Alamos. They cherished the speed and the one-stop responsibility that design-build offers to owners.

We assisted many government agencies as they started to use design-build as a valuable tool. These included the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, NAVFAC, WMATA, dozens of transportation departments (I remember Arizona being one of the most innovative) and lots of school districts. Of course, we had our share of foes who only wanted the traditional design-bid-build techniques. (We used to call this design-bid-build-sue). We considered “bid” a four-letter word! We invented “BARFO” for Best and Really Final Offer.

What are you doing now?

Tanya Matthews: I am the President of TMG Construction Corporation, of Purcellville, Va. We are a full-service institutional general contractor. Further, I am the National President of the American Institute of Constructors.


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