Related Midwest Blog

Hispanic Heritage Month Spotlight: Jose Duarte

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At Related Midwest’s Roosevelt Square development, we’re creating state-of-the-art mixed-use residential and retail built by leading minority-owned firms. In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, we’re spotlighting leaders from two of those firms and sharing their insights into the project and how their culture impacts the work they create. 

Today, we’re shining the spotlight on Jose Duarte, Principal of Blackwood Group, a full-service general contractor and construction management firm.

What trends do you see among Hispanic and Latino professionals in building and construction? 

I am thrilled to see many more new and emerging professional services companies within Construction and Design. There has always been an abundance of talent in the Latino community both in construction and design, and to see Latino and Latina talent have an opportunity to be showcased and stand on their own, as business leaders, is a very welcomed trend.

How does your cultural background and heritage shape your work both as a leading GC and, individually, as a business leader? 

It is our cultural backgrounds and experiences that provide a meaningful connection to the communities we serve. We do much of our work in Latino communities, and many of Blackwood’s employees live in the very communities we work in. It’s a source of great pride and responsibility to know that we are Latino business leaders who are helping forge a brighter, more promising future for our very own communities through our building works.

Blackwood is serving as general contractors of Roosevelt Square 3B through the joint venture B3 Builders. What makes this project unique? 

There is something very special about the B3 Builders Team. From the onset, the B3 team came together to make a statement. We demonstrate what can be possible when a Black and Brown team comes together on a project of this scale. It is really a credit to Related Midwest for their vision of what is possible within our industry. They definitely are ahead of the curve in recognizing the talent that exists in our communities and are doing their part in addressing equitable wealth creation as it relates to minority businesses. 

What do you wish more people knew about being a Hispanic professional in the building and construction space? 

There is a lot of Latino/Latina talent and skill that exists in construction, design and professional services within the construction space. The number of Hispanics working in these fields is growing to a meaningful percentage but there is still a long path ahead for Hispanic businesses to obtain meaningful opportunities as prime general contractors, lead design professionals or lead developers. Latino businesses in our industry face many challenges to growth, and opportunity is just one. But I am optimistic that more companies in positions of corporate leadership will open more opportunities to Hispanic businesses as Related Midwest has done for Blackwood through Roosevelt Square and B3 Builders.