During the last 12 years, Glen Shumate’s name has become synonymous with diversity and inclusion in Northeast Ohio’s construction and building trades industry. Today, he serves as the executive vice president of the Construction Employers Association (CEA).
In addition to his work at CEA, Shumate serves as executive director of the Construction Assistance Association (CAA), the CEA affiliate committed to ensuring diversity in the construction business. Also, he’s received the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) Director’s Award for Excellence in Diversity & Inclusion Advocacy.
“Construction is a major economic driver in most communities, including Greater Cleveland,” says Shumate. “Every year, $2 billion is spent on construction which supports infrastructure, roadway, utilities, schools, hospitals, etc. It touches the very fabric of Cleveland and workforce opportunities.”
The WORKNOW Program, sponsored by the Urban League of Greater Cleveland, is an eight-week preapprenticeship program. Goren Dillard, director of WORKNOW, says Shumate helped him resuscitate the program. During the last five years, Dillard credits Shumate with educating close to 100 people on the benefits of working in the construction trades. Shumate makes the relationships and does the work.
“[Glen] is someone who walks it and talks it,” he says.”
Tari Rivera, president of Regency Construction Services Inc., considers Shumate to be a connector as well.
“He sees a project you may be interested in and shoots you an email or link, even on the weekends,” she says. “His resources are so broad and deep.”
Shumate also serves as the executive director of the ACE Mentoring Program of Cleveland, an initiative that introduces high school students to careers in architecture, construction and engineering. Since its inception 13 years ago, it has awarded $1.2 million in scholarships to more than 180 students from Cleveland Metropolitan School District and Warrensville High School.
Taylor Watson, the assistant engineer at Turner Construction Co., first met Shumate as a student in the ACE Mentor Program at James Ford Rhodes High School. While in college, she applied to be the ACE Mentor Program intern at CEA and worked under the direction of Shumate and a few others.
“Glen was always pulling me into meetings to meet people or introducing me to many different construction folks, from tradesmen all the way up to local company presidents and vice presidents,” Watson says.
Cesar Sandate, a James Ford Rhodes student, graduated from Kent State University, where he studied construction management. Sandate currently works at Marous Brothers Construction as a project engineer intern. “Glen has shaped my career path by providing great mentorship and helping me network with different construction companies throughout Cleveland,” he says.
“The city can only be successful if there are people making it successful,” Shumate says. He gives a slight smile and chuckle when he speaks but is serious about his work. “If we can build a workforce where people are thriving, making more than a living wage with benefits and retirement options, that’s rewarding to me.”