How Women Veterans Can Change New York City’s Construction Industry

Hudson Meridian Launches “Women Veterans in Construction” (WVC) Initiative

A New “M” Factor in Construction Industry Talent Development

By Executive Vice President, Hudson Meridian Construction Group

From the World Trade Center, to New York City Ferries, to High Rise Residential New York City is home to some of the world’s most historic and complex projects. As we continue to build, the construction industry has been faced with the obstacle of locating and retaining skilled labor, qualified mid-tier staff; such as estimators and project managers and finally, experienced executive leadership.

To further these efforts, Hudson Meridian is proud to announce that Hudson Meridian has created Women Veterans in Construction (WVC), an initiative designed to connect women military service veterans with employment opportunities in the construction industry. From workforce, to mid-tier and senior leadership, we are asking our industry’s leaders, elected officials and veteran and women’s organizations to assist us in creating this dialogue. Soon, Hudson Meridian will be hosting a roundtable discussion and enlisting the assistance of our industry partners and friends to further WVC’s mission and increase the pool of talented and exceptional construction professionals.

During the building boom, like many of the city’s leading construction services firms, Hudson Meridian included internal initiatives to address these challenges in our long-term business plan that focused on talent development and retention programs to provide consistency and high-quality services to our clients. Part of this plan included a strategic decision to diversify our staff and subcontractors,  regularly exceeding the Minority, Women Owned Business Enterprise (MWBE) goals set forth by New York City and State and the Service-Disabled Veteran Owned Businesses (SDVOB) goals included on public sector contracts. This intentional shift towards diversity has transformed our corporate culture and increased our ability to deliver quality projects for our clients, on-time and within budget, while supporting individuals who have selflessly served the United States of America.

Growing Together with MWBEs

As Hudson Meridian expanded its private sector client base and portfolio, we increased our efforts to locate talented, skilled and certified contractors. Our team continues to develop long term relationships with highly skilled MWBEs. Hudson Meridian Found itself fulfilling goals and developing relationships with subcontractors who provided professional services, innovative solutions and a more diverse perspective. Soon, we were hiring these firms for private work based on their expertise and merits, not just their certification.  These skilled subconsultants are now included in opportunities to provide resources for private sector work as well.

This level of involvement was key to a shift in our corporate culture. Instead of just checking a box for a diversity requirement, we connected and found firms that shared our values and commitment to our clients – creating a greater sense of friendship and team engagement.  Today, we can’t imagine developing future projects without the partnerships we have created with these certified small businesses.

The ‘M’ Factor: Military Training and Mindset Create Successful Construction Leaders    

Hudson Meridian has successfully partnered with the WBE Engineering firm, Enovate, on numerous projects. Among the highly skilled and capable employees from Enovate who impressed our project team at Hudson Meridian, one stood out to me. She was concise, prompt, intelligent and had exceptional communication and team orientation skills. I wasn’t surprised to learn that she was a veteran. Her professionalism, grit and dedication reminded me of the women I had met during my 28 years of service in the United States Army.

For those of you who haven’t had the pleasure of working with a veteran, they are typically equipped with the foundational values perfect for the construction industry. Selfless service for our country develops a rigorous work ethic built on the basis of mutual respect; tardiness or absenteeism is not an option. Through their robust training, veterans have the instinct to take initiative and create plans that deliver tangible solutions. Veterans take naturally to a team environment and understand the necessity of shared responsibility, credit and hardship.

The positive experience we have had with WBE’s and the women veterans they hire led our company to realize something I know to be true – we need more women veterans in construction. When presented with the opportunity, our firm hires veterans and veteran-owned businesses (SDVOB’s) for the value they bring to our company and the clients we serve. The diverse perspectives and skillsets women bring to the table, combined with the training and instincts instilled in veterans, will set the precedent for the next wave of professionals ready to step in and assist construction services firms with getting the job done right. If we are going to continue to build the prestigious and complex projects, it is imperative to engage the women who have served our country and utilize their invaluable abilities to help us build New York City’s skyline.

Today, more women are joining and retiring from the military than at any other point in our nation’s history. At Hudson Meridian, we ask you to join us in opening doors to work with our women veterans, to ensure our industry and the individuals we employ are as diverse as the communities we serve.

If you are interested in learning more about WVC or becoming a part of this important dialogue, please email or call 212-608-6600.


Richard Cote
Executive Vice President
Hudson Meridian Construction Group

About Rich Cote

Rich Cote serves as Executive Vice President and Director, Public Sector Division at Hudson Meridian Construction Group, one of New York City’s leading private construction management firms. Cote oversees the firm’s public sector division, including all waterfront and infrastructure projects. From 2012 to 2017, Cote left Hudson Meridian to serve as the Director of Operations for the Asset Management division of the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC), where he managed a large portfolio of capital construction projects, including the implementation of the Citywide Ferry System and efforts related to the recovery from Hurricane Sandy.

Cote is a graduate of Valley Forge Military Academy, Manhattan College and the U.S. Army Command & General Staff College. He is a retired U.S. Army officer and served three tours in Afghanistan and Iraq, earning two Bronze Stars, which are awarded for meritorious achievement in a combat zone. He retired at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.

About Hudson Meridian

Hudson Meridian Construction Group (HM) is a leading construction services firm offering a unique combination of construction expertise, including construction management, program management and general contracting. A trusted partner for new construction and restorative projects, HM has extensive experience in the residential, cultural, health and continued care, marine and educational sectors. The firm is also known for its team of disaster preparedness and disaster response experts, as they brought together a team of engineering and construction professionals to manage all aspects of the 9/11 World Trade Center recovery and debris removal. HM is well versed in LEED certification projects and GREEN technologies, having completed multiple new buildings that have achieving LEED Silver or higher ratings.