Turner Construction gives back to Cleveland

Kevin Fox, 10, with his father behind him, meeting Cleveland Indians shortstop Jason Donald at the August 10 game.

Kevin Fox will always remember the August 10 game at Progressive Field, but the part about the Indians tromping the Tigers 10-3 probably won’t be what sticks out. He’ll remember walking the ball out to the mound, or watching his 6-year-old brother Brian throw the first pitch, or meeting former team manager Mike Hargrove during the game.

Kevin, 10, suffers from a number of lifelong medical disorders, including epilepsy and autism. Despite these challenges, he inspires everyone around him by facing each day with enthusiasm. Because of this spirit, he was honored with a Courage Award at the 21st annual HeartThrob Ball, an event that benefits young patients at Cleveland Clinic Children’s Hospital.

But the baseball game wasn’t part of the award package – that was an added bonus Kevin received, courtesy of Turner Construction. The Cleveland office of the general contracting company, in its second year of sponsoring the ball, purchased an auction item that included loge tickets to the Indians game – which went right to Kevin and his family.

“As one of my colleagues was bidding on the auction item, Kevin walked up to him and gave him a high-five,” says Mark Dent, vice president and general manager of Turner Construction’s Cleveland office. “He didn’t need to say a thing; it was evident that he appreciated all the support. It was the least we could do for his courage and bravery.”

Dent counts community service as one of Turner’s responsibilities to Cleveland. Programs that support children, like the HeartThrob Ball, are especially close to the corporation’s heart.

“Turner is very committed to the communities in which we live and work,” he says. “Children are our future, and we make a special effort to get involved with programs that help them. These include the Cleveland Clinic event, as well as programs that teach kids about construction and guide them toward careers in the industry.”

Turner’s Cleveland office also volunteers with groups such as the Hattie Larlham Center for Children with Disabilities, Boy Scouts of America, Achievement Centers for Children and Youth Opportunities Unlimited. In fact, Dent’s team is currently building a new nature path at the Hattie Larlham group home in Solon – on a purely volunteer basis.

Beyond the corporate support of programs like these, many Turner executives serve as role models of charity in their personal lives, as well. Dent even gets involved in charitable events through his involvement in professional organizations – such as the Construction Employers Association, the Associated General Contractors of America and the Cleveland Engineering Society.

“I think you engage people by being a role model,” he says. “On a personal note, I get a lot of satisfaction from these types of activities, and when people see your spirit, it’s contagious.”

Dent tries to keep spreading that spirit around the company by reminding employees that they’re all in this together, and that they have a commitment to the communities that support Turner.

“Turner has a responsibility to contribute to the greater good of our communities,” Dent says. “We do that by giving back, in the form of our volunteer programs to youth and others, by promoting opportunities for (Minority and Women-owned Business Enterprises) and helping to sponsor events.”

And – because they’re all in this together, remember – the business may even end up benefitting from Turner’s efforts to help others.

“Sometimes, our activities do end up benefiting the business, although that was not the original intent,” Dent says. “For example, by promoting opportunities for M/WBEs, we are growing firms in the community. Many of the firms that have gone through our Construction Management Training Course have become subcontractors and have assisted us in building many of the major buildings in our community.”

While gifts of time and money are powerful, corporate giving can make perhaps the biggest difference when gifts align with the business. When you look at a company like Turner, which builds the structures that build cities, it’s easy to see how business benefits the community.

Turner’s current projects in Cleveland include: The Cleveland Medical Mart & Convention Center, Cleveland Clinic Fairview Hospital Emergency Room & ICU, Allen Theatre, Baldwin-Wallace Conservatory of Music, Beachwood High School and Westlake City Schools.

“These projects are making our community more vibrant,” Dent says. “The owners of these projects are providing thousands of jobs to the people in Northern Ohio. That’s a major contribution to our economy.”

The Medical Mart project – which is right on schedule, with underground activities coming to a close and the first wave of steel structure popping up – will start serving the community long before the building welcomes its first health care conference. In September, Turner will use the site to showcase construction careers for seventh and eighth grade students through the Career Awareness for Middle Schools Outreach Program – one of the many ways the company keeps giving back to local youth.

For weekly updates on the Medical Mart’s construction progress, check www.clevelandmedicalmartonline.com.

For more information on Turner Construction in Cleveland, visit www.turnerconstruction.com/cleveland/.