Brent Spence Bridge Corridor March 29, 2024 eNewsletter
'Building Futures' Aims to Change Lives in Underserved Communities
The Urban League of Greater Southwestern Ohio has announced an innovative apprenticeship readiness program aimed at expanding career opportunities in the building and construction trades. "Building Futures" is designed to equip participants with the essential skills to pursue meaningful careers in the region's booming construction industry.
This groundbreaking 12-week initiative, developed in partnership with the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT), Cincinnati Building and Construction Trades Council, Hamilton County Office of County Commissioners, AFL-CIO, and TradesFutures, provides a comprehensive curriculum that goes beyond just providing technical skills training. Participants receive training in life skills, financial literacy, and the fundamentals of the skilled trades - arming them with the tools for success.
By addressing unique barriers and creating an accessible on-ramp, the program directly bolsters the pipeline of skilled tradespeople for major regional projects like the Brent Spence Bridge Corridor Project.
The Building Futures sessions begin in June 2024 - learn more about this earn-as-you-learn program and apply at
The increasing number of women entering the engineering and construction industry is a positive development that brings diverse perspectives, talents and skills to these fields. Held in early March, the national Women in Construction Week (WIC) recognizes and promotes the role of women in the construction field.

The Brent Spence Bridge Corridor (BSBC) Project bistate management team and the design-build team are proud of the strong senior leadership found in Stacee Hans and Nikki Boden, project manager and design lead, respectively, for the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, and Katherine Bucek, river crossing design lead for Walsh Kokosing. 
The Walsh Kokosing Design-Build Team celebrated the women of the BSBC and hosted educational outreach events all week long, such as presentations about women in STEM and construction careers at local high schools.
“We’ve come a long way since I was in the engineering program at Purdue University,” said Bucek, who spearheaded the WIC effort for the BSBC. “But we have a long way to go. As the mother of two young daughters, I want to make sure girls are aware of all their career options, and to recognize my own peers for helping to pave the road to success.” 
The $3.6 billion Brent Spence Bridge Corridor Project creates a historic opportunity to build a career or grow a small company in Greater Cincinnati. To help individuals and small businesses benefit from this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, the project’s prime contractor, the Walsh Kokosing Design-Build Team, partnered with the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport and Metro to conduct a networking event March 20.
In support of the project’s overall goal of ensuring diversity in workforce composition and offering opportunities for outreach, assistance and mentoring, the event was conducted at the Greater Cincinnati Foundation and drew more than 60 attendees from area disadvantaged business enterprise (DBE) companies.
“I’m proud to say that at just 1% of this contract, we already have 14 local DBEs on board working on maintenance of traffic, engineering and more,” said Ohio Department of Transportation Project Manager Tommy Arnold. “But obviously, we have so much more work to do.”
Bidding opportunities can be found here
Jostin Construction has been hired to build out the space in Longworth Hall that will be occupied by Walsh Kokosing Joint Venture, the design-build team for the BSBC Project.
Walsh Kokosing will inhabit the new space for the duration of the project, putting the design-build team’s office directly adjacent to the project site.
“We're creating some beautiful office space for them and project subcontractors to be able to meet, work together, and get this project done,” said Josh Smitherman, business development manager with Jostin Construction. “Our experience in delivering high quality office spaces for our clients makes us an ideal fit for this scope.”
ODOT announced plans to purchase Longworth Hall for this purpose in late-2023, as a 200-foot section of the building is located within the project footprint and will need to be removed to allow for construction activities.
Walsh Kokosing currently occupies this section of the building, which will be removed during a later stage of the Longworth Hall project. A contractor for that phase has not yet been named, but Smitherman said Jostin Construction intends to pursue that work as well.
Jostin Construction is registered as a DBE in both Ohio and Kentucky, but it had never won government work before the BSBC Project was announced, Smitherman said. That changed when they were awarded the contract for the Longworth Hall project.
“Jostin Construction was built by people of diverse backgrounds who share a common vision for creating and providing a diversity of opportunities, and that’s exactly what we want the BSBC to be and do,” said Tommy Arnold, ODOT’s project manager on the BSBC.
Attending early DBE outreach events, such as an event in May 2023 hosted by the Greater Cincinnati & Northern Kentucky African American Chamber of Commerce, put Jostin directly in touch with members of the project team, including Arnold. That direct contact and discussions gave Jostin confidence in its ability to pursue government contracts.
“I saw ODOT there and got a comfort level with the work and the project team,” Smitherman said. He encourages other DBEs and business owners to attend outreach events and connect with the project team to develop an understanding and get more information.
Now well acquainted with the project team, Jostin continues to attend DBE outreach events to form relationships with potential subcontractors and partners on other projects.
“As we are working through the Longworth Hall project and anticipating future work, it's very important to nurture our relationships and build trust with subcontractors,” Smitherman said. He indicated these outreach events give him the opportunity to get to know services of potential subcontractors as they prepare to let future contracts.

You can find DBE resources and future project networking opportunities here.
As excitement for the Brent Spence Bridge Corridor Project continues to build, we turn to the leaders of the design-build team with Walsh Kokosing Joint Venture tasked with driving forward the project in the years to come.
Kicking off the Meet the Design-Build Team series are Arik Quam, the Walsh Kokosing Design-Build Team’s project manager for the project, and his right hand on the project, Deputy Project Manager Dan Schweiger.
Quam discusses his excitement for being involved with the BSBC Project: “The complexity of it is very interesting. It keeps you going. It’s a lot of problem solving. It’s, 'How do we do this, and how do we do it well?'”
Schweiger discusses his role in the project and his enthusiasm for it: “This is an iconic project for the city, for the companies, and yeah, I’m really excited to build it. When something like this comes along, you’ve gotta get out there and get after it.”
Registration is open for the 6th Biennial Ohio Civil Rights Transportation Symposium to be held April 9 and 10, 2024 in Newark, Ohio. The objective of this year’s symposium is to provide attendees greater insight regarding the changing landscape of Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion (DE&I) programs across the country, including the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) program. Attendees will hear about the Ohio Department of Transportation’s (ODOT) ongoing commitment to Diversity and Inclusion among many other topics. The Brent Spence Bridge Corridor Project will be featured in a workshop on day one for attendees to get connected with and stay up to date on this $3.6 billion project. Get more information and register today at
Stretching from the Western Hills Viaduct in Ohio to Dixie Highway in Kentucky, the $3.6 billion project will be built without tolls and transform an eight-mile portion of the I-71/75 interstate corridor, including a companion bridge immediately to the west of the existing bridge. More information about the project is available at A video outlining last year’s progress can be viewed here.
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