Layton’s success as a company depends heavily on the expertise and capabilities of our trade partners. Having a large and diverse group of subcontractors and suppliers is vital to our business and gives us a competitive advantage. Lead by Cherelle Cortez, our Supplier Diversity team is focused on increasing the diversity and strength of our trade partners. Learn more about our supplier diversity team here.

In 2022, Layton officially launched our Trade Partner Equity Program (TPEP). “The mission of the Trade Partner Equity Program is to add economic value to our company by encouraging and enabling the growth of diverse businesses,” said Cherelle Cortez, Layton’s Vice President of Trade Partner and Supplier Diversity. “The program will educate, empower, and equip minority, women, and disadvantaged business enterprises (MWDBEs) to improve their economic viability for success in today’s market while developing a partnering relationship with Layton Construction.”  We recently met with Cherelle to learn more about TPEP. She shared the following.

What is Layton’s TPEP program and how does it work?

The Layton Trade Partner Equity Program will provide education, tools, and other resources to minority, women, and disadvantaged business enterprises. Our goal is to build trust and eliminate barriers by working with us and help MWDBEs grow their business. It also provides mentorship, technical assistance, training, workshops, and intentional touchpoints. Each monthly session of the seven-month program will involve four hours of in-person, hands-on development. Layton’s commitment of time and resources is provided free of charge, but we look at it as paying our success forward to the communities where we live and work. In return, we benefit by having a larger, more diverse pool of quality trade partners that can bid on contracts.

What topics are covered?

The TPEP will include a deep dive into Layton’s prequalification process and requirements, as well as how to bid competitively. Our safety program will also be a core part of the curriculum, with a tour of one of our job sites, alongside marketing, technology, and other business tools and resources. Additionally, we’ll include networking and connecting these companies with others who can help them grow their business as a key part of the program.

Who provides the training?

We’ve partnered with internal subject matter experts to facilitate the courses, and we’ve also reached out to some of our community partners to provide education on topics like small-business banking and bonding. This effort is a partnership between Layton and leaders in the community.


How many companies can participate at a time and how do they sign up?

Our current class sizes range from seven to 10 companies, with a total of 34 companies participating in the initial offering across the four offices (Nashville, Salt Lake City, Seattle, and Irvine). We carefully vetted each company to ensure they qualify for the program. For instance, companies must be a minority- or woman-owned business (51%). Interested companies should complete the application on the Layton TPEP web page. Once an application has been submitted, we review it to determine if a company or organization is qualified. The goal is to offer the program at our main offices once per year.

How do you measure success?

One way is by the number of MWDBEs that participate in the training, complete our prequalification process, and bid on our projects. We track each business’s success and growth, and perhaps the best measure is the number of those companies that win contracts and are actively working with us. Having those success stories, where someone comes back and says, “Hey, I participated in the Layton Trade Partner Equity Program and look what it’s done for us,” is what the program is all about.

What has Layton been able to achieve with the program so far?

I’d like to give two shout-outs. In Phoenix, we recently got inducted to the Arizona Million Dollar Circle of Excellence for the second time. So, we surpassed the million-dollar annual spend requirement. Our total MWDBE spend today in the Phoenix office is over $31.2 million. I want to extend a huge congratulations to the Phoenix office for their commitment to supplier diversity.

The second shout-out I want to give is to Layton’s healthcare group, specifically the Sky Ridge Medical Center IP renovation project. The owner set a 12% MWDBE goal, and we are targeting to achieve a 16% spend. So, I want to recognize and thank our Denver office for exceeding their goal.

Any concluding thoughts?

Alongside our core values of honesty, safety, unity, and quality, it’s a priority for us to be inclusive and to work with diverse business owners on all our projects. Our supplier diversity program can be a cornerstone of our success and growth as we help MWDBEs become more competitive. Diversity is also one of Layton’s greatest strengths, as it allows us to be more creative and innovative. The same is true for our trade partners. As we value, nurture, and celebrate diversity, it will make us better and enable us to deliver predictable outcomes for our clients.


Have questions about our educational workshops?

Or anything else? We want to hear from you.
Email us at or call us at (801) 563-9090.


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