By Tina Meketa, University Communications and Marketing
As the construction dust clears from the Judy Genshaft Honors College building, its immaculate design symbolizes the hundreds of talented individuals who brought the state-of-the-art facility to life.
Since its groundbreaking in late 2020, nearly 80 businesses have worked on the five story, 85,000-square-foot building – about half are diverse-owned with an estimated spend on contracts exceeding $11 million.
“Our goal was to have 30 percent utilization of diverse-owned firms on the Judy Genshaft Honors College building. So, the fact that we far exceeded that goal is a great example of if we work together of what can be done together,” said Terrie Daniel, assistant vice president of the USF Office of Supplier Diversity.
Woman-owned Level Line Interiors installed the metal framing and drywall, the ensemble acoustic lobby ceiling – which optimizes sound absorption – and the fiber-reinforced concrete panels on the building’s interior walls.
“The Honors College was like no other job we have worked on – beautiful and unique and filled with challenges, which our company thrives on,” said Stephanie Schoenberg, who owns Level Line Interiors with her husband, Don. “The building’s design, with all the curved walls, glass openings and multiple wall finishes brought a new challenge every day, and that was very fulling to see it all come together.”
Founded in 1994, Level Line Interiors has about 20 employees and has secured contracts to work on other USF projects, such as the Marshall Student Center and Osprey Suites on the USF St. Petersburg campus.
Diverse-owned Evolve Mechanical Services also worked on Osprey Suites and its dining hall and installed the HVAC system in the Judy Genshaft Honors College building. Founder Reggie Clark employs 14 technicians, including a Vietnam War veteran.
"I'm proud to be part of this project. Over the last few months, our team has worked diligently to complete the installation of the facility's new HVAC system," Clark said. "We are excited to see the entire finished product and to know that we've played a role in it."
Several USF alums are at the core of construction of the new Judy Genshaft Honors College building, which is funded in part by a $20 million gift from USF President Emerita and Professor Judy Genshaft and her husband Steve Greenbaum.
Woman-owned Ceco Concrete Construction poured the concrete foundation, columns, walls, beams and slabs. District manager Chad Anast has been with the company for more than 15 years and earned his executive Master of Business Administration degree from USF in 2021.
“I was very excited to be back on campus working on an iconic project with some of my former classmates right next to where we went to class,” Anast said.
Cableytics owner Floyd Freeman is also an alum, graduating in 1996 with a degree in electrical engineering. His team installed public safety Distributed Antenna Systems throughout the Judy Genshaft Honors College building, which boosts police and fire radios. The diverse-owned business landed the contract while participating in the USF Mentor Protégé Program – developed in partnership with Skanska to support the Tampa Bay region’s diverse-owned small businesses in the construction industry.
The USF Office of Supplier Diversity will soon welcome its third cohort for the mentor program. Participants will be selected based on recommendations from community partners, such as the Hillsborough County NAACP, Prospera, the Women’s Business Enterprise Council Florida, Inclusive St. Pete and the Manasota Black Chamber of Commerce.
Applications will be accepted May 15-June 16 with the next class beginning in August. You can register here to learn more about how to sign up for the program and receive notifications about future Office of Supplier Diversity events or USF purchasing opportunities.