I’m a reporter and editor at heart but a photographer on the side. And now and then, when we don’t have a photographer available, I get to go out and shoot for either our print issue or IBJ.com.
I love it. I find that people often feel less nervous around a photographer than around a reporter. They are more aware that you’re there, but less careful about what they say. And so you get to see people in a more relaxed state.
Such was the case in December when I went to shoot photos for IBJ’s cover story about the Cook Medical manufacturing plant under construction in partnership with Goodwill Industries.
Cook pledged to build the plant using only contractors and subcontractors with owners who are minorities, women, veterans or people with disabilities. People in the industry doubted Cook could do it. After all, some projects struggle to meet goals of 15% or 20% minority participation.
But Pete Yonkman, the president of Cook Group Inc., told IBJ it wasn’t as difficult as he’d expected.
That’s in part because Cook hired Akilah Darden, whose Darden Group consulting firm specializes in helping companies find minority contractors for projects. And Darden—whom I first met while producing an episode of IBJ’s “The Freedom Forum with Angela B. Freeman” podcast—went into overdrive recruiting companies and spreading the word about what Cook was trying to do.