Chamber News

Marker, Inc. is taking DEIA to the Next Level | August 2023 Workforce Report

August 24th, 2023

At Marker, we believe that being a GREAT BUILDER requires significant investment in the people and the process. We were the kids who spent a little too much time in the sandbox…with our tractors and plastic shovels. The kids who used our Lincoln Logs to make skyscrapers instead of log cabins. The kids who didn’t follow the instructions that came with the Lego Castle. And built an entire city instead. And while we’ve grown up… and grown families… our fervor of dreaming big and creating awesome has not changed. Our eyes still light up at the beginning of a new project. We still stay up later than we should, adding one more piece in search of perfection. And in business, we still value the same principles that mattered as kids, even though we couldn’t spell “principles”. The only difference between us as kids and our team now… We get to call our obsession our jobs, as well as our love. WE ARE MARKER.

Let’s take a moment to get to know the key people doing DEIA work in your organization.

Evelyne Yarborough’s primary role with Marker Construction is as a Project Administrator. In this role, she supports the construction project teams with various tasks vital to running well-organized and successful construction projects. In addition to her role on construction projects, Evelyne is also involved in minority subcontractor outreach initiatives and is the Chairperson of our Strength in Unity (SIU) employee resource group. The SIU committee was established in June 2020 after the George Floyd murder and continues to provide a platform for our Black associates to come together and discuss a variety of topics specific to the Black community and our Black associates, including how to raise awareness of racial discrimination, implicit biases, social injustice, and the subsequent needs and challenges in the workplace. The goal of the committee is to aid in developing a company culture that promotes inclusion, equality, and diversity and create an environment in which all associates understand and take responsibility for the impact that their own biases, attitudes, and behaviors (positive and/or negative) have on others, especially our Black, indigenous, and people of color associates. This committee plans and oversees our collective work to ensure that the company remains committed and active in making positive changes in this space. 

Doug Wright is our Director of Workforce Development and Community Engagement.At Marker, Doug’s primary areas of leadership are workforce development, minority subcontractor/supplier engagement, and community outreach. Doug’s position was created a little over a year ago to ensure that we had a full-time person dedicated to workforce development and DEIA outreach efforts, including providing presentations, jobsite tours, and job opportunities through partnerships with local schools and workforce development organizations. During the past five years, he has been actively involved with DEIA work as a non-profit officer, board member, and panel speaker.

Scott Fitzgerald is our Vice President of Human Resources. At Marker, Scott leads our Human Resources department, which includes driving our recruitment, retention, and training and development strategy. The scope of his work as it relates recruitment, retention, and DEIA efforts includes partnering with local non-profit organizations to help build honest and authentic relationships that will help Marker expand our hiring pool to ensure we are hiring talented people from all different backgrounds and providing equal opportunities when hiring, training and developing, and advancing careers. He focuses attention on our associates’ experience to ensure we have a welcoming, inclusive, and safe work environment that encourages our associates to bring their true and authentic selves to work each day.

Tell us about Marker Construction’s DEIA Journey.

Under the leadership of our President and CEO, Alison Marker, we have been recognized as a progressive construction company with a concerted focus on diversity and inclusion. Diversity and inclusion are woven into our core beliefs, values, and behaviors. While we have been doing many great things related to DEIA over the last 10 years, we knew that it was time that we needed to put everything together in one place, articulate what we are doing well, identify gaps and needs, and create a more strategic plan for moving forward.

Some examples of our previous/existing DEIA efforts that were established and have continued over the past 10 years include:

  • The creation employee resource groups (ERGs) for women, LGBTQIA+, and people of color.
  • Intentional efforts to recruit and connect with women and minorities in our community via networking, workforce development organization partnerships, and schools to offer employment opportunities to a more diverse pool of candidates.
  • The development of partnerships with organizations that provide construction skill training to local marginalized community members like IMPACT Community Action, Franklinton Rising, YouthBuild Columbus Community School, and Ohio Construction Academy.
  • Intentional outreach with minority subcontractors and suppliers related to construction project bidding opportunities. We have an internal goal for minority subcontracts across all projects, including those projects/clients that do not have their own goals. We are proud to have achieved over 18% in minority subcontracts on our $56 million COTA McKinley Avenue construction project.
  • We are involved with regional organizations that promote minority businesses, including the Central Ohio Minority Business Association (COMBA), Columbus Urban League (CUL), Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC), OhioMBE, and Ohio Diversity Council.
  • We provide sponsorships and donations for non-profit organizations that prioritize diversity, equity, and inclusion, including organizations like Community Shelter Board, Huckleberry House, United Way, Kaleidoscope for Youth Services, Freedom a la Cart, Columbus Urban League, Zora’s House, Mid-Ohio Food Collective, Directions for Youth and Families, and others. Marker was a proud first-time sponsor and marched in the Stonewall Columbus Pride March this year and volunteered with multiple community organizations.
  • Volunteer efforts for non-profit organizations that prioritize diversity and inclusion, including committee and board involvement.
  • Marker proudly holds national certification as a Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE) by the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC). This certification reflects our unwavering dedication to promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion within the construction industry. We aim to provide enhanced value to our clients and partners by attaining this certification. It enables them to fulfill their supplier diversity goals while formally demonstrating their commitment to fostering diversity and equity.
  • The intentional and strategic use of social media to show representation of women and minorities in construction.
  • Signed the letter to Columbus City Council in Support of Resolution Declaring Racism a Public Health Crisis (June 1, 2020)
  • Signed the Columbus Commitment Pledge.
  • Internal celebrations for Juneteenth, Black History Month, LGBTQIA+ pride, Lunar New Year, and other holidays for underrepresented groups.
  • Hosted a Black History Month panel discussion this year, spotlighting the Zora’s House 2.0 project and leaders, including LC Johnson, Jonathan Moody (Moody Nolan), and Evelyne Yarborough (Marker).
  • Women in Construction celebrations each year.
  • Participation in Construction Inclusion Week each October.
  • Participation in numerous panel discussions, podcasts, and interviews related to diversity and inclusion.

To assist with developing a stronger and more comprehensive strategy around DEIA, we decided to seize the opportunity to participate in the Columbus Chamber’s Next Level DEIA program to help us learn how to be more structured, intentional, organized, and communicative. Doug, Evelyne, and Scott proudly participated in the program. After completing the 8-session course, Marker is now in the process of drafting a DEIA Strategic Plan, pulling everything together that we have done successfully in the past, what we’ve learned in this program, along with our future goals for diversity and inclusion. Our journey, like Marker itself, is growing and evolving, and we look forward to our progress as we would like a workplace that reflects the diversity and inclusiveness of our community.

What has been the most challenging aspect of the journey?

Patience! There are no easy and quick solutions. We cannot snap our fingers and have a workforce that reflects our communities. We need to work at building honest relationships with diverse communities and organizations, and continue working to build an inclusive culture that draws people in. People will see through your attempts if you are just checking the boxes.

What has been the most rewarding aspect of the journey?

We have had two rewarding experiences that stand out. The first is providing a career to community members that previously had little hope of breaking the cycle of poverty. We provide good pay, benefits, and a career in a growing industry. Providing the opportunity and seeing our new associates’ hard work is rewarding. The second aspect that has been rewarding is when our associates begin to understand and embrace the need for diversity and inclusion in our workforce. This is a different journey for each of our associates but when the understanding occurs, it is another great experience.

What’s next for Marker, Inc. in the DEIA space?

Marker will implement our first DEIA strategic plan and we will continue to grow and learn through our journey. We are not perfect, and we will make mistakes. We will, however, continue to strive forward toward creating a diverse and inclusive work environment that reflects our communities. Marker will continue to seek talented associates that can bring their true authentic selves to work each day. We will support and encourage our current associates who may not be showing up as their true selves because they are unsure if they will be welcomed. Marker will continue to ask for help from our community as our journey will not be successful without the help of our community.

What advice do you have for similar organizations who are embarking on their DEIA Journey?

Ask for help. We partnered with the Columbus Chamber of Commerce to help us with our journey. There are multiple organizations that can help. Also, look to your trade associations for assistance as well. Stay committed – make sure that your organization is genuinely committed to fostering a diverse and inclusive workplace culture. This commitment should be communicated consistently to its employees. And remember, doing the right thing is not always easy. You will have challenges but, remember, nothing in life that is worthwhile is easy.


Marker, Inc. is a full-service women-owned commercial construction firm dedicated to revolutionizing the industry through progressive and forward-thinking leadership. With a family legacy spanning three generations since 1956, Marker is recognized for our relational approach to prioritizing people above all else.

Marker delivers comprehensive services in development, architecture, and construction. We proudly serve a diverse range of public and private clients in various markets across Ohio, including multifamily/mixed use, industrial, civic, healthcare, and education. Our vision is clear: to be a thriving organization celebrated for our strong leadership, exceptional team, and unwavering dedication to our associates, clients, and our communities.

We proudly hold national certification as a Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE) by the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC). This certification highlights our commitment to promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion within the construction industry. It is a testament to our dedication to show representation of women leadership to our associates, clients, and partners. We strive to cultivate an inclusive, empathetic, and ever-evolving company culture in which everyone feels valued, respected, and empowered to embrace their authentic selves.

Alison Marker, President + CEO

Alison Marker, Marker’s President and CEO, is a compassionate and visionary leader dedicated to making Marker one of Ohio’s most diverse and inclusive commercial contractors. With a background in psychotherapy, Alison brings a unique perspective to our company’s culture and growth. She champions pay equity, advancements, and increased visibility for women, ensuring they have a place at the table. Alison’s deep care for people and belief in their potential drives her every day. She envisions Marker as a catalyst for progress, leaving a lasting impact on the construction industry and landscape.

Sherrice Thomas 
Vice President of Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Access