Case #2153.0

The Massport Model: Integrating Diversity and Inclusion into Public-Private Partnerships

Publication Date: March 3, 2019
Current Stock:

Educator Access

A review copy of this case is available free of charge to educators and trainers. Please create an account or sign in to gain access to this material.

Permission to Reprint

Each purchase of this product entitles the buyer to one digital file and use. If you intend to distribute, teach, or share this item, you must purchase permission for each individual who will be given access. Learn more about purchasing permission to reprint.

On May 22, 2018, executives from the Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport), along with Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker and Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, gathered in the Seaport District of South Boston for a groundbreaking ceremony to celebrate the start of construction on a new hotel in Boston’s Seaport District. The hotel, when completed in early 2021, would be the fourth largest in the state. “Today marks more than just a groundbreaking,” said Mayor Walsh. “It’s a celebration of the diversity and inclusion this project represents from its design, to its contracting, to its nonprofit partners,” he said, referring to the process that Massport, the land’s owner, had undertaken to select a developer for the hotel. Massport required that bidders incorporate diversity and inclusion (D&I) plans into their bids and announced that the plans would be considered alongside more traditional evaluation criteria such as building design, construction experience, and financial capabilities.

The move was so unusual that some in the Boston development community doubted Massport was serious about giving so much weight—25%—to bidders’ D&I plans. Nevertheless, at the groundbreaking of the $550 million hotel, Massport CEO Thomas Glynn told a Boston Business Journal reporter that Massport intended to use the new selection model for future projects. Indeed, Massport Board of Directors Vice Chair L. Duane Jackson wanted public agencies throughout Boston and New England to adopt the model. But some in the development community were skeptical: could this selection model work outside of Massport? Or even outside of the Seaport District?

This case details how Massport designed and implemented a new bidder selection model designed to demonstrate and advance its commitment to diversity and inclusion.

Learning Objective:
The case is designed to facilitate a live, in-class discussion to help students understand the challenges of crafting and implementing a diversity and inclusion requirement within a multi-stakeholder public-private partnership. Students assess the tradeoffs, consequences, and benefits for each stakeholder.


Other Details

Teaching Plan:
Available with Educator Access
Case Author:
Laura Winig
Faculty Lead:
Robert W. Livingston
Pages (incl. exhibits):
United States
Funding Source:
Joseph B. Tompkins, Jr. Fund for Case Study and Research