Who feels 2019 has gone by lightning quick? We certainly do, especially with the Infrastructure Investor New York Summit – our last conference of the year – just around the corner. As we get ready to turn the Big Apple into the capital of all things infrastructure, here are three moments we are looking forward to next week.
DJ Gribbin on fixing US infrastructure
The industry veteran – founder of consultancy Madrus and now a senior operating partner at Stonepeak Infrastructure Partners – was once President Donald Trump’s infrastructure advisor. In that capacity, he helped mastermind the White House’s $1.5 trillion infrastructure plan, which proposed using $200 billion in federal spending over a decade to entice state and local governments as well as the private sector to invest in infrastructure. Gribbin advocated using public-private partnerships as part of the plan too.
Alas, while much excitement was generated when the plan was first trumpeted, it soon became evident that the administration had other priorities. At the time of Gribbin’s departure, former Build America Bureau head Martin Klepper, now chairman of Fengate Real Asset Investments’ US infrastructure business, suggested Gribbin “probably recognised the $20 billion-a-year programme the federal government was proposing is a fraction of what’s needed”. Klepper should know, as he worked with Gribbin on the plan.
Next week, we’ll get to hear from Gribbin himself about his time at the White House, as well as his thoughts on rebuilding US infrastructure. We really hope he brings this flow chart too!
Doing it the Angela Miller-May way
The chief investment officer of the $11 billion Chicago Teachers’ Pension Fund is nothing if not outspoken.
Last June, Angela Miller-May made headlines when she passed over heavyweight managers Blackstone and Brookfield Asset Management, partly because of diversity concerns. “Blackstone and Brookfield are still challenged with some diversity issues,” she told us at the time. “And while they’re working on it, they’re just not there yet.”
Since then, the pension has committed $25 million to Brookfield Infrastructure Fund IV, with Miller-May saying she could “see a difference” in the firm’s diversity efforts. But she had a harsh judgement for the asset class as a whole: “It’s hard to find a diverse manager in infrastructure.”
Miller-May genuinely walks the walk, having boosted CTPF’s total assets with minority-, women- and persons with disabilities-owned managers from 33 percent to 44 percent. In a July cover interview, she told us the pension’s commitment to diversity stemmed from a desire to be representative of Chicago’s teachers, adding: “We have always believed that the best ideas come from diverse perspectives and experiences.”
Women in Infrastructure North America 2.0
Sticking with the diversity theme, we have been running a series of very successful Women in Infrastructure events for several years now. The latest London event – now expanded to a wider Women in Private Markets conference – had its most successful year in 2019, with more than 600 attendees. Read the key takeaways here.
In North America, the second Women in Infrastructure event will take place on the afternoon of 4 December.
“Everyone can play a part in creating a more inclusive culture,” Brenda Trenowden, a partner at PwC and global co-chair of the 30% Club, told attendees at our recent London event. “It doesn’t just come from the top.”
We look forward to playing our part in fostering that inclusivity.
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