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Female-owned, minority-operated construction company selected for Progressive Field upgrades

Posted at 11:18 AM, Dec 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-12-15 11:18:58-05

CLEVELAND — The Guardians have been active this winter as the MLB hot stove heats up, and soon enough, work will begin on a multi-million-dollar upgrade at Progressive Field.

Additionally, the team announced that a local minority and female-owned company, the AKA Team, has been selected to serve as an additional Associate Construction Manager as part of the project.

Ariane Kirkpatrick has built her company from the ground up. In 2009, she founded the AKA Team which she intended to be a legacy company that is female-owned and minority operated.

“AKA is my son Alli, my son Kris with a K and myself Ariane,” Kirkpatrick said. “ It’s AKA team. That’s the family that we’ve built among all of our employees. Our whole team. I’ve really built an inclusive company as far as minorities, gender.”

The overhaul to the ballpark, which opened in 1994, was approved as part of a new 15-year lease agreement extension with the club that was finalized in January, keeping the team in Cleveland through at least the 2036 season with two five-year options that could run through 2046.

Having the opportunity to have her company involved in a project like the ballpark renovation is an opportunity that Kirkpatrick said only comes along once. It’s a milestone she never could have dreamed of for her company when it first started.

“When I was a little girl, my mother and father listened to the baseball game on the radio almost every day,” Kirkpatrick said. “We’re just embedded in the whole sports arena here in Cleveland. To be a part of it, The AKA team part of the Guardians team, that’s massive.

“This company was started with 17 cents in my pocket,” she continued. “For me to be able to hire a team and give them the economic growth they need for their families is important. That’s the real reward.”

The AKA Team will help transform the retro-classic ballpark and upgrade it into the 21st-century of sports stadiums. The renovation of Progressive Field will include a transformation of left field, including the Terrace Club, re-imagining the upper concourse, eliminating the massive crates in the right field upper deck and building a more engaging social space as well as extensive clubhouse, service level and executive office building renovations.

“Being a minority female construction company is not easy,” Kirkpatrick said. "Many times, people look and say ‘oh are they are a real company? Is her husband running it? What does she know about construction?'”

As good as Kirkpatrick’s team is at constructing new buildings, it’s just as accomplished at building a community.

“I’m giving my team the opportunity to take their children to a game and say ‘I built this. I put this seat in. I painted this,’” Kirkpatrick said. “When we drive past, and we see the projects that we put our hands on, where we put our logistics on, where we put our strategies, where our tradesmen and women our putting our hands on and building, it makes you so proud.”

The renovations at Progressive Field won’t begin until after the 2023 baseball season. The project is part of a public-private partnership that will help generate the $200 million for the improvements to the ballpark.

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