Sometimes as a public relations professional, you get lucky. This is what happened for me at BIW when we won a project earlier this year to provide the company’s Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) collaboration platform for the design and construction of the Seattle, WA, headquarters of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the charitable organisation set up by former Microsoft CEO Bill Gates to devote much of his wealth to innovations in health and learning aimed towards ending global inequalities.
This is one of BIW’s first major projects in north America, and was one against stiff competition from US-based providers, including a system used on the preceding parking garage project. All well and good, but then it got even better, due to some fortuitous timing. We got approval to issue the release the same week that Gates stepped down from day-to-day involvement with Microsoft. This prompted lots of Gates coverage in the IT and mainstream press, and – for a change – BIW’s media coverage was no longer solely restricted to the construction trade press. This time, we’ve had pieces in the mainstream IT press (Computing – Gates Foundation signs UK SaaS provider – and Computer Weekly – Bill Gates buys UK software) and even a jokey piece in The Times – Just like Taking Coals to Newcastle.