Marshall M. Herman 804-692-2134
March 17, 2017
“ROAD WORK AHEAD” TRAINING SYMPOSIUM PROPELS DBE FIRMS
The Virginia Department of Transportation promotes partnerships to create contract opportunities
Richmond, Va. – More than 300 people attended the 2017 Virginia Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Transportation Training Symposium, “Road Work Ahead,” hosted by the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) and the Transportation DBE Advisory Committee on March 8 and 9. DBE firms were provided the chance to learn about trends and best practices of the transportation industry, and develop and advance valuable partnerships.
Taking place at the Greater Richmond Convention Center, the two-day event offered educational workshops and networking opportunities for over 70 DBE firms and about 25 prime contractors and consultants that will lead to more work on highway-related contracts in the future.
Using the online matchmaking tool on the Symposium website, DBEs were able to pair themselves with the most promising business prospects and make appointments with the appropriate prime contractors and consultants. The aim was to provide the DBE community an encouraging and supportive environment to research and lock-in contracts that will allow their companies to grow.
VDOT has a proven track record of assisting DBEs as well as Small, Women-owned, and Minority-owned Businesses. To receive DBE certification, they must be approved by the Virginia Department of Small Business and Supplier Diversity, with gross receipts not exceeding an annual average of $23.98 million over the firm’s previous three fiscal years. Further support is provided by VDOT’s Business Opportunity and Workforce Development center, which offers various relevant classes, including how to estimate costs and bid, operate QuickBooks, and safety and human resources training, to name a few.
The DBE Awards Program held on March 9 recognized the following firms for outstanding performance and participation in the DBE Program:
- DBE Supplier of the Year, Old Dominion Electrical Supply, Inc.
- DBE Consultant of the Year, GeoConcepts Engineering, Inc.
- DBE Contractor of the Year, J. R. Caskey, Inc.
- DBE Transportation of Materials of the Year, Jireh Trucking, Inc.
- DBE Safety Record of the Year, J. R. Caskey, Inc.
- DBE Trailblazer, Ramirez Contracting L. L. C.
- Prime Contractor, SKW Constructors
- Prime Consultant, HNTB
Prominent keynote speakers – including, Ron Busby (President/CEO of the US Black Chambers, Inc.), Dr. Melvin Gravely (President and CEO of TriVersity Construction and Founder of the Institute for Entrepreneurial Thinking), and Art Jackson (professional speaker and executive coach) – gave insightful tips on bolstering DBEs even further.
“All DBEs want is the opportunity to compete for contracts fairly,” said Deputy Secretary of Transportation Grindly Johnson. “Since the start of the DBE program, the Transportation DBE Advisory Committee and the Virginia Department of Transportation have actively rallied behind DBE firms to ensure they receive the most advantageous opportunities to secure profitable contracts in the industry.”
VDOT Commissioner Charles Kilpatrick expressed the same level of commitment: “We’re proud to assist the Transportation DBE Advisory Committee in facilitating growth and business opportunities for DBE firms in Virginia through this event. These businesses play an important role in transportation projects across the Commonwealth, and are at the heart of our mission to Keep Virginia Moving.”
The Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Program is a U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) platform that was established to ensure that firms owned by minorities, women and other socially and economically disadvantaged persons have an equal opportunity to participate in federally assisted projects.
The objectives of the DBE Program are:
- To ensure nondiscrimination in the award and administration of Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) assisted contracts.
- To create a level playing field on which DBEs can compete fairly for FHWA assisted contracts.
- To ensure the DBE Program is narrowly tailored in accordance with applicable law.
- To ensure that only firms that fully meet 49 Code of Federal Regulations, Part 26 eligibility standards are permitted to participate as DBEs.
- To help remove barriers to the participation of DBEs in FHWA assisted contracts.
- To assist the development of firms that can compete successfully in the marketplace outside of the DBE Program.
- To provide appropriate flexibility to recipients of federal financial assistance in establishing and providing opportunities for DBEs.
Information in VDOT news releases was accurate at the time the release was published. For the most current information about projects or programs, please visit the project or program Web pages. You may find those by searching by keyword in the search Virginia DOT box above.