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EDC Matches 200 Small Businesses with $5 Billion In Transportation Industry Procurement Opportunities

(l. to r.; MTA Manager Michael D. Madden, Governor's Office of Minority Affairs Director of Communications Alison Tavik, PGCEDC President and CEO Jim Coleman, PGCEDC Business Development Director John Mason, MWAA Department of Contracts and Procurement Deputy Manager Kathy Ruhl, MDOT Special Investigations Manager Michael D. Smith, MWAA Office of Supply Chain Management Vice President Julia Hodge and MWAA Department of Supplier Diversity Manager Richard Gordon)Largo, MD, June 27, 2016 - Today, over 200 local companies packed the Prince George's County Economic Development Corporation's headquarters (EDC) as top executives from the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA), the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT), the Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) and the Governor's Office of Minority Affairs (GOMA) gave specific details on how to prepare for and tap into the $5 billion in procurement opportunities available through these agencies. The EDC's Transportation Industry Procurement Opportunity Day provided local businesses with specific contracting opportunities available, including bid solicitations and procurement forecasts, as well as direction on how to submit bids on those lucrative contracts.

"I want these businesses to close deals and win contracts. The EDC is on the forefront of bringing our agencies and businesses together. When we do that, it creates jobs. These businesses will put our residents to work to satisfy the needs of these agencies," said EDC President and CEO Jim Coleman. "Thanks to County Executive Rushern Baker's leadership and the commitment of our existing businesses, we have created over 9,000 jobs in Prince George's County over the last year. We're on fire! But this is no time for cooling off.  No EDC in the region is this aggressive at matchmaking.  That's one of the best things we can do and it doesn't cost us another dime. It just requires a great team and effective collaboration with our partners in these agencies."
Stacey Cobbs, Principal of Crowned Grace International, was excited about the IT opportunities presented by MWAA and was pleased at being able to connect with agency representatives in person. "I appreciate how the EDC brings in the agency representatives that present specific opportunities. The EDC brings people with actual opportunities to talk to us and tell us what we specifically have to do," said Cobbs. "We can reach out and touch these people and make the connections on the spot. That's exciting, because as small businesses our resources are small."
Today's Transportation Industry Procurement Opportunity Day is an integral part of the EDC's 'Activate Prosperity' initiative; an aggressive three-year plan designed to rapidly grow Prince George's County businesses by connecting them with valuable resources and programs; thereby creating more jobs for County residents. 
A team of executives from the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA) presented information on various upcoming contracting opportunities including the $1 billion expansion of Reagan National Airport. The project includes a security checkpoint relocation, a new commuter concourse, roadway improvements and various technology enhancements.

At this morning's event, officials announced that the contractor for the project will be announced on July 5th and encouraged businesses to look out for that announcement. 

"There is significant money to be had, said Bradley Mims, Co-Chair of the Dulles Corridor Committee, MWAA Board of Directors. "Keep your eyes on what's going on. You have to go to that second tier company. You have got to drill down and see what you can offer those companies.  Don't hesitate to contact those companies.  Be aggressive."
Kathy Ruhl, Deputy Manager of the Department of Contracts and Procurement for MWAA shared the types of contracts available for these projects, including goods and services, design and construction and simplified acquisitions. Ruhl also presented the types of solicitations offered by MWAA, MWAA's step-by step procurement process and she offered suggestions on how to create an effective bid proposal. 

Ruhl also cautioned businesses to understand the requirements, demonstrate their firm's capability to perform, provide current and relevant references, know their competition, estimate costs realistically and follow the submission requirements.  Ruhl encouraged business owners to refer to mwaa.com/contracting for the most up-to-date contracting opportunties.
Michael Madden, Manager from the Maryland Transit Administration, shared details on the much anticipated Purple Line project and how businesses can take advantage of the $2 billion allotted to design and build the rail line over the next six years and another $3.6 billion budgeted to maintain the line over the following 30 years. 
Wendell Point, DBE/MBE Program Manager and Purple Line Concessionaire shared a list of bid opportunities for companies that perform work such as hauling, demolition, saw-cutting, asbestos-abatement, landscaping and fencing.
To take advantage of these opportunities, Point stressed the importance of being DBE (disadvantaged business enterprise) certified in Maryland and offered advice on the bid process. "Be specific on what your company does," said Point. "We like to peel back the onion to find out what the company can actually perform." 
Alison Tavik, Director of Communications from the Governor's Office of Minority Affairs offered guidance on levering certification to secure procurement opportunities and recommended that businesses attend pre-bid meeting to get ahead.

"Nothing beats a handshake and pre-bid meetings are the place to do it," said Tavik. "Also meet the state agency personnel who are managing the contract.  Begin to build a relationship. You want the small stuff as well as the big stuff. Know the difference between big procurement and low-hanging fruit.  Go after the $10,000 bid. You must get out from behind the desk and come to events like this and learn that there is opportunities for you."
Kim Drew-Kelly, owner of Emmannuel Logistics said that she found a fit for her services particularly in the Purple Line and Reagan National projects. "We're just starting out. We saw ourselves in every presentation. Where we can fit in.  How we can position ourselves as a third tier subcontractor," said Kelly. "You hear about the opportunities in the county, but this is the proof. We're seeing that the opportunities are there, even for the small companies like me."

"The Purple Line is about to break ground, the Silver Line Extension is just around the corner, and now Reagan National is expanding its terminal," said John Mason, EDC Business Development Director. "Billions of dollars in projects are on the table and the EDC is making sure our county businesses are first in line to get a crack at these jobs."
Chef JR Robinson, owner of Kitchen Cray and former competitor on Hell's Kitchen provided breakfast for the guests. The event was also sponsored by NAI Michael Companies and Berman Enterprises.

Coleman used the occasion to announce a new game-changing partnership between the EDC and the Prince George's County Public Schools called P-TECH, Pathways in Technology Early College High School. The program offers free high school, college and professional mentoring to students grades 9 through 14 focused on the knowledge and skills students need for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) careers.

Coleman appealed to business owners in attendance to become mentors, which includes providing the students with real-life work experience through internships. He challenged 25 to volunteer. More than 30 completed forms of interest on the spot.

Any business interested in becoming a P-TECH mentor should contact Tara Anderson, Prince George's County Public Schools Business Liaison at tara.anderson@pgcps.org or 301-669-6012, ext. 45595.
The next EDC event will be the 'Embassy of South Africa Mutual Briefing' on July 21, 2016 and will connect businesses with key officials and experts from the Embassy of South Africa, the U.S. Department of Commerce and the Maryland Department of Commerce who will present lucrative business opportunities in South Africa. Attendees will also receive an exclusive preview of Prince George's County's planned trade mission to South Africa. The event will be from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at 1801 McCormick Drive, Suite 140, Largo, MD 20772.

Free admission and parking will be provided. All attendees for these exclusive events must RSVP www.pgcedc.com/events or to Nicole Edwards at 301-583-4650. Sponsorship opportunities are available.  Contact Nichelle Holmes at naholmes@co.pg.md.us or 301-583-4621.