American DBE Magazine Winter 2016

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From the Publisher

2016 – A Year of Leadership


have long believed that skilled, passionate, and courageous leadership is the key determinant of success in the DBE Program. This is true for all stakeholders in the program. It takes leadership from minority and women business owners who strive daily to run an excellent enterprise. It takes the leadership of transportation agency executives and program administrators to carry out the full intent of the DBE Program. It takes leadership from concessionaires, contractors, and consultants to execute an honest “good faith effort” to run a DBE program of integrity. And it takes the leadership of federal and state officials to provide oversight and guidance of the program to maximize opportunities for DBE firms to succeed in the transportation industry. Let’s make 2016 a year of leadership. Regardless of the role you play in the industry—as a DBE firm, prime, agency, federal official, or supplier—you can be a leader in making the program more successful. This issue of American DBE Magazine recognizes and highlights leadership in the DBE community. Miguel Southwell, Aviation General Manager of the Hartsfield Jackson International Airport, is a true leader in this industry. Although he runs the busiest airport in the world, Southwell understands his duty to continue the legacy of leadership for the Atlanta airport regarding opportunities for DBE firms. Similarly, Airport Director Chris Curry is building a legacy of inclusion at the Tallahassee International Airport. Curry is a champion of creating opportunities for minorities and women at his airport as it enters a new season of growth and development. American DBE congratulates and profiles Greg Johnson, P.E., the newly appointed State Highway Administrator in the state of Maryland. Johnson moves to Maryland after a distinguished career in Michigan. Johnson is a longstanding supporter of the DBE Program and expects to continue his leadership at the Maryland State Highway Administration. This issue highlights Phase 1 of LA Metro’s Purple Line Extension project. The Skanska-Traylor-Shea joint venture has teamed with Metro to lead the project’s success in expanding transportation for citizens of the Los Angeles Area and for DBE firms seeking business in the region. We also highlight the work


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of the Arizona DOT’s Business Engagement and Compliance Office (BECO). Director Dr. Vivien Lattibeaudiere has led BECO to new heights since reorganizing the office in 2012. This issue profiles the leadership of ACDBE firm Ewing-Dunn of Charlotte and DBE firm Rohadfox Construction Control Services of Atlanta. Both firms are led by women executives and have exemplified the longevity and excellence needed to stand the test of time and thrive in the transportation industry. Finally, this issue applauds the leadership of Congress and the Obama Administration for diligently working toward and approving the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act that will provide $305 billion in funding over the next five years and opportunities for DBE firms to contribute to improving transportation in our country. As mentioned earlier, effective leadership requires the skill of having expert knowledge of one’s industry and expertise in leading others. But skill is not enough; it also takes the kind of infectious passion that makes others believe in striving to reach a worthwhile vision—and also takes the courage to make uncomfortable or unpopular decisions and lead others through challenging situations. All of the leaders profiled in this issue demonstrate these traits and offer positive examples from which we all can learn. Enjoy! Best wishes, Shelton A. Russell, Publisher American DBE Magazine

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Winter 2016 Volume 4, Issue 1 Publisher: Shelton A. Russell Managing Editors: PR PROS, LLC Creative Director: BRANDilly MC Digital Media: Premier Web Design Solutions Editorial: Peggy Beach Roberta McCullough Cynthia Jones Parks Charlene J. Reynolds Philip D. Russell Shelton A. Russell Jordan Taylor

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About American DBE Magazine: American DBE Magazine is the premier industry resource for individuals and stakePublicRelationsCopywritingSocialMediaManagementCrisisCommunica holders who work within the federal ConnectDisadvantaged Blog Link Pin Hangout Share—REPEAT—Post Post Tweet Email Blog Pin Hangout Share—REPEAT— TweetPublish Publish EmailConnect Connect BlogLink Link Pin Hangout Share Business Enterprises program administration. American DBE MagocialMediaManagementCrisisCommunicationsMediaCoachingBrandEnhancementMediaMonitoringDigitalMedia azine is published quarterly and distributed PublicRelationsCopywritingSocialMediaManagementCrisisCommunicationsM in all 50 states—plus Puerto Rico and the Post Tweet Publish Email Connect Blog Link Pin Hangout Share—REPEA U.S. Virgin Islands—to DBE program administrators, business owners, and proPublicRelationsCopywritingSocialMediaManagementCrisisCommunicationsMediaCoachingBrandEnhancement PublicRelationsCopywritingSocialMed fessionals in the Aviation, Highway Construction, and Public Transit industries.

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U.S. Department of Transportation Small Business Transportation Resource Center

South Atlantic Region North Carolina • Kentucky • Virginia • West Virginia 114 W. Parrish Street | Durham, NC 27701 | For additional information regarding program services and support contact: Kaye Gantt, Regional Director at (919) 956-2341 | F: (919) 688-7668 |

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How We Help • Bonding Education Program • Women & Girls in Transportation Initiative • DBE Certifications • Procurement Assistance • Short Term Lending Program • Counseling and Technical Assistance

DBE Power Players: Rohadfox Construction Control Services Corporation

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Tallahassee International Airport Promoting Inclusion





Maryland Governor Appoints Johnson as State Highway Administrator L.A. Metro Purple Line Extends Opportunity


Hartsfield-Jackson Airport Built by a Legacy of Leadership

American Contract Compliance Association ACCA Certification Helps Advance Careers



FAST Act Offers Certainty and Opportunity for DBEs



Arizona DOT’s BECO Takes DBE Program to a Higher Level

Rohadfox Construction Control Services Corporation

President Joy Rohadfox is a Chip Off the Old Block



Mutual Respect Leads to 30-Year Business Partnership


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Beware of Branding your Business as a DBE

Health Care

Small Business and Health Care

Workers Comp

The State of your Workers Compensation Insurance


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Smart Runway System Goes to Market NAMC Sets Sights on DBE Program Compliance Bonding Education Program has DBEs Ready for Action Winter 2016 Calendar of Events // winter 2016



Tallahassee International Airport Promotes Inclusion The Director of Aviation, Chris Curry, has big plans for Tallahassee International Airport (TLH); and he wants to ensure that those plans include opportunities for minorities and women. By American DBE Staff

Computer rendering of Tallahassee International Airport’s $10.5 million Terminal Renovation. The project will update the interior of the terminal and has achieved 24.5 percent DBE participation.


he Director of Aviation, Chris Curry, has big plans for Tallahassee International Airport (TLH); and he wants to ensure that those plans include opportunities for minorities and women. In 2015, the airport received approval from the Federal Aviation Administration to become an international airport and has started initial planning for the construction of an international arrivals facility. The new facility will allow TLH to land aircraft arriving from around the world. In addition, the airport recently broke


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ground on the $10.5 million “Terminal Modernization Project.” This project will completely overhaul the interior of the airport to improve passenger flow and make the airport more appealing to the public. “The idea behind this was not only to significantly improve this facility but also bring some identity,” Curry said. Curry champions the importance of creating business opportunities for Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBEs) at TLH and sees the terminal modernization project as a good

opportunity. During the bidding process, the airport challenged prime contractors to make a good faith effort to meet a 25.47 percent DBE goal, and the winning contractor submitted total DBE participation of 24.5 percent. Cook Brothers Inc., a construction management firm based in Tallahassee, was the winning contractor and submitted two DBE subcontractors in their bid package. Multitech Group Inc., a DBE-certified conveyor systems contractor, will install a new baggage handling system on the project; and Florida Developers, Inc.,

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met with a group of airport directors who were the discussing the question of ‘Where is the next generation of airport managers going to come from?’ Curry said, “We were reviewing ways to bring new potential candidates to the table. As a retired Air Force guy in air traffic control and an airport director, I am aware how few women and minorities are in the pipeline. I wanted the opportunity to expose this group to aviation.” Curry used this idea to create a partnership with the Florida A&M University (FAMU) School of Business to establish an internship program. The program offers students the opportunity to work at the Tallahassee airport during their summer vacation. As the first program of its kind in the country, Curry hopes the Tallahassee Airport-FAMU Internship program will become a model for other airports to follow. Airport Director Chris Curry has promoted diversity and inclusion in contracting and hiring during his tenure at the Tallahassee International Airport

a DBE-certified general contractor, will provide demolition and interior finishes. “We wanted to make sure this project included DBE contractors, and our prime did a good job of reaching out to include diverse firms,” Curry said. Success on the Terminal Modernization Project will help lay the groundwork for other projects coming up in the future. TLH has several upcoming projects FAMU Student Nahshon Deering including the South Apron was the first participant in TLH’s Rehabilitation project, internship program. The program Security Checkpoint is a partnership between FAMU Improvements, and and TLH to introduce minority and women students to the aviation Upgrades to the Life Safety System. In addition, once industry. financing is solidified, the airport will begin design and construction of the new international arrivals facility, which is expected to cost approximately $8.5 million, including construction and staffing costs. All of these projects should offer additional opportunities for DBE firms in the Tallahassee area. Curry also has promoted diversity at TLH by making a commitment to increase inclusion of minorities working in the aviation industry. Curry developed the idea for an internship program after attending the Airport Minority Advisory Council’s annual conference in 2014. During the conference he


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The program kicked off in the summer of 2015, with the first intern completing an eight-week internship. Nahshon Deering, a 19-year-old FAMU student, got a chance to experience the work life of a manager at an international airport. Deering, a facilities management major, spent his summer rotating through the airport’s key operations areas. He experienced everything from assessing airport security threat levels, to understanding financial controls and business operations. Deering said, “Internships like this are vital. The hands-on experience makes everything so much more vivid than what you get from books or lectures. It helps you decide what you can see yourself doing for the rest of your life.” Curry is optimistic that the airport’s efforts to create opportunities for DBE firms and for the next generation of airport professionals will continue to yield successful results. As the airport continues on its trend of growth and expansion, he knows that both a quality pool of airport contractors and a quality pool of airport professionals will be a crucial component of lasting success. Curry said, “Our airport is a key economic driver in the Tallahassee area and the Florida panhandle region. As such, it is important for us to make sure our contractors, vendors, and workforce are representative of the community we serve. I believe our efforts are doing just that.”

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COMTO is excited to host the annual Celebrating Women Who Move the Nation awards breakfast, honoring women who have made strides in their fields within the transportation industry. Tickets and sponsorship opportunities are still available. Visit for more information.



maryland governor appoints gregory johnson as State Highway Administrator In September 2015, Johnson was tapped by Maryland Governor Larry Hogan to become the Maryland State Highway Administrator. By American DBE Staff provide smart and business friendly transportation solutions throughout Maryland,” Governor Hogan said. “We now have two national transportation experts in Transportation Secretary Pete Rahn and Administrator Johnson, and their experience will help our state successfully complete the $1.97 billion in road and bridge projects just announced and more than $8 billion in highway projects during the next six years.”

Gregory Johnson, P.E. was appointed Administrator of the Maryland State Highway Administration in September 2015 after an extensive career at the Michigan Department of Transportation (Credit: Michigan D.O.T.)


regory Johnson, P.E. has built a distinguished career as a civil engineer and administrator in the highway construction industry. Already, he has amassed 32 years of experience in managing and administering bridge and highway projects in the transportation industry. After beginning his career at the City of Battle Creek, Michigan in 1983, Johnson spent 25 years at the Michigan Department of Transportation, rising from an entry-level engineer to the second highest position in the agency. In September 2015, Johnson was tapped by Maryland Governor Larry Hogan to become the Maryland State Highway Administrator. “Mr. Johnson has spent his professional life in highway project delivery, and I am confident he is exactly the right person to


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Johnson is passionate about his career as a professional engineer and loves the process of taking highway and bridge projects from design to completion for the benefit of the traveling public. “I was trained as a structural engineer, but when I graduated from the University of Michigan in 1982, we were in a recession, so there were no jobs in building construction. I took a job in the Engineering Department at the City of Battle Creek and the majority of the work was with roads and bridges. Once I got a taste of it, I loved it and I knew I wanted to spend the rest of my career in this Industry. I have loved every job I have had so far,” Johnson said. He is equally passionate about the federal Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBE) Program and ensuring that the industry is inclusive of companies owned by minorities and women. Throughout his career, Johnson has demonstrated a commitment to mentoring DBE firms and advocating for the participation of DBEs in highway design and building projects. “As an African American, I have a passion and commitment for the inclusion of DBE firms in the transportation industry. In my role leading the State Highway Administration, I plan to pass that commitment and passion down through the organization. It’s more than a lukewarm commitment to me,” Johnson said. Johnson has also made the effort to provide DBE firms with

the insight and guidance necessary to succeed in the civil construction industry. He offers sage advice for firms seeking a career in the industry. “First, DBEs must have a solid financial plan and the financial backing to weather the storms that will come in business. Having a line of credit and the wherewithal to bring the financing to undertake highway projects is critical to success. They must have to have the ability to get financing, or have the financial reserves to grow a business in this industry. Sometimes they will have to wait for payment or have the financing to mobilize to complete the work. So they need some financial backing,” Johnson said. “Second, DBEs must understand that D.O.T. work is different from private or municipal projects. The requirements on a D.O.T. project can be very different. So they must have an understanding of how the D.O.T. does business. One of the first things a firm should do is to get a copy of the construction manual and construction specification so they can clearly understand the processes and expectations of the D.O.T.” Finally, Johnson said that having a strong, knowledgeable, and reliable work force is critical. Due to the specialized nature of highway work, DBEs must be committed to the highway industry and willing to invest in making sure they have skilled staff that will do the right things on a D.O.T. project, even when no one is watching. DBEs willing to heed Johnson’s advice can have high expectations of the Maryland State Highway Administration (MSHA) under his leadership. He said that DBEs can expect an open-door policy for DBEs to meet with him and gain access to the right people in the department to answer questions and provide information. He said firms can also expect the staff that works with the DBE program to be empowered to administer the program effectively and to be creative in finding ways to advance the program. “From a leadership perspective, I believe if I show commitment and passion for the DBE program, that others will see the importance we are placing on this effort.”

“SHA has 3,000 employees located at SHA facilities across Maryland, which include the Headquarters Complex in Baltimore City, the Hanover Complex in Anne Arundel County, seven District Offices, and 28 maintenance shops.” (Credit: Wikipedia “State Highway Administration Box” by Groupscale)

Johnson has hit the ground running since taking over in September. He has already met with DBE firms and started to lay out a vision for DBE success for the extensive amount of work coming up for the MSHA. “We are investing heavily in highway and bridges,” Johnson said. “Over the next 4 to 5 years, we will expend a lot of dollars on work to keep our system in great shape. We will be investing in things like asphalt overlays, bridge repairs, and putting in sidewalks. There are going to be ripe opportunities for existing DBEs to show what they can do, and for new DBEs to come into the market. I expect the DBE community to be at the table to help us get this work done successfully.”


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Metro Purple Line Extends Opportunity The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) is currently undertaking one of the largest series of transit development projects in America—with no end in sight—well into the next decade. By American DBE Staff


or decades, Los Angeles, California has been a dream destination for individuals desiring success and stardom in the movie, entertainment, and music industries. It’s a place that has launched countless careers for the rich and famous. However, Los Angeles hasn’t always been a place where Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBEs) in the transportation design and construction industry have gone to stake their claim on success; but fortunately, things are changing for the better, and DBEs looking for opportunity may soon reconsider pursuing their business goals and dreams in the City of Angels.

to give DBEs greater opportunities to work on Metro projects,” Smith said.

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) is currently undertaking one of the largest series of transit development projects in America—with no end in sight—well into the next decade. In November 2015, Metro broke ground on Section 1 of the Purple Line Extension. The project is one of three sections that will eventually extend rail service from downtown Los Angeles to Westwood, over nine miles away. The Purple Line Extension project will create significant employment and contracting opportunities during its construction, and current projections indicate the project will create 52,500 jobs and cost over $7.2 billion.

The recent groundbreaking means that Metro officially has five new rail projects under construction. In addition to Section 1 of the Purple Line Extension, two projects are scheduled to open in 2016 (Expo Line Phase 2 and Gold Line Foothill Extension), and two other projects (Crenshaw/LAX Line, Downtown L.A. Regional Connector) are scheduled to open in 2019 and 2020 respectively.

Metro Interim Executive Officer for Diversity & Economic Opportunity Tashai Smith believes these major projects, as well as renewed efforts by Metro to do business with DBEs, will offer a lot of opportunities for firms in the transit industry. “We have several large projects going on now; and we have developed a new mentor/protégé and small business prime contracting program


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Section 1 of the Purple Line Extension is now under construction and will lay a 3.9-mile subway extension from the current terminus near the intersection of Wilshire and Western Boulevard in the city of Los Angeles, to three new stations serving the cities of Los Angeles and Beverly Hills. The project is scheduled for completion in 2023, and Sections 2 and 3 are speculated to open in 2026 and 2035 respectively.

Metro selected the joint venture team of Skanska–Traylor-Shea (STS) to design/build Section 1 of the Purple Line Extension. The joint venture project team consists of Skanska USA Civil West California District Inc. (Skanska), Traylor Bros. Inc. (Traylor), and J.F. Shea Construction Inc. (Shea) in association with Parsons Transportation Group (Parsons) as lead designer and L.K. Comstock National Transit (Comstock) as systems design and installation subcontractor.

The joint venture team of Skanska-Traylor-Shea hosts Bootcamp training sessions for DBEs interested in working on Section 1 of the L.A. Metro Purple Line Extension (Credit: Skanska)

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L.A. Metro’s Purple Line Extension will be constructed in three sections with plans for completion by 2035. The project is expected to create 52,500 jobs and cost over $7.2 billion.

The project award about is near $1.6 billion, with $63 million for design and $1.5 billion for construction. STS is in the early stages of design on the project and expects to complete most of the design in 2016. Initial construction activities have started as well. Procurement Manager Lawrence Martocci said, “We have just started moving utilities, installing piles, excavating, and doing some site clearing now. We are still designing the project, but construction work will pick up later in 2016.”

Richardson developed a contractor “Boot Camp” program to educate prospective DBE subcontractors on the “Skanska way” of doing business. The Boot Camp program held its first series of classes in mid-2015 for nearly 30 companies interested in opportunities on the project. The two-month program met weekly and was facilitated by STS project team members and business professionals from the Los Angeles community, including a business financing seminar presented by representatives from Chase Bank.

STS has launched an aggressive effort to recruit, train, and vet DBE subcontractors to meet Metro’s DBE goals of 20.25 percent for design and 17 percent for construction on the project. Their efforts started during the project’s proposal process with an outreach meeting in November 2013, to introduce DBEs to the STS team and inform them about opportunities on the project. Once STS was awarded the project from Metro in 2014, the group launched a website to communicate with the DBE community and appointed Michael Richardson as the project’s EEO/DBE manager.

Richardson believes the Boot Camp program will be a key component of the STS team’s DBE program success on the project. “We are building a major footprint here and plan to have a longlasting positive impact on business in this area,” he said. Richardson thinks the Boot Camp will help increase the capacity of participating firms and will represent more than just a good faith effort made by STS to provide outreach to DBE firms. “We want to see the fruition of DBEs getting contracts… It’s a continual process with us, although we may not have an immediate opportunity for every firm, we are looking for opportunities down the road as well.”


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Martocci said, “I couldn’t be happier with how the boot camp turned out. We have already hired a handful of companies from the first class and we plan to offer it again at regular intervals so other firms can get involved.” Martocci also believes that the collaboration between his procurement functions and the DBE program administration increases STS’s probability of success on the project. “In many organizations the procurement team and the DBE Compliance staff are at separate ends of the hallway,” he said. “But by working together throughout the process, we are able to identify matchmaking opportunities for DBE firms much easier.” Primary contracting opportunities for DBEs already identified by Martocci include the furnishing and installation of concrete items, multiple shifts of dump truck operations, and the furnishing and installation of rebar. Alameda Construction Company, a DBE firm based in Compton, California, has already won several contracts to perform site-ready work on the project. The company has performed demolition work to remove an existing building, constructed an alley and approaches for

Along with the Boot Camp program, STS also plans other strategies to include DBE subcontractors in the project. One strategy is requiring the major subcontractors hired to complete large HVAC, electrical, and data systems contracts to also make a good faith effort to achieve the 17 percent DBE goal. Second, STS plans to take advantage of the incremental completion of portions of the project to consider smaller contracts for DBE firms. So while there may be millions of dollars in concrete work, trucking, or other services needed on the project, STS will look at the project’s schedule to determine if a smaller contract to a DBE firm will maintain the timeline for completion. Construction crews perform excavation work in Los Angeles to relocate underground electrical power utilities for Section 1 of the Purple Line Extension (Credit L.A. Metro/

the first station, taken out islands in the roadway, and paved a temporary parking lot. In addition, Alameda is currently working as a second-tier subcontractor to place concrete slurry for piles on the first station. Alameda President Kevin Ramsey believes participating in the Boot Camp program helped him better prepare for working with Skanska. “I really liked the Boot Camp program, especially learning from the Skanska people, because they taught us how to best get work with their company,” Ramsey said.

Richardson believes Section 1 of the Purple Line Extension Project has the ability to create some real DBE stars in the land of big dreams. “I would like to see a DBE firm grow so large during these projects that they no longer qualify for the program,” he said. “Wouldn’t that be beautiful?” Ramsey certainly agrees that it would be beautiful if his firm can be one of the companies that will grow larger through working on the project. “We plan to be there on the project the whole time if possible,” Ramsey said. While achieving these goals won’t result in a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, it certainly has the potential to create superstars in the DBE Program.

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HMSHost and Chip Joyner team up to bring The Real Chow Baby to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. A staple of the Atlanta restaurant scene since 2005, The Real Chow Baby partners with HMSHost to open its first concourse location at the world’s biggest airport. “HMSHost is a great company to work with. They were a mentor of mine for a number of years while I was coming up in the restaurant business. HMSHost has really been a fantastic partner,” says Chow Baby co-owner Chip Joyner. The Real Chow Baby offers a hearty menu of farm-fresh produce, meats and seasonal fish, sizzled in zesty Asian-inspired sauces. For more information, contact The Real Chow Baby co-owner Chip Joyner Joyner_SM.indd 1

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The main hall inside Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. It is the world's busiest airport by passenger traffic (Credit: Sean Pavone/

Atlanta’s Hartsfield-jackson Airport Built by a Legacy of Leadership By Jordan Taylor


sk any frequent traveler in the United States and they will tell you that no matter where you’re going, at some point, all roads—and flights—lead to Atlanta, Georgia; home of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, the busiest passenger airport in the world. In true testament to that inside joke, HartsfieldJackson reached a major milestone in 2015, providing service for 100 million passengers. Hartsfield-Jackson has a direct economic impact of more than $32.5 billion for the metro-Atlanta area economy. The airport is the largest employer in the state of Georgia, with more than 58,000 airline, ground transportation, concessionaire,


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security, federal government, City of Atlanta and airport tenant employees. The airport serves 150 U.S. destinations and more than 75 international destinations in 50 countries. On average, there are approximately 2,500 daily arrivals and departures, providing air travel for more than 250,000 passengers per day. Atlanta is within a two-hour flight of 80 percent of the United States population, making the airport not only a major transportation portal, but also a hub for dining, shopping, commerce, and attractions—and a popular travel/tourism stop between destinations. Overseeing it all is Mr. Miguel Southwell, Hartsfield-Jackson’s Aviation General Manager for the City of Atlanta.

Southwell is the former deputy director of business for Miami International Airport and four Miami-Dade County general aviation airports. During his 12-year tenure in Miami, he was responsible for generating more than $700 million in annual revenue from a wide variety of airport businesses. Prior to his service in Miami, Southwell spent 11 years at Hartsfield-Jackson in numerous leadership positions, including as interim assistant general manager for Business and Finance. He was named aviation general manager of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in May 2014 and has more than two decades of aviation management experience.

Recently, Southwell managed the conclusion of the airport’s food and beverage concessions expansion, one of the largest expansion projects in the global airport industry. He also is leading the Atlanta team in executing a master plan that will chart the course of airport development for the next 20 years. In addition, Southwell has set a list of priorities that include enhancing the guest experience at Hartsfield-Jackson, expanding air cargo capacity, building a robust, job-creating international air service development program and several other initiatives—all aimed at strengthening the airport’s impact on the economy and making Hartsfield-Jackson an even larger force in the global aviation market. Southwell only recently returned to Atlanta, within the past two years. But, his grand vision began decades ago, as the youngest of 12 children born on the tiny island of Antigua; in the village of English Harbour. The village was home to an international yachting harbor with many visitors from Europe and North America docking in the harbor during winter months. Growing up, those international visitors and surroundings are what first sparked his interest in all things international, along with a fierce curiosity about what was happening in other places around the world. Southwell completed high school in Antigua, where he also met his wife, and then relocated to the United States in 1976. His first role as a professional was in the world of banking, where he applied and was hired as a roving bank teller. Within the span of a decade, he ascended the corporate ranks to become a regional assistant vice president, overseeing 16 bank branches. Early on, the Southwells planned to venture into entrepreneurship and create an import/export company, shipping perishable items from the U.S. to the Caribbean. At the time, there were no flights from Atlanta to the Caribbean or Latin America, so they began working to fill that void in the transportation marketplace by launching a new airline. Shortly thereafter, the Atlanta airport added more international flights, so Southwell went in a different direction. A professional mentor guided him onto a management track in the aviation industry, and he never looked back.

Legacy and Leadership Atlanta’s airport has a long and storied history, bolstered in part by a strong legacy of leadership—especially as it relates to minority business participation and advocacy for the Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBE) program and Airport Concessions Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (ACDBE) program. From its humble beginnings as a restored airstrip and racetrack in the 1920s, the airport has grown and thrived, in particular through the contributions of the late William B. Hartsfield and Maynard H. Jackson—two former Atlanta mayors and the airport namesakes—who both led

Miguel Southwell, Aviation General Manager of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport leads an airport that has a direct economic impact of more than $32.5 billion for the metro-Atlanta economy. (Credit Atlanta Airport)

“He also is leading the Atlanta team in executing a master plan that will chart the course of airport development for the next 20 years.” the city and the airport through tremendous times of social and economic change during their respective tenure. Southwell said that the airport has seen longevity in its successful growth because of a history of strong leadership and advocacy. “We’ve done many things well here in Atlanta,” he said. “Maynard Jackson [Atlanta’s first African American mayor] championed the DBE and ACDBE programs. That legacy has continued through current mayor [Kasim] Reed, who is equally passionate about ensuring inclusion and diversity at all levels.” Southwell shared results from the airport’s recent $5 billion construction project, where 31 percent of costs incurred went to businesses that were minority or women-owned. He said the DBE and ACDBE programs have thrived because of advocacy and proactive outreach by airport leadership, noting that announcements of opportunity are channeled into all segments of the community to make sure the airport business development programs not only share information, but also help to build capacity by providing training and advice for companies pursuing airport contracts.

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Exterior view of the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. The airport has a long legacy of providing opportunities for DBE firms in the Atlanta area. (Credit: Atlanta Airport)

Southwell said that one of the greatest challenges many small businesses face is their limitation in terms of bonding capacity. He said that as part of the airport’s capital program, a consultant was hired just to work on the construction program and to make sure notices of opportunity are properly published and promoted, and that various types of training are made available. “At the end of the day, we believe that we can’t just address the current capacity that we have. We have to work with educational institutions to make sure that minorities and women are being developed so that we can continue to build capacity for programs in the future,” he said. Southwell said that the process is very clear and straightforward for any company seeking business opportunities with the airport. He advised business owners to be responsive to bid notices and to express interest by introducing their core skills and service capabilities. “If they do have an interest, there is a group of people who want to hear from them. That’s all it takes,” he said. Companies reaching out to the airport’s DBE and ACDBE program offices are entered into a system where they will begin to receive notices about projects coming up over a 6-month period. He encouraged potential contractors to attend bid meetings and to


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take advantage of insurance and bonding mentoring and training activities. He said, “We don’t want to be processors of a program, we really want to be advocates for the program. If we’re able to do those things, then the airport will have fulfilled its obligation to grow the wealth of the people here in Atlanta, as well as create jobs for the people of Atlanta.” According to Southwell, much of the growth seen in the past year is from originating passengers—people who are coming to Atlanta as a destination. He said, “To the extent that there are increased numbers of passengers passing through the airport, we have an opportunity to promote this amazing destination.” Increasing passenger numbers also positively affect hotels, local attractions, and restaurants; and business travelers impressed by Atlanta’s vibrancy may return to examine the potential for doing business. As Aviation General Manager, Southwell’s day-to-day responsibilities center around monitoring and achieving a series of goals for the airport, including revenue projections, employee job fulfillment, and building an overall experience to delight customers. Southwell said that the airport’s first obligation is to keep passengers safe and secure. He and his

leadership team build and implement their highly successful business model around six pillars: 1) Customer Service, 2) Employees, 3) Fiscal responsibility, 4) Environmental stewardship, 5) Economic development, and 6) Safety and security. They hold daily meetings with staff members and airport stakeholders to ensure that those six pillars are in continual alignment with business goals. “Everyday we have a series of meetings to make sure the goals that we have set out and those six areas or six pillars, that we’re achieving them.” Southwell explained: “Airports are quite often referred to as the community’s economic engine, and we really believe that to be the case; that the real purpose of an airport is not just some place where people get on and off planes, but it really is a place for that community to grow jobs and grow the wealth of the people in that community. That’s the principle purpose of an airport. That’s why we’re so passionate about our DBE and ACDBE program; because it’s front and center for what the purpose of an airport is. We need to provide opportunities whether they are building wealth or jobs for all members of our community—including minorities and women.”

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ACCA Certification Helps Advance Careers Janet Soto Rodriguez, State of Oregon Economic & Business Equity Policy Advisor raises a question at the 2015 National Training Institute in West Palm Beach, FL (Credit: ACCA)


he American Contract Compliance Association (ACCA) has provided training, networking opportunities, and leadership experience to thousands of professionals in the minority and women business development industry over the past 28 years. ACCA’s signature program, the annual National Training Institute (NTI), is an industry mainstay that is dedicated to preparing individuals for success in administering diverse business programs across the country. While there are detractors who minimize the effectiveness of training conferences and question the value of sending employees away to get updated industry information, ACCA has stayed true to its mission; to “deliver ongoing comprehensive training and certification to practitioners working within the fields of Affirmative Action, Contract Compliance, Minority/Women/ Small Business Development, Labor Compliance, Economic Development, and Equal Employment Opportunity.” The organization has succeeded by providing training taught by current industry professionals having the passion,


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ACCA’s signature program, the annual National Training Institute (NTI), is an industry mainstay that is dedicated to preparing individuals for success in administering diverse business programs across the country. By American DBE Staff

experience, and commitment to share their expertise with others in the industry. ACCA’s combination of consistent and relevant training has positioned the NTI as the leading professional certification program in the industry, with a cadre of accomplished alumni that are established as industry leaders across the United States. The NTI program also has been instrumental in helping new industry professionals advance their careers. Alexandra Hayes, MWBE Regional Manager at Austin Commercial LP, is a recent NTI participant who has advanced her career through the program. Hayes first attended the NTI in 2014 after hearing about the program from Simeon Terry, vice president of diversity affairs at Austin Industries, while she was working as a consultant for Austin in South Carolina. Hayes was unfamiliar with the NTI until Terry recommended that she attend to get trained and to network with other professionals. “I went online that day and signed up for the next conference,” Hayes said. After attending the 2014 NTI in San Jose, She returned in 2015 to complete the Contract Compliance Administrator Certification. “I not only learned a lot

about the industry, I also made some great connections,” she said. Hayes has since been hired by Austin Commercial as a regional MWBE program manager, and the connections made during the NTI have served her well in her new position. “Although I had met George Coleman and Monica Jimenez from the Chicago O’Hare Airport while working on a project there, I really had a chance to get to know them personally during the NTI, which has made working together easier,” she said. Many participants at the NTI have a similar experience of gaining important industry knowledge, while at the same time building relationships that can pay dividends in the future. Although the fourday event is packed with training classes, participants still find time to network during the interactive class sessions, luncheons, and evening social events. The NTI Certification programs include the Contract Compliance Administrator (CCA), Master Compliance Administrator (MCA), and the Executive Leadership Institute (ELI); and are administered by

National Training Institute participants take a networking break between sessions during the four-day training conference. Participants receive a Contract Compliance Administrator certification after twenty hours of training (Credit: ACCA)

the Morgan State University Office of Continuing Education. Individuals completing the certification programs also receive Continuing Education Units (CEUs) from Morgan State University. Each of the certification programs takes two years to complete and consists of 40 hours of classroom training. The curriculum is designed to allow a participant to complete 20 hours of training each year. Dr. Willie Bragg, director of the Center for Continuing and Professional Studies at Morgan State University, ensures that the NTI adheres to high standards for the certification programs. Her office attends the NTI each year to monitor the training sessions and ensure that participants complete the required number of hours to receive certification. Bragg believes the involvement of Morgan State University adds to the program’s credibility and success. According to Dr. Bragg, “Morgan State’s partnership with ACCA provides the oversight ensuring that NTI participants receive quality training that produces highly skilled professionals ready to assume leadership roles in our global society. The growing demand for a diverse, competent workforce speaks to the importance of our ongoing collaboration with ACCA.”

“I not only learned a lot about the industry, I also made some great connections.” Alexandra Hayes, MWBE Regional Manager at Austin Commercial LP

The 2015 NTI, held in West Palm Beach, Florida, awarded certifications to over 100 professionals. Out of the 300 industry participants, 62 completed the CCA program, 24 completed the MCA program, and 16 completed the Executive Leadership Institute. Planning has already begun for the next NTI scheduled to take place in Chicago, Illinois from August 30-September 4, 2016. ACCA leadership expects the 2016 event to be one of the largest ever as membership in the organization continues to grow. For more information about ACCA and the annual NTI program, visit Alexandra Hayes sneaks in a few minutes of work between training sessions during the National Training Institute. (Credit: ACCA)

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Fast Act Offers Certainty and Opportunity for DBE


On December 4, 2015, President Barack Obama signed the 5-year, $305 billion Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act. By American DBE Staff

President Barack Obama signed the FAST Act transportation bill on Dec. 4, 2015.


n December 4, 2015, President Barack Obama signed the 5-year, $305 billion Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act. The legislation authorizes federal government spending for highway and bridge construction, transit, and passenger rail projects through 2020. President Obama and U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx have worked diligently to pass a long-term bill that would increase surface transportation investment and provide funding certainty in the transportation industry. The new law means states and local governments can move forward with critical transportation projects, like new highways and transit lines, with the confidence that they will have a federal partner over the long term. Secretary Foxx said, “After hundreds of Congressional meetings, two bus tours, visits to 43 states, and so much uncertainty – and 36 short term extensions – it has been a long and bumpy ride to a long-term transportation bill. It’s not perfect,


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and there is still more left to do, but it reflects a bipartisan compromise I always knew was possible.” FAST Act is the first long-term surface transportation bill passed by Congress in over 10 years. Lawmakers have debated strategies to fund transportation expenditures for several years since the Highway Trust Fund (HTF)—which is funded by the federal gas tax—is no longer sufficient to cover the amount needed to fund transportation improvements across the country. In the end, this debate was not resolved in the FAST Act by increasing the federal gas tax or coming up with a new long-term funding Strategy; Congress opted instead to transfer funding from the General Fund to make up the difference between the total amount of the bill and the amount available from the HTF.

Although this bill does not create the funding increases pushed for by the Obama Administration, it does provide a modest increase for highway and transit funding. This increase is especially true in the first year of the legislation, where highway funding increases by 5 percent and transit funds increases by 8 percent. Over the life of the Fast Act, highways will receive $243 billion; transit will receive $49 billion; and passenger rail will receive $10 billion. Related to the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE Program), FAST Act reauthorizes the current provisions of the program and adjusts the annual gross receipts limit for eligible DBE firms to $23.98 million. The adjustment is consistent with recent inflation-based adjustments and maintains the requirement for future annual adjustments as well. Rep. Gwen Moore (D-Wis.) offered a “sense of Congress,” directing the U.S. Department of Transportation to “take additional steps” and ensure that state DOTs are complying with existing rules requiring prompt payment to DBE firms. USDOT is also instructed to track complaints on this issue and to make this information available publicly. The Conference of Minority Transportation Officials (COMTO, and many other transportation stakeholders, offered support for the passage of the FAST Act. “We are pleased that the bill increases highway and transit spending and provides states with assurances that federal help will be available for major projects,” said COMTO President Mioshi Moses in a press release. President Obama gave a statement before signing the FAST Act into law. "This bill is not perfect, but it is a commonsense compromise, and an important first step in the right direction. I look forward to signing this bill right away, so that we can put Americans to work rebuilding our crumbling roads, bridges, and transit systems; reauthorize the Export-Import Bank that helps our companies compete around the world, and give local and state governments and employers the certainty they need to invest and hire for the long term."

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Oscar M. Lewis

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s p o t l i g h t p r o g r a m d b e

s Arizona DOT’ BECO Takes DBE Program to a

Higher Level By American DBE Staff

The new positions raised her total headcount to 20 staff members, and the new manpower was used to staff all three program areas. Lattibeaudiere was now ready to take ADOT’s program to a higher level. “The Director asked me to come over from my prior position as the Director of Engineering Consultant Services to take the lead in this area and make it successful. I knew I needed more staff and to look at our processes from top to bottom to make that happen,” she said.

Dr. Vivien Lattibeaudiere led the formation of Arizona DOT’s Business Engagement and Compliance Office (BECO) to improve the agency’s DBE efforts (Photo Credit: Arizona D.O.T.)


he first thing Dr. Vivien Lattibeaudiere realized in 2012 when offered the opportunity to lead a new department responsible for administering the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) external civil rights programs, was that she would need more staff to accomplish the job. The department had eight employees to administer the agency’s Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Program, On-the-Job Training (OJT) Program, and Contractor Compliance Program. Dr. Lattibeaudiere immediately set out to work with ADOT staff and other departments to restructure the office to meet the challenge. Within a few months, she had developed a detailed plan of action, which she presented to ADOT senior management in order to secure the positions needed to carry out all of the tasks necessary for successful program administration. This effort led to the approval of 12 positions for the newly created Business Engagement and Compliance Office (BECO).

Since 2012, Dr. Lattibeaudiere has led efforts to take ADOT’s DBE Program to new levels of success that have received recognition across the state of Arizona from business partners in the community. In November 2015, ADOT received the Arizona Million Dollar Circle of Excellence award, presented by the Arizona Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the Minority Business Development Agency. The award recognizes organizations whose practices support small businesses owned by minorities and women. ADOT Director John Halikowski released a statement following the award presentation which read: “This agency is grounded in the values of accountability, integrity, and respect. The commitment to diversity recognized by this award speaks to one core way we hold ourselves to the highest professional standards.” ADOT’s receipt of this award is largely due to the BECO team’s efforts to increase opportunities for DBE firms in agency contracts. BECO’s efforts have included increasing internal and external outreach initiatives to build better relationships between the DBE community, primes, and ADOT project staff. In addition, BECO has started to better utilize internet technologies to provide training, outreach, and information for firms seeking to do business with ADOT. BECO is currently developing a web-based “Business Coach on Demand” platform that will allow firms to access assistance online to help navigate the process of getting work on ADOT projects from beginning to end.

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Participants at the ADOT Statewide DBE & Small Business Conference network during the event. BECO has increased outreach to the DBE community through events like the conference and other relationship-building events. (Credit Arizona D.O.T.)

BECO staff member leads a session at the ADOT Statewide DBE & Small Business Conference. BECO has worked closely with internal staff and the community to promote DBE opportunities on the upcoming $2 billion Loop 202 (South Mountain Freeway) Project (Credit: Arizona D.O.T.)

ADOT has created an innovative multi-level Business Development program for DBEs at various stages of development. The levels include programs for new and emerging DBEs (DBEs certified less than 1 year; awarded no ADOT contracts; and earning less than $100,000 in gross receipts); Pacesetters Developmental DBEs (DBE certified for 2-10 years; less than 10 employees; awarded 2-9 ADOT contracts; and $100,000 - $750,000 in gross receipts); and a Masters/Transitional Program (DBEs certified for more than 10 years; 10+ employees; awarded 10+ ADOT contracts; and $750,000+ in gross receipts). Programs, training, and one-onone technical assistance is tailored to these groups and they are tracked after graduating from the program and provided with individualized assistance to help them be successful at winning contracts, increasing their gross receipts, expanding into additional business lines, and becoming successful outside of the DBE program.


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BECO also just completed the administration of ADOT’s Disparity Study, which was released to the public in August 2015. The results of the disparity study confirmed the continuing need for a race-conscious DBE program and resulted in the increase of the overall FHWA DBE Goal from 7.76 percent from 2012-2014, to 8.90 percent from 20152017. However, to supplement the increased DBE goal, BECO will launch a “Just One More” campaign to encourage prime contractors to hire just one more DBE firm beyond meeting the contract when completing a contract. This effort is aimed at increasing ADOT’s race-neutral participation in meeting the overall DBE goal. BECO has promoted the effort by collaborating with industry partners such as the Arizona Chapter of the Association of General Contractors, the American Council of Engineering Companies of Arizona, the United Minority Contractors of Arizona, and ADOT’s DBE Taskforce. Dr. Lattibeaudiere believes these goals and initiatives will help ADOT achieve significant DBE participation on the upcoming Loop 202 (South Mountain Freeway) Project. The nearly $2 billion project is the single largest project in the history of Arizona and will begin construction in 2016. “Our office has been significantly involved in the process,” she said. “We have worked on the contract specifications for the DBE and On-theJob Training Program requirements; and we have worked to set significant DBE goals on the project.” BECO’s efforts resulted in DBE goals on the project of 10.93 percent for construction, 16.45 percent for professional services, and 6.08 percent for capital asset replacement (maintenance) contracts.

In order to help DBEs prepare for opportunities on the Loop 202 project, BECO partnered with the USDOT Small Business Transportation Resource Center to offer the Bonding Education Program for potential DBE contractors. The program provided over 20 firms with valuable business development training and resulted in two firms being able to secure their first surety bond. The BECO team understands that increasing DBE participation and the monitoring requirements associated with a mega-project such as the Loop 202 project will require enhanced reporting and evaluation tools. To this end, Lattibeaudiere has also led an internal effort to develop internal software programs that will assist with areas such setting DBE project goals, tracking ADOT’s bidders’ list, monitoring DBE goal attainment, and monitoring payments to subcontractors. Although building an exemplary unit is an all-consuming task, Lattibeaudiere has also carved out time to serve as chairperson of the Western Association of State Highway Transportation Officials (WASHTO) Civil Rights Committee. Civil rights program leaders from 18 western states comprise the WASHTO committee. During her tenure, the committee launched a series of Program Roundtable webinars covering areas such as Title VI administration, DBE Certification, and Internal Investigations.

Dr. Lattibeaudiere is proud of the strides the BECO team has made in making improvements to ADOT’s DBE Program, but realizes there is still work to be done to achieve the program’s full potential. The next step is for the BECO staff to move into larger, newly renovated office and conference space in the spring of 2016 in an effort to become more accessible, visible, and proactive in providing improved customer service for DBEs and small businesses. BECO also plans to open three DBE/small business assistance centers across the state to provide DBEs greater access to training and business opportunities. “It’s all about reducing barriers to entry and teaching DBEs and small businesses how to fish. But after they learn how to fish, we have to work to effectively provide them access to streams of opportunities so they can become a meaningful part of building the transportation infrastructure in our state,” Lattibeaudiere said. All of the efforts appear to be working, because this year, ADOT DBE utilization is expected to exceed its annual DBE goal for the first time since the early 2000s.

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Lewis Aviation Takes Smart Runway System to Market By American DBE Staff

Oscar Lewis (left) and Scott French, FAA Transition Manager complete a briefing and walk-through of Las Vegas’ new 350-foot tall control tower in December 2015.


scar Lewis, president of The Lewis Company, has introduced his patented Smart Runway and its new technologies into the marketplace. Lewis has taken the next step in revolutionizing the aviation industry by improving runway efficiency and increasing flight capacity for airports worldwide. Lewis is the holder of the United States Patent US 8352103-B2, “Method and Apparatus for Providing a Runway Landing System;” he calls the invention the 21st Century Smart Runway System. Lewis has assembled a strategic core team of aviation leaders with worldwide experience to enter the global aviation market. He has also formed partnerships


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Oscar Lewis (center), a former U.S. Air Force Officer and Squadron Commander, pays honor to two Tuskegee Airmen at the 60th Annual Air Traffic Controllers Association Conference in Washington, DC on November 3, 2015.

with leading global aviation industries with current airport modernization programs and international clients across the world. In marketing the Smart Runway, Lewis broadened the conversation on how aviation is the engine for fueling eco-friendly economic growth. The Smart Runway concept makes a reality of an insight offered by former U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson in the December 2015 issue of Fortune Magazine when he highlighted the need for more U.S. businesses to develop ecofriendly solutions in order to compete worldwide.

benefits to airport directors and general managers nationwide. Lewis recalled discussions with Miguel Southwell, general manager of the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, at AMAC’s annual conference in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, about the changing market demand for airports to capitalize on increased global trade. Lewis understands Southwell’s vision for increasing airport capacity to serve this new market and believes his Smart Runway System allows increased air cargo throughput, which will create economic growth and new jobs in Atlanta and around the world.

Lewis gives credit to the Airport Minority Advisory Council (AMAC) for advancing the Smart Runway economic values and

Lewis’ background consists of 20 years as a successful business owner and as a respected air traffic controller who

was responsible for managing Atlanta’s airspace and approach control operations. Today he continues to update and work closely with senior officials from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and U.S. Congress members on the Smart Runway’s work and challenges. Lewis said, “According to a senior official at USDOT, the Smart Runway ‘makes sense’ in increasing capacity and reducing flight delays.”

The benefits of the Smart Runway System are identified in the abstract of Lewis’ patent, which states: “One non-limiting but advantageous aspect of the present invention relates to improved airport efficiency and capacity through higher utilization of a primary runway. The improvements derive from the use of one or more high-speed exit ramps that interconnect the primary runway to a high-speed landing way running parallel to the primary runway. The high-speed exit ramp(s) enable a landing aircraft to negotiate a high-speed transition from the primary runway to the high-speed landing way, so that the aircraft completes its landing roll out and transition to taxiing speeds on the high-speed landing way rather than the primary runway.” Over the past several years, Lewis has quietly completed 23 new airfield tests and flights at various airports, which serve to validate the system’s first successful test on December 17, 2014. He symbolically chose that date to coincide with the Wright Brothers’ initial ‘first flight’ on the same date in 1917.

Lewis said that what industry experts are most impressed with is the Smart Runway System’s on-the-ground solution to the advancements made by the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen) Program. NextGen is transforming airport operations from radar-based technology to satellitebased GPS (global positioning system) technology. The NextGen system has improved air traffic efficiency by streamlining en-route and terminal traffic flows; allowing air traffic controllers keep the world’s busiest airspace system working as safely and as efficiently as possible. However, this improved technology in the air is somewhat constrained on the ground by the FAA rules and requirements that only allow one aircraft to be on a runway at any given time. This necessary requirement creates a bottleneck that can only be alleviated by increasing the number of runways or by moving landing aircraft from the runway faster. Lewis’ Smart Runway System is the first process for getting landing aircraft off the runway faster. “Our system can increase runway capacity by 35 percent at a much better value than building a high-cost new runway that takes up to 10 years to complete with an uncertain traffic future,” Lewis said. Introduction of the Smart Runway System is ideal for a few reasons. First, as the U.S. economy continues to improve, airports are experiencing significant growth. The Airport Council International (ACI-NA) reports that “passenger demand continued its positive trend in October 2015, with the world’s airports reporting a 6 percent increase compared to October 2014. International passenger traffic showed stronger growth at 6.3 percent, while domestic passenger traffic grew by 5.8 percent.” Initial proof of concept studies show the Smart Runway supporting over 12,000 new daily travelers and generating approximately $1.3 million each day in new revenue.

“Our system can increase runway capacity by 35 percent at a much better value than building a high-cost new runway that takes up to 10 years to complete with an uncertain traffic future.” Oscar Lewis, president of The Lewis Company Next, Lewis’ Smart Runway System is a much more economical approach to expanding airport capacity when compared to building a new runway. This will be a welcomed option for many U.S. airports since federal funding for airport improvements has failed to keep pace with the increased cost of construction and the increased need for airport improvement. Each year the FAA receives billions of dollars more in requests for airport improvement funding than it is able to award to U.S. airports. The convergence of these two industry realities makes the Smart Runway System an ideal strategy for the future. Lewis and his executive team believe the time is right for airports to adopt a more economical, efficient, and accessible way for airports to plan for the future. Lewis said, “Our executives and engineering teams are working around the country in writing new procedures, development testing, and measuring aircraft performance. We are talking to airport leaders about capacity needs and congestion reduction solutions. Finally, we are leading the effort in engineering new runway redesign solutions as part of the first phase of rolling out our system to help airports improve their runway operations. We expect to make some big announcements in 2016.” // winter 2016


PROUD TO GIVE BUSINESSES A LIFT CATS is proud to provide opportunities for businesses to create local jobs through the advancement of transit projects. CATS also seeks to create an environment that gives small and socially or economically challenged local businesses the opportunity to compete for publicly funded contracts by participating in the Small Business Opportunity (SBO) and the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Programs. On the LYNX Blue Line project, for example, CATS spent $42.9 million with 38 DBE firms to build the new light rail system. As the major provider of public transportation to Charlotte and the surrounding region, CATS relies on the communities we serve to build and operate the service every day. By working together on these new opportunities, we can all keep our communities moving in the right direction. For more information, visit


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dbe power players

ARohadfox ChipConstructi offothe Old Block n Control Services Corporation By American DBE Staff

RCCSC President Joy Rohadfox looks over one of her company’s projects in Atlanta. Rohadfox was honored in 2015 as a “Woman Who Moves the Nation” by the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials.


ne of the greatest challenges a company encounters is transitioning from the first generation to the second. This decision must be handled carefully and delicately for the business to move successfully into the future and possibly to higher levels of success. In the case of Rohadfox Construction Control Services Corporation (RCCSC), this decision required the confidence and faith to break with traditional in favor of a decision for the ultimate betterment of the company. In 2001, after 25 years in business, Dr. Ronald Rohadfox selected his 27 year-old daughter Joy Rohadfox to become president of RCCSC. This was

certainly an unlikely decision since the elder Rohadfox also had three older sons already working in the company, while his daughter Joy was not. She was living in Atlanta, two states removed from the company’s Durham, North Carolina headquarters. This decision was even more unlikely at the time, given that Joy had not expressed any desire to be a part of her father’s company. “I didn’t want any part of it at the time,” Rohadfox said. “I just remember that as a child my dad was traveling for work all the time, and that wasn’t what I wanted.” However, based on her father’s request and his failing health, she agreed to lead the company

provided that she could move the headquarters to Atlanta. Her father agreed to this request with one corresponding condition. She had to secure an engineering contract at the Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport to justify the transition. “That was tough,” Rohadfox said. “I didn’t know anyone in the industry or at the airport. But I saw it as a challenge I had to figure out.” Although it took a little time, she eventually secured the company’s first contract at the Hartsfield-Jackson Airport and has been working there ever since.” While Rohadfox had convinced her father that she could lead the company // winter 2016


Rohadfox leads the company her father started in 1976 from the corporate office in Atlanta, Ga.

from Atlanta, it was anything but smooth sailing from there. “It was very tough,” she said. “My brothers had been working in the company along with other employees that had been with my father for a long time. I was the youngest child, and many of the employees knew me as a little girl who worked in the office doing administrative tasks in the summers when I was out of school. So now I was a 27 year-old young woman with very little business experience taking over the company. We definitely went through some growing pains, and not everyone made the transition. I had to let some people go.” Despite her lack of experience, Dr. Rohadfox had made a brilliant choice for a successor. His only daughter had excelled academically and affectionately became known as Dr. Joy – having received her doctorate degree from Georgia State University. The senior Dr. Rohadfox knew that his daughter had the organizational skills and business acumen to lead the business


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into the future. He has proven to be correct, as Joy has continued to build on his legacy, taking the company to new heights since assuming leadership. The senior Rohadfox passed away in early 2014 at the age of 78, but he was able to guide and mentor Joy from his role as Chairman of the Board for over a decade while she learned and mastered the intricacies of the business.

QC), cost estimating, scheduling and project management. The company has performed work on a variety of transportation projects at Atlanta Hartsfield Jackson International Airport, the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA), the Charlotte Area Transportation System, the Virginia Department of Transportation and others.

RCCSC has continued to thrive after the passing of Mr. Rohadfox by focusing the business on the industries that built the company. “We have retuned our focus to the transportation industry in aviation, highways and public transit,” Rohadfox said. “Over the years we grew into vertical work and international work in a lot of different industries, but now we are focusing on the significant opportunities in transportation.” RCCSC primarily provides construction controls and engineering services for major infrastructure projects. These services include design, quality assurance/quality control (QA/

RCCSC now has more than 80 employees working out of seven office locations in Atlanta, Richmond, Washington D.C., Durham, Charlotte, Miami and Charleston. In addition, the company also plans to re-open an office in Los Angles in 2016. Dr. Joy’s brothers still work in the company. Her eldest brother Renwick runs the Charlotte office, while her next oldest brother Roderick is the company’s operations manager, and her thirdoldest brother Reginald is a field inspector. Rohadfox attributes her success in leading the company to several

“For every no, I know there is a yes. And so I don’t stop. You may tell me no, but I know that someone will say yes to me. My mother always tells me I’m just like my dad.” Dr. Joy Rohadfox, RCCSC President

Joy Rohadfox accepts the “Women Who Move the Nation” award from the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials in March 2015.

characteristics she learned from her father in business. The first is focus. “Dad was really focused on growing the company. He would say, ‘If they are not talking about a job, then they aren’t talking about anything.’ I like to think I’m a little nicer about it, but I am very focused on growing our company,” she said. Another attribute she learned from her father was a strong work ethic. The senior Rohadfox would often spend days on the road visiting clients and making sales calls in several states. “My father worked very hard; he would sometimes travel to three cities in one day. It took me a while, but I have learned to do that too in order to maximize my time.” Rohadfox also uses her organizational skills to her advantage. “Like my father, I am very organized,” she said. “I write everything down and I make a daily checklist and mark things off as they get done.” The last attribute she believes she learned from her father was optimism. “We are both optimists. For every no, I know there is a yes. And so I don’t stop. You may tell me no, but I know that someone will say yes to me. My mother always tells me I’m just like my dad.” These attributes have led to continued success for RCCSC, and Rohadfox was honored by the national Conference of Minority Transportation Officials (COMTO) for her success at its annual Celebrating Women Who Move the

Nation program in March 2015. She used the opportunity to dedicate the award to her father and honor him for providing the foundation upon which the company is built. Although Rohadfox celebrates the past and what RCCSC has accomplished, she is firmly fixed on leading the company to greater success in the future by building on the company’s roots in the transportation industry and growing in the markets where the company does business. Now that Rohadfox has successfully transitioned the firm from the first generation to the second, she encourages others facing a similar situation to seek out mentors who can help navigate the turbulent transition. She believes an experienced mentor can make the process easier by serving as a sounding board for ideas, and answer questions based on their expertise in similar situations. She also encourages women entrepreneurs, especially those in traditional maledominated industries like construction, to not wear their emotions on their sleeves and to “stay on top of your game." She believes that in order to stay relevant, you must remain educated on current trends and the latest technologies, so that you can effectively communicate with whomever may be at the table. “When I first took over leadership, men would look right past me in meetings and talk to the other men; they don’t do that anymore.”

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dbe power players

Ewing-Dunn Mutual Respect Leads to 30-Year Business Partnership By Peggy Beach “We hoped it would be a long-lasting partnership,” said Dunn, vice president in charge of daily operations. “But we were too busy to worry too much about it at the time.” Ewing-Lonetti said that she has always been business oriented. “I loved the airport business, so it was particularly intriguing to me to form a partnership with Sandy that would be our own entity.” Dunn said that she was heavily influenced by her father and grandfather, who were both business owners.

Judy Ewing-Lonetti (left) and Sandy Dunn have been business partners for more than 30 years.


ravelers rushing through the Charlotte Douglas International Airport (Charlotte Douglas) may not have much time to think about the airport stores and restaurants. However, one thing is certain – the store and restaurant owners have put a lot of time and effort into meeting those travelers’ needs. Two of those owners are Judy Ewing-Lonetti and Sandy Dunn. The two women met 35 years ago when Ewing-Lonetti was a national sales director and Dunn was a general manager for Dobbs House at Charlotte Douglas. A few years later, Dunn was considering other career options when she met Ewing-Lonetti for lunch. Both of them thought that the airport was a good location for an ice cream parlor; then decided to turn those thoughts into action. They formed their own company, Ewing-Dunn, and placed a successful bid for an airport franchise. They have owned as many as five franchises at the airport. Today, more than 30 years later, the duo owns three franchises at Charlotte Douglas: Auntie Anne’s, Cinnabon and a Brioche Doree (a Parisian-style urban bakery café).


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The two complement each other, said Ewing-Lonetti. “I focus more on strategy and Sandy focuses on day-to-day operations,” she said. The women have also helped each other through the ups and downs of 30 years of life – the death of Ewing-Lonetti’s first husband, a serious health issue with Dunn’s son, the marriages of their children, Ewing-Lonetti’s remarriage and the birth of grandchildren. “I don’t think we would have gone into the venture if we didn’t think we could make it work. I think we succeeded because we both have the same work ethic and vision. It didn’t hurt that we were friends before we were business partners,” Dunn said. Ewing-Lonetti said that the biggest change since their business started at Charlotte Douglas was September 11, 2001. “Before then, people could come past security to wait with their friends and loved ones before their plane took off. In Charlotte, we also had groups of local shoppers who would come to the airport to shop and dine. Our business was drastically cut as a result of new safety and security measures in all airports.” Dunn said that she has to spend time talking with potential employees about security measures. “When you hire and retain staff, you have to remind employees that they have to deal with parking challenges, getting fingerprinted and going through security every day.” She also mentioned that airports are open 365 days a year, which can make for long work weeks.

Like most companies, training employees can be challenging as well. Dunn said, “I train each of our employees individually. I don’t ask any of them to do anything that I would not do myself. I work side by side with our employees.” She said that she puts a great emphasis on hiring from within the company as well as training both managers and employees before they ever begin working on location. Both women said that having businesses at one of the nation’s busiest airports presents its own set of unique challenges. Construction on a new concourse at Charlotte Douglas is currently underway, and Charlotte Douglas is now considered the seventh busiest airport in the country. The duo emphasized the importance of putting time and effort into studying products, locations and customer bases. This strategy paid off, said Ewing-Lonetti, especially when recent consumer trends demonstrated an increased interest in healthier foods. “Our store, Brioche Doree, offers a range of fresh, handcrafted European café options. We have soups,

salads and mini sandwiches. This has enabled us to offer healthier options for our customers,” she said. Both women said they feel well-respected by the airport community and their franchisors. Dunn said that Brioche Doree, which is part of Le Duff America, provides support to franchisees with regular promotions and social media outreach. “They were instrumental in building buzz locally and nationally when we opened the Brioche Doree location in April 2014,” Dunn said. Ewing-Lonetti said that she and Dunn look forward to continued growth and keeping their current stores running well. The economic downturn in 2008 did not affect them as much as other businesses because of the large number of international and national travelers. However, Dunn said that they must keep abreast of economic concerns internationally as well. “For example, if European markets are not performing well, consumers may cut back on international

travel, which affects business at the airport.” Ewing-Lonetti and Dunn look forward to many more years in business. They encourage other women to go into business. “Finding a perfect location is extremely important. In fact, I think looking back, we would have asked for more locations in the airport,” EwingLonetti said. She also emphasized learning all about a franchise and having enough capital to last at least three years in business. “We are always striving to keep up with new trends and the competition, including improving our social media skills. I think that is important for all businesses.” Dunn said, “We are very proud to be female multi-unit, multi-brand franchisees and to have been in business together for 30 years. We have never let ourselves feel held back or challenged as women in the workplace.”

GREAT LAKES REGIONAL FORUM Creating A Culture of Inclusion






The Airport Minority Advisory Council (AMAC) is pleased to have selected the Wayne County Airport Authority to host a two-day Great Lakes Regional Forum in Detroit, Michigan at the Westin Detroit Metropolitan Airport Hotel on Wednesday and Thursday, April 20 and 21, 2016. Please join us for professional development, business networking and opportunities to develop strategic partnerships. The attendees will include Airport Operators, Airline Executives, Government Officials, Prime Contractors and S/M/W/DBE Contractors. Understanding what opportunities are available in the Great Lakes Region is vital, and this forum will provide important updates and opportunities. The itinerary includes educational sessions on Doing Business with Airports; Regional Opportunities and Procurement; Navigating the Certification Process; Legislative Policy Updates, and an Economic Forecast for the region.


Online registration is open until April 15, 2016. On-site registration begins at 12:00 PM on April 20, 2016


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business development

Beware of Branding Your Business as a DBE Submitted by Cynthia Jones Parks


wo years after I founded Jones Worley in 1990, my marketing communications firm was selected to be a member of the design team that built the Olympic Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia. It was a coup by any measurement, especially for a young agency, and one that led to my firm being on more than 40 design teams, including six that were awarded contracts to build Olympic Stadiums. Being certified as a Woman-Owned Business Enterprise (WBE), a Minority-Owned Business Enterprise (MBE), and a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) was key to Jones Worley being on multiple design teams. However, it was our growing reputation for providing excellent work and reliable performance—not our W/M/DBE certifications— that established Jones Worley's reputation as a leader in the field of strategic marketing communications, branding and wayfinding, and environmental sign design. That strong brand helped Jones Worley survive the recession that crippled many small businesses. When prospective work dried up and existing contracts were put on hold, we became more tenacious about marketing our brand and highlighted the fact we were a certified DBE in 18 states as an added value to teams, organizations and corporations committed to inclusiveness in purchasing and procurement. So while being a DBE is a good business strategy that can open doors for a company, it is not a brand. A brand is the positive image that makes your product or service stand out from the competition. It’s the tangible asset that enhances your reputation in your respective industry and results in new and repeat opportunities that sustain your business over time. In 1983, Congress adopted the DBE provision with the stipulation that at least 10 percent of funds authorized for federal highway and transit projects be spent with DBEs. A business is considered a DBE if it is at least 51 percent owned, controlled and managed on a daily basis by African Americans, Hispanics, Asians or Native Americans. Four years later, in 1987, the law was amended to include women. The


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provision has since been modified to establish DBE goals, rather than guarantees, for minority- and women-owned firms. Not only has competition increased for DBEs, but branding your company as a DBE doesn’t describe what your company does and it leaves little room to rise to new heights. For example, my friend David Moody, president of C.D. Moody Construction—one of Atlanta’s Top 25 construction companies—qualified as a DBE in 1987 when the company’s annual revenues were around $1 million. However, the company’s annual revenues now exceed more than $70 million, triple the $23 million federal cap for a DBE. Moody’s business grew to prime contractor status by fulfilling its brand promise to produce high-quality design and construction work, not by branding it as a DBE. After starting my Atlanta-based firm, a number of clients have sought my advice about how I built my business brand. They are often surprised when I tell them my three pillars of brand development are:

1. Build a reliable business clients can depend on; 2. Position your business for opportunities; and 3. Be a subject matter expert

Be Reliable In order to build a strong brand, clients need to be able to trust you will deliver every time, especially when they are in a jam. That means performing beyond expectations by providing superior service that reflects your client’s needs, gives them above and beyond what they said they wanted, and provides them with a service or product that is on time and within budget. It also means giving your client a memorable experience that, in turn, will generate repeat business and client referrals.

My objective from the onset was to establish Jones Worley as the go-to firm when a client has a short deadline to meet. When the Atlanta Olympic Committee approached us in our infancy with a time-sensitive project to design and coordinate the installation of two Olympic Countdown clocks over the I-75/85 Connector in downtown Atlanta, we had only 10 weeks to complete the assignment. But we met the deadline without a glitch. Years later, in 2004, we reinforced our deadline-driven reputation by naming and branding the Breeze card for the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA) in less than two months. Because of the success of that project, Jones Worley worked for three more years on the implementation and conversion of the Breeze card until it was fully launched. In 2011, Jones Worley branded the Atlanta Street Car in just 90 days and in 2014, we strategically planned, branded and programmed six transformative initiatives for the Jacksonville Transportation Authority in just six months. We won all of those contracts, and continue to receive new ones, because of our brand reputation for providing fresh, creative ideas in record time.

Position Your Business for Opportunities Enhance your brand by developing a strategy to position your business for opportunities. Get certified as a DBE. Network. Reach out to prime contractors for sub-consulting

opportunities. Team with other small businesses and DBEs to increase your capacity and capability. Connect with your circle of influence – people who will keep your name on the table when an opportunity is being discussed. Make known to authorities, agencies and corporations your interest and experience as you seek contracting opportunities. See your business backlog as half full and never stop marketing. Use low- or no-cost advertising tactics to market your brand by sending out electronic e-blasts or blogs; by distributing your company’s targeted collateral at conferences, receptions and other special events and through social media such as Twitter, Facebook and Linked In. Also seek opportunities to conduct workshops, make presentations and participate in panel discussions. Write Op-Ed articles and other articles for publication weighing in on timely topics that will help establish your expertise and credibility. Finally, when finances permit, provide sponsorships or secure in-kind trades that will give your firm advertising visibility in exchange for your company’s product or service.

Be an Expert

to learn everything we could about the nuances associated with the assignment and became subject matter experts. Today, our client portfolio includes 20 airports and 15 transit authorities from California to Florida, as well as globalreaching, Fortune 500 corporations and many more. Unbeknownst to us at the time, the 54 days Jones Worley was given to name and brand MARTA’s Breeze card were a game-changer. Since it was the first, 100 percent transit smart card conversion in North America, the success of that project did more for Jones Worley’s brand than any advertising we could have purchased. After MARTA, Jones Worley went on to brand and guide the implementation of transit fare collections for eight other transportation authorities, more than any other marketing communications firm in the U.S. In summary, being a DBE does not entitle you to a contract and it does not speak to the quality of your work. All it does is position your business for consideration for an opportunity by fulfilling a requirement on an RFP; it does not guarantee your company will be selected to fill that spot. Outstanding performance is the only way to build a sustainable brand that lasts.

Whatever business you’re in – know it. Being a subject matter expert builds trust and confidence with clients; when clients know the value your firm brings, they will contract with you more often. Whatever the project type – such as airport, transit, commercial, mixed-use development, education and healthcare Jones Worley embraced the opportunity

Cynthia Jones Parks is founder, president and CEO of Jones Worley, an Atlanta-based marketing communications firm now in its 25th year. Visit her online at:; email:

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business development

small business and health care Submitted by Roberta McCullough


his country is approaching its second full year under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). While many individuals and families have made the transition and are benefiting, small business owners are still navigating through the process of determining what is best for them and their employees, how to manage cost, and what—if any— tax advantages are available. There are four main eligibility requirements for a small business to participate in the health care marketplace: 1. The small business owner must have an office in the SHOP (Small business Health Options Program) service area or have an employee that lives in the SHOP service area, and enroll the small business in the Health Marketplace. 2. A small business must have 50 or fewer FTE (full time equivalent) employees. (The Marketplace provides an FTE calculator to ensure accuracy. Generally it is any employee who works 30 hours or more a week). Coverage must be offered to all employees in an FTE status. Of those, at least 70 percent must participate. 3. Effective January 1, 2016, employers with 100 or fewer FTEs can be eligible to participate in SHOP.

According to a recent report by Robert Half International, the number of full-time-equivalent employees for a given month is calculated by taking the aggregate number of hours of service—up to 120 hours per employee—for all employees with fewer than 30 hours of credited service per week and dividing the total numbers of service by 120. ACA requires small businesses to remain compliant to avoid penalty, receive tax deductions, and provide options for their employees’ health coverage needs. Small businesses seeking to maximize tax advantages and avoid penalties should consider three critical requirements: 1. Regularly update employee enrollment as employees leave and are hired. Typically, an employee should be enrolled within 30 days of either occurrence. 2. A small business may incur penalty if it does not offer health insurance to at least 95 percent of its employees or if it does not offer “affordable” insurance to its employees. 3. The health insurance offered must meet the minimum value for health insurance, or 60 percent of the health care cost, as defined by ACA. (That percentage equals the bronze level plan coverage in the health care marketplace).

4. A small business owner with fewer than 25 FTEs may qualify for a Small Business Health Care Tax Credit to help with the cost of health care coverage, if the average annual salary is less than $50,000.

Roberta McCullough, Certified Health Agent for Diversified Benefits Administrators and the Healthcare Marketplace, Licensed Life & Health for NC/TN. McCullough can be reached by email at


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All of this information can be perplexing to business owners considering which way to go on providing health care for employees; and whether to offer private insurance to his/ her employees or to access the marketplace. One thing is for sure, business owners must make a choice. IT IS THE LAW! Here is a quick comparative to help you decide between selecting private insurance or signing up on the Marketplace.

Insurance Source Private


Tax Credit? N/A

# of Employees Required

Time Frame for Tax Credit

No minimum


50% of premiums 50 or fewer for paid by employer employers; can be for employee only employee only; varies for employer based on household income

Employers considered applicable large employers (ALEs), must still offer minimum essential coverage to all FTE employees (and their dependents). This coverage offers “minimum value” to their employees, or the employer is required to make what is called a “shared responsibility payment” to the IRS effective January 1, 2015. It is sometimes referred to as the “pay or play” provision. It should be noted that there are not too many employers that fall into this category based on the ‘number of employees’ threshold.

Two consecutive years for employer; can be every year for employee based on household income

Small businesses should contact their accountant or other tax advisor to ensure they understand and receive all eligible tax benefits. In addition, for more information regarding the responsibilities for the employer and the individual, visit the Affordable Care Act section of the IRS website at







The Airport Minority Advisory Council (AMAC) is pleased to have selected the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority to host a one-day Economic Opportunity and Policy Forum in Washington, DC at the Renaissance DC Downtown Hotel on Tuesday, March 22, 2016. Please join us for a day of professional development, business networking and opportunities to develop strategic partnerships. The attendees will include Airport Operators, Airline Executives, Government Officials, Prime Contractors and S/M/W/DBEs Contractors. Understanding what opportunities are available in the Eastern Region is vital, and this forum will provide important updates and opportunities. The itinerary includes educational sessions on Doing Business with Airports; Regional Opportunities and Procurement; Navigating the Certification Process; Legislative Policy Updates, and an Economic Forecast for the region.

REGISTER NOW Online registration is open until March 18, 2016. On site registration opens at 7:00 AM March 22, 2016


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business development

the state of Your Workers Compensation Insurance Submitted by Charlene J. Reynolds


s we approach a new year, it’s a great time to review your Workers Compensation Insurance policy. Most companies simply carry the coverage because it is required by state statute. This is usually determined by the number of employees, and whether they are part-time or full-time. Another reason it is obtained is to meet contractual requirements. For a small business, “Workers Comp” insurance can be a large expense depending on the type of business and the “experience modification.” The experience mod is used to determine the cost, and is based on the amount of a company's payroll. If you are the Owner, President, CEO, or Managing Member of a business, you have the option to “exclude” yourself from workers compensation coverage. So are you included or excluded on your workers compensation policy? You do have that option to exclude yourself, but maybe it's not such a good option. Before you decide to be “excluded," get a quote to see if it’s worth the cost of not being included. For example, if you are injured during the course of employment, who is going to pay your wages? Even workrelated accidents while traveling to or from a meeting or business trip potentially could be covered. If your insurance is handled by a Human Resources department, or someone else, you may want to find out if you are included.

Workers compensation is a state coverage, so if you have employees in more than one state, you must purchase coverage for each state where you have employees working. In some cases, workers compensation insurance also may be required for independent contractors. If you have workers in multiple states, you may want to check with your insurance agent to see if you need to add coverage for those states. For instance, a Virginia-based company with employees in California has to have to a California Worker's Compensation policy to cover employees there. The company can usually cover the employees in California under the same policy, but will have to carry the state's higher statutory limit for all employees covered by the policy. Next, be sure you have written proof in a Certificate of Insurance document, as evidence of all the states covered by your policy. This assures that your company is not violating any state's insurance statutory requires. In some states, a company can be ordered to cease and desist operations for not carrying the appropriate workers comp coverage. Under the terms and conditions of most workers compensation policies, the insurance company has the option to conduct an audit at the end of the policy period. The audit usually involves your company providing verification of

Charlene J. Reynolds, an Insurance and Risk Management Consultant, has over 31 years of insurance claims, broker and risk management experience. She is CEO of Creative Insurance Concepts, Inc. in Northern Virginia. Email for a complimentary workers comp review.


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the actual payroll paid to your covered Workers Comp employees. If you underestimated the payroll, the insurance company may charge an additional premium for the difference; and to your benefit, if you overestimated your payroll, you should request and seek a premium refund or credit for the following year’s premium. It is important to separate each employee based on their job title to make sure you are not overpaying or underpaying for the coverage. If you subcontract work, make sure subcontractors carry the Workers Comp coverage, otherwise in the event of an accident, you may be forced to provide the coverage for your subcontractor’s employees. When it comes to insurance, your employees, customers and subcontractors count on you to be insurance compliant, and no one likes surprises. Remember: It's better to know it and not need it, than to need it and not know it. It’s also better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.

NAMC Sets Sights on DBE Program Compliance By American DBE Staff

NAMC President Stemley (4th from R) participated in the Congressional Black Caucus Policy Institute panel discussion on Transportation & Infrastructure with (l-r) Congressman John Lewis, Congresswoman Marcia Fudge, Valton Barrett, Congresswoman Stacey Plaskett, AMAC’s Shelby Scales, Warren Miller, and Congressman Hank Johnson.


s a leading proponent for diversity and inclusion in the construction industry, the National Association of Minority Contractors (NAMC) has made advocating for continued improvements to the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) program a key legislative initiative in 2016. The organization asserts that there is still significant ground to cover to achieve full inclusion in the $40 billion per year transportation projects that are funded by taxpayer dollars.

The NAMC board of directors recently published its legislative agenda for 2016 after meeting during the fourth quarter of 2015 to clarify the organization’s objectives under the leadership of newly elected president Wendell Stemley. “We are committed to being on the forefront of addressing the lack of full access for minorities in the transportation industry relating to employment and contracting opportunities. While strides are being made, we are nowhere close to where we need to be,” Stemley said.

NAMC efforts are timely, given passage of the recent Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act in December 2015. The legislation authorizes over $300 billion in funding for transportation projects over the next five years, which potentially presents opportunities for DBE firms. The new legislation also addresses a long-standing issue in the DBE community by requiring the U.S. Department of Transportation to undertake measures to ensure prompt payment to DBEs working // winter 2016


on transportation projects. Prompt payment has often been cited by DBEs to be a major obstacle in growing a successful company by working on transportation projects. NAMC’s foundation for the 2016 legislative initiatives rests heavily on the DBE program audit released by the Office of the Inspector General in 2013. The audit outlined numerous problems in the program’s administration and made a litany of recommendations that USDOT committed to address. Since the audit, USDOT has launched several new initiatives to increase the program's structure and accountability, but NAMC intends to continue monitoring the improvements in the DBE program and ensuring their voice is heard as stakeholders in the process. “We need to be at the table consistently to make sure progress is made and translates into more dollars and opportunities in employment and contracts for minorities,” Stemley said. NAMC has also partnered with the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) to join the USDOT Congressional Black Caucus Roundtable to promote diversity and inclusion. The Roundtable consists of NAMC and other organizations advocating for minority participation in the industry. The group recently convened for a panel discussion at the CBC Policy Institute in Tunica, Mississippi to collaborate on strategies to move their efforts forward. President Stemley served as NAMC’s representative and worked alongside several CBC members to discuss the ongoing need for improvement in DBE program compliance and oversight in several states across the country.

During 2016, NAMC’s 17 chapters across the country will monitor the implementation of the DBE program in their locale and report information to Stemley. Meanwhile Stemley will continue to engage USDOT and congressional leadership on the ongoing needs of minority and disadvantaged firms to achieve full inclusion in the transportation industry. NAMC also stands committed to job readiness programs, striving to engage local communities in being a major part of the 4.6 million skilled workers needed to rebuild the infrastructure of America. “We will watch what DOT does very closely,” Stemley said. “There are states like Ohio, Washington, and many others that have been negligent in their compliance with the DBE program, and we think it is time for that to stop so minority contractors can get a fair slice of the pie.” The National Association of Minority Contractors (NAMC) is a 46-year old trade association that assists members with building capacity by providing access to opportunity, advocacy, and contractor development in collaboration with strategic alliances. The organization’s mission is to serve and develop the economic base of diverse communities by ensuring equal access to public and private construction contract opportunities. At present, the association is represented by 17 chapters across the country with over 800 constituent members and more than 30 major corporate partners and owners, strategic alliances, and NAMC Legacy Builders with over $1 billion of project capacity.



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The Sugar Creek I-77 Express Lanes Bonding Education Program provided 23 DBE firms with training on how to improve business success and get approved for surety bonding.

Ready for Action Sugar Creek I-77 Bonding Education Program Prepares DBEs for Contract Opportunities By American DBE Staff


isadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBEs) in and around the Charlotte, NC area are anticipating major opportunities on the upcoming I-77 Hot Lanes project just north of the metro area. In order to maximize their opportunities for success, 23 firms recently participated in the Bonding Education Program (BEP) co-sponsored by Sugar Creek Construction, LLC, the South Atlantic Small Business Transportation Resource Center (SA-SBTRC), and Central Piedmont Community College. Sugar Creek Construction is the prime contractor on the $600 million project to widen a 26-mile stretch of highway from the Northwest edge of Charlotte northwards to the rapidly growing Lake Norman area. The I-77 Express Lanes project is a public-private partnership between the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) and I-77

Mobility Partners. The project broke ground in November 2015 and will be completed in 2018. “We decided to take part in the bonding education class to learn more about the rules, policies and programs so that we can be involved in the bidding process for transportation projects,” said Anita Staton, owner of Miles Freight Solutions in Charlotte. “Small businesses are the engine for job creation in the community and projects like this allow small businesses the potential opportunity to bring more staff on board, which in turn generates money back into the local economy.”

Association of America. The multi-week training and development program has been offered to small businesses across the country for over five years and has provided hundreds of DBEs with guidance and one-on-one assistance with becoming a bondable company. The hallmark of the program is the participation of bonding agents from surety companies that provide counseling to DBEs, to offering feedback and recommendations on things they can do to improve their business and achieve the backing of a surety company. Participants in the program also receive training in areas such as marketing, financial management, and technical skills.

The Bonding Education Program is a nationwide initiative of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Office of Small Disadvantaged Business Utilization in partnership with the Surety & Fidelity

The I-77 Sugar Creek BEP program included sessions led by bonding professionals, banking professionals, NCDOT certification and prequalification officials, and legal // winter 2016


experts. In addition to valuable networking opportunities, BEP clients learned from industry experts about critical topics like bid preparation, Davis-Bacon and prevailing wage requirements, and safety protocols. The goal of the program was to provide DBEs with technical support and access to resources so they can build capacity and successfully compete for subcontracting opportunities. Nathaniel Jones, president of Supreme Sweepers in Charlotte, was one of the participants in the program. Jones attended the BEP while also completing the paperwork to become a DBE in North Carolina. “I thought the program was very informative,” Jones said. “It helped me fill in a lot of the holes I had about the process and also allowed me to meet other firms that are in a similar situation as my business. I thought the camaraderie among the students was great.” Jones plans to bid on contracts to provide power sweeping services on the I-77 Hot Lanes project to remove debris after milling operations on the project.

Supreme Sweepers president Nathaniel Jones receives his BEP completion award from (l-r) Tamika Thornton, Sugar Creek Construction; Joanne Brooks, Surety & Fidelity Association of America; and Kaye Gantt, Small Business Transportation Resource Center.

South Atlantic Region SBTRC Program Director Kaye Gantt said, “The firms that benefit the most from the BEP are those that spend the time to work on the business, paying attention to details more than just the day-to-day operations of working in the business: back-office processes, knowing important information about operations, payroll, compliance, and accounting, are all important components of building a successful and sustainable business.” I-77 Mobility Partners and Sugar Creek Construction make a practice of hiring local and regional contractors, subcontractors,

consultants, material suppliers, and other vendors in the project area. During construction the project’s contractor, Sugar Creek Construction, estimates between 50-100 local firms are expected to work on the project. “We believe it is important to work with local firms during the design and construction of this project because a project of this size is a catalyst for generating jobs and stimulating economic development for the region,” said Angela Roberson, Corporate Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Manager for Sugar Creek Construction. “We have used this model on other projects and it has produced amazing results. We are excited to do the same in this region.”

// winter 2016 Calendar of Events National Association of Black Women in Construction Annual Meeting January 22-23, 2016; Atlanta, GA

Conference of Minority Transportation Officials (COMTO) Celebrating Women Who Move the Nation March 16, 2016; Washington, DC

National Minority Supplier Development Council Impact 2016 March 2, 2016; Las Vegas, NV

Airport Minority Advisory Council (AMAC) Airports Economic Opportunity & Policy Forum March 22, 2016; Washington, DC

National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) Women in Construction Week March 6-12, 2016; Nationwide

Airport Minority Advisory Council (AMAC) Leadership Summit on Capitol Hill March 23-24, 2016; Washington, DC


// winter 2016

// winter 2016


Under The Leadership Of Mayor Michael B. Coleman, We Have Awarded Over One Half A Billion Dollars To Minority And Female Firms, since the year of 2000. The City Of Columbus Equal Business Opportunity Office Currently Has A Directory Of Nearly 500 Certified Minority And Female Owned Businesses. EBO Grants Reciprocal Certification For The State Of Ohio, The Ohio Department Of Transportation, And The Ohio Minority Supplier Devolvement Council. “Small Businesses Are Important Economic Engines That Create Jobs And Opportunities For Many Of Our Residents, Enriching Our Families And Neighborhoods!� - Melinda Carter, Executive Director

Contact EBO, at 614-645-4764, or visit us online, at to learn how quick and easy it is to get your business ready, willing, and able to do business with the City of Columbus. We look forward to you Joining Us!

1393 E. Broad Street Columbus, OH 43205 Phone: (614) 645-4764 Fax: (614) 645-6669


// winter 2016

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