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IAH will open 120 new restaurants and stores and add more than 2,000 new parking spaces over the next decade. Diaz said: “Houston is the most diverse city in the United States, and as such it is important that we provide opportunities to businesses that reflect that population. That’s not easy, and it takes more than cursory efforts to open doors that were not available to many not so long ago. The Houston Airport System made a commitment to being an agent of change when it established its Office of Business Opportunity. Our program is committed to creating a level playing field on which Disadvantaged Business Enterprises, Minority and Women, Small and Persons with Disabilities Business Enterprises can participate in an environment that removes barriers, ensures nondiscrimination, and provides the tools necessary to compete successfully.”

In the midst of a 10-year, $4 billion capital improvement program, the sheer number of opportunities for participation in projects in Houston is impressive. Foremost is the International Terminal Redevelopment Project. The planned $1.5 billion expansion of the Mickey Leland International Terminal at Bush Airport is scheduled to begin before the end of 2017 and will consist of the demolition of United’s old terminal building and the construction of a new 780,000-square-foot terminal, also known as Terminal D. The new international terminal will be 53 percent larger than the current structure, will feature 15 gates (all wide-body capable), and make strong use of natural light throughout the facility.

The focus on ensuring DBE participation during this period of substantial growth has been vital. With an overall goal of 29 percent participation, the airport system’s OBO program strives to meet and exceed that number for airport improvements projects.

The airport system hosted a daylong outreach event in December 2016 to provide DBEs an overview of the project and share information on how to pursue contracting opportunities. Project coordinators anticipate the MBE and WBE goals on design and construction contracts for the project to be 30 percent for design and approximately 30 percent for construction.

“The main focus of the HAS OBO office is to make small businesses successful,” said Jason McLemore, the Deputy Assistant Director at the airport system in charge of the OBO program. “This has been accomplished through Industry Days, One-on-One business coaching sessions and countless networking opportunities.”

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“Each contract is evaluated on a case-bycase basis to determine the highest level of minority and small business participation based on the available, ready, willing and able contractors in the marketplace,” McLemore said.

AMAC Board Member and HAS Chief Municipal & Community Affairs Officer Rhonda Arnold serves as the Local Chair of the 2017 Airport Business Diversity Conference

In partnership with United Airlines, the linchpin in the International Terminal Redevelopment Program was the opening of the new Terminal C North at Bush Airport project in March 2017. The $244 million project produced a 265,000-square-foot terminal with 11 passenger gates that will house a regional hub for United. MBEs and WBEs participated significantly, getting 32 percent of the expenditures on the project.

American DBE Magazine - Spring 2017  

American DBE Magazine is a quarterly digital and print publication dedicated to increasing business diversity and inclusion in the transport...

American DBE Magazine - Spring 2017  

American DBE Magazine is a quarterly digital and print publication dedicated to increasing business diversity and inclusion in the transport...