Governor Cuomo's office announced a streamlined M/WBE certification process between The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and the New York State Department of Economic Development, Division of Minority and Women's Business Development (New York State). The announcement took place in February, at the 41st Annual Legislative Conference organized by the New York State Association of Black & Puerto Rican Legislators, Inc. in Albany, New York.
This effort was championed to make it easier for minority and women-owned businesses to obtain M/WBE certification and gain access to special vendor programs and regional contracting opportunities. Under the new agreement, first-time applicants can submit a fully completed M/WBE Certification Application to one of the agencies, along with the completed Addendum for the other agency. If the receiving agency certifies the applicant firm, it will -- as a courtesy -- forward the firm's application, certification letter, and addendum to the other agency for certification review.
For example, if Firm ABC would like to obtain M/WBE Certification with both New York State and the Port Authority, it will submit a completed New York State M/WBE Certification Application and a Port Authority Addendum to the State of New York. If the State of New York certifies Firm ABC, it will then forward a copy of its certification letter along with ABC's application and Port Authority Addendum to the Port Authority for certification review. Please note that the process works exactly the same way from the other end of the channel.
Both certifying agencies reserve the right to request additional information from Applicants to determine the business enterprise's eligibility for certification as M/WBEs.
"This is a big step forward," said Lash Green, Director of the Port Authority's Office of Business Diversity and Civil Rights. "A streamlined certification process between our agency and New York State encourages the participation of M/WBEs in the economic mainstream. We can now get qualified firms involved in a shorter timeframe, and across two certification strata rather than one. We're very proud to see this initiative move forward, and thankful for the commitment we've received from our partners at New York State."
An official Memorandum of Understanding between the Port Authority and New York State echoed Green's comments. The memo called the agency and New York State "mutually recognized partners" that both seek to "assist in the growth and development of businesses owned and controlled by women and minorities" as well as to expand "the pool of qualified M/WBEs."
Construction projects at facilities owned and/or operated by The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, including our airports and terminal facilities, stimulate the regional economy. Our tenants are supportive business partners that share our commitment to increase opportunities for small, minority, and women-owned businesses in all contracting activities including construction.
Work done to alter a public facility or Port Authority leasehold must conform to the agency's Tenant Alteration Application Process. This process recently underwent revision to ensure consistent adherence to Port Authority policies and procedures including M/WBE requirements throughout our facilities. As of January 2012, the new process became known as the Tenant Construction and Alteration Process, or TCAP.
Apart from providing a means to manage new construction, TCAP:
Ultimately, TCAP serves as a vehicle to protect and enhance the experience of the end user so that everyone benefits.
Moving forward, the following important changes apply. M/WBE sub-contractors (and firms hoping to become certified as M/WBEs) should note that:
In other words, it's more important than ever for firms to become certified as Port Authority M/WBEs.
To view a copy of the new Tenant Construction and Alteration Process Manual, or to download checklists, diagrams, forms, permits, and certificates, please click here.
To learn about contracting opportunities with our airport tenants, including Delta Air Lines (JFK and LGA) and Signature Flight Support (EWR), please contact Connie DeLaigle at (718) 244-4743 and Dolores Pollard at (973) 961-6331, respectively.
Have you ever wondered what criteria are required to qualify as a Port Authority-certified minority or woman-owned business?
Well, wonder no more. The Port Authority's Office of Business Diversity and Civil Rights has produced a six-minute video that outlines the process.
Did you know that:
Antonio Ramirez, President of D-Star Waterproofing, decided to become a Port Authority certified minority-owned business because of "the opportunities that were available."
In 2010, D-Star Waterproofing won a significant multi-million dollar contract to provide work on the WTC Transportation Hub project.
Says Mr. Ramirez, "It was a tough process, but it pays off in the end. I advise anybody that's considering [getting certified] to forge ahead . . .and do what you have to do to get there."
Founded in 1992, the Industrial Commercial Cleaning Group, Inc. (ICCG) provides full facility support maintenance. ICCG currently enjoys certification as an M/W/S/DBE.
"We found it particularly rewarding to certify with The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey," says Kim Jordan Epps of ICCG. "The certification process was difficult, but ultimately proved instrumental in our quest to diversify and build our client base. We now work with companies doing business with the Port Authority, New Jersey Transit, Philadelphia Housing Authority, Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, and other government agencies."
Ms. Epps called ICCG's M/WBE certification through the Port Authority "the turning point" for her business. In 2011, ICCG won a $1.4 million publicly advertised Newark Airport Terminal B Baggage Handling contract. ICCG also qualified to participate in the Port Authority's Janitorial Maintenance Small Business Enterprise Program, which provides Port Authority-certified janitorial firms the opportunity to compete with companies of similar size and capacity for nearly 20 cleaning contracts valued between $35,000 and $16.5 million a year.
Says Ms. Epps, "I recommend that all small businesses seeking growth begin the process of becoming certified."
Based in New York City, American Fire Control became a Port Authority certified MBE in March of 2011. Almost immediately, the firm won a publicly advertised fire protection and services contract for Tunnels, Bridges, and Terminal facilities valued at $109,000.
Says Londel Davis of American Fire Control, "Getting certified by the Port Authority opened doors to a breadth of opportunities. Without hesitation, I recommend that qualified firms contact OBDCR and get certified."
To view the new certification video, and to learn about the opportunities available for certified M/WBEs, click here.
Economic uncertainty seemed to dominate 2011. Nonetheless, The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey managed to reach several impressive milestones in its ongoing partnership with the M/W/S/DBE community. We're proud to note that:
The list of accomplishments goes on and on. We're proud to say that you helped us create it. To view the full list of 2011 highlights, click here.
The Opportunity Report is published by The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
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To check the status of your certification please email: OBJOcert@panynj.gov