Happy New Year from everyone here at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey’s Office of Business Diversity and Civil Rights (OBDCR).
The Port Authority was very busy in last year’s final quarter. We adopted a $7 billion budget for 2012, which includes $3.66 billion allocated for capital spending. These funds will keep our priority capital projects moving forward, as well as maintain our existing agency facilities in a state of good repair. Highlights include a $2 billion commitment to our continuing campaign of WTC redevelopment; $17.7 million for Stewart Airport upgrades; more than $350 million for PATH modernization; $88.4 million over three years to rehabilitate the Lincoln Tunnel Helix, including $2 million dedicated to public outreach; $15 million for the Bayonne Bridge; and nearly $37 million for the Goethals Bridge. Commensurate with these funding commitments, we look forward to working closely with our experienced agency staff – including our Engineering and Procurement departments -- to maximize opportunities for M/W/S/DBEs.
We made major strides toward that goal last year. By Q3 2011, the Port Authority’s total MWBE awards totaled about $235 million or about 15.1 percent of overall contracts awarded – a modest increase over the same period from the previous year. We’re excited to say that $12.8 million of that total went to MWBEs engaged as prime contractors, a healthy 37 percent increase over the same period in that category from the previous year. We’re proud to note that several of the firms awarded publicly advertised contracts are participants in our Mentor-Protégé Program. And of course in 2011, we surpassed the billion-dollar milestone for WTC awards to MWBEs.
But we certainly didn’t stop there. Last year, we performed outreach and recruitment activities at 60 events (including three business conferences held in Albany with NYS legislator sponsorships) that attracted about 11,200 M/WBE business owners. Working closely with our internal Port Authority departments and partners, we advocated the use of M/WBEs and ensured that our prime contractors adhered to their good faith provisions. For these reasons and many more, demand for Port Authority M/WBE and DBE certification remained high. In 2011, our Certification Unit staff worked diligently to review and process 900 certification applications.
In 2011, we also saw increased use of our Mini-Profile Database, a powerful tool that allows contractors and agencies to search for certified M/WBEs that match their subcontracting needs. Our WTC Business Resource Center saw more use than ever before, connecting business owners with contract offers.
Membership in our OBDCR LinkedIn group (Supplier Diversity Programs at the Port of NY & NJ) skyrocketed past 350 members and contributed to our building a broader, more tightly-knit, and better-informed community. Joining our group puts technical assistance, business resources, and special events at your fingertips to support and help grow your company. Join our LinkedIn group by clicking here.
Our work with Janitorial Maintenance Small Business Enterprises (JMSBE) reached new heights. We promoted and hosted several cutting-edge programs for JMSBEs, including a number of mini-fairs to recruit new members, writing workshops that provided tips to creating the most compelling prequalification responses, and a Business Credit Fair that provided access to 13 different exhibitors representing several different funding sources. We followed these up with a busy itinerary of classes and seminars in social media, OSHA training, blueprint reading, construction cost estimation, computer skills, and the use of project management software. We also offered our Construction Management Certificate program. Bookmark our training and events calendar to stay informed about our capacity building programs and business classes.
But then we figured, Why stop there? We offered on-line resources, including our quarterly Opportunity Report, which keeps you in the loop and up to date about goings and business opportunities at the Port Authority. Missed an issue, no problem, all past newsletters are archived and available on our website. We offered capacity building programs, an up-to-date listing of bid advertisements, links to possible subcontracting opportunities, and information on project and contract authorizations by the Port Authority Board of Commissioners. I encourage you to visit these links regularly.
Last autumn, I was honored to be selected as the 2011 Top 30 Champion of Diversity by Diversity Plus magazine. And as thrilling as it was to be recognized by such a prestigious publication, I know that such accolades also belong to my very talented, hard-working staff, and also – in no small part – to you, our constituents and friends.
In business, as in life, opportunities abound. Some pursue them actively while others watch them slip away and moan about the loss. We at the Office of Business Diversity and Civil Rights are proud to help your firm excel, but the commitment to grow your business has always been yours. You bring the creativity. The hard work. The resiliency. The willingness to learn. You bring the courage to set new goals and rise to challenges day in, day out.
With a brand new year unfolding before us, I hereby recognize you, a business pioneer, for what you’ve accomplished in all the years past, and will in days to come. Please know that our greatest pleasure lies in matching you stride for stride.
Director, Office of Business Diversity and Civil Rights
The Port Authority of New York & New Jersey
To support its continuing bid to receive federal funding slated to build and maintain transportation infrastructure critical to the region, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey announced the reorganization of its Office of Business and Job Opportunity earlier this year. The new structure, now called the Office of Business Diversity and Civil Rights, will offer all the same services as the previous entity while more aggressively pursuing compliance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, along with all related regulations and Executive Orders.
Lash Green, who served as Director of the Office of Business and Job Opportunity, was tapped to serve as head of the new Office of Business Diversity and Civil Rights by former Port Authority Executive Director Chris Ward.
In a memo circulated to Port Authority staff last spring, Ward noted that Green has managed the Port Authority’s highly regarded Minority, Women-owned and Small Business Enterprise (M/W/SBE) Program since 2007, and that he oversees the administration of the federal Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Program, including the Airport Concession DBE Program, in concert with the Port Authority’s Aviation Department and the Federal Aviation Administration.
“A big part of the new office is to ensure that our agency complies with the provisions of Title VI,” says Green. “The legislation provides that no person shall be excluded from participation in or denied the benefits of Port Authority business activities or services on the basis of race, color, gender, national origin, disability, income, or age.”
Green reports directly to the new Port Authority Executive Director Patrick Foye on matters of Title VI compliance, and to the Chief of Capital Planning on all other matters.
A Title VI Program further supports the mission the Port Authority has always maintained to maximize opportunities for M/W/S/DBEs. By making sure that Title VI language is included in contract advertisements and award letters, it ensures a thorough review of the prime contractor’s M/W/DBE participation plan. It also makes certain that the prime contractors are consulting with their M/W/DBE subs to identify possible barriers to their participation, then using this information to eliminate the barriers.
Says Jacqueline Grossgold, Title VI/Civil Rights Program Manager for OBDCR: “Basically, [the new office] crystallizes many of the processes our agency already had in place to support our M/W/S/DBE community. If you’re a prime contractor, you’ll know we’re watching to make sure you’re in strict compliance with federal law. If you’re a subcontractor, you can rest assured that we’re watching the primes on your behalf. And if you don’t end up getting a job, it’s not due to any sort of discrimination.”
Title VI compliance also makes a tremendous and specific impact on the participation of DBEs.
Says Grossgold: "The objectives of a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Program are twofold. First: to ensure nondiscrimination in the awarding and administration of federally funded or assisted contracts. Two: to create a level playing field on which DBEs can compete fairly for contracts.
"As an offshoot, we will confirm that DBEs are actually performing a commercially useful function on the contracts they’re awarded. Essentially, it ensures that minority businesses get afforded a fair and representative opportunity to do business."
In addition to contract opportunities, Title VI ensures that various social, economic, and ethnic interest groups have representation in the transportation planning process. The Port Authority regularly disseminates information on upcoming projects to minority media and ethnic/gender related organizations as well as hosts roundtable meetings in predominantly minority communities to ensure their kept up to date and involved in the process.
On June 30, 2011, the Port Authority Board of Commissioners approved a plan to renovate the George Washington Bridge Bus Station for $183.2 million. The Port Authority will invest $83.2 million of that total with the rest coming from private capital.
Remarking on the plan’s approval, Port Authority Chairman David Samson said, “Through this unique [public and private] partnership, the Port Authority will help ease the commute for people on both sides of the river by reducing traffic on the world’s busiest bridge. At the same time, we’ll be putting more than 700 people to work, providing a major boost to the regional economy.”
The new, state-of-the art facility will feature new bus loading areas, 21 gates, passenger amenities, elevators, escalators, real-time signage, and enhanced life safety systems. It consolidates all bus operations under a single open-air rooftop concourse with a modern, fully air-conditioned passenger pavilion, waiting area, ticketing, and restrooms. The GWB Bus Station Marketplace retail space, will quadruple the current retail space of 30,000 square feet to 120,000. Major retailers have already finalized leases. The renovation will also create 530 construction jobs and 746 permanent jobs. Construction is scheduled to begin in the spring of 2012 and finish near the end of 2013.
Overall, the project marks the most significant construction endeavor to take place at the station since it opened for business in 1963.
“This bus station is part of the fabric of the community,” says Stephen McBride of SJM Partners, one of two principal firms comprising George Washington Bridge Bus Station Development Venture LLC. “The renovation will create a state-of-the-art transportation facility and play an integral part in transforming Washington Heights.”
“You can say so many good things about this project,” says Port Authority Real Estate Manager Carrol Bennett. “It will improve the efficiency and quality of bus operations at the George Washington Bridge Bus Station. It will provide new retail venues to the neighborhood and a higher quality of service to bus station patrons. But it also creates a host of opportunities for our certified M/W/SBE vendors.”
Development of the project and management of the new space falls under a lease signed on July 21, 2011.
According to Port Authority policy, the principals in the development venture must make good faith efforts to subcontract 12% to Minority and 5% to Women-owned Business Enterprises, which they plan to reach or exceed.
So be sure to stay tuned for information about opportunities under this project by visiting our website or by contacting:
(301) 299 8616
|NYS Black & Puerto Rican Caucus||February 17-19, 2012|
|35th Annual Legislative Business Development Conference||February 18, 2012|
|Alliance Mid-Atlantic Small Business Procurement Fair||March 6, 2012|
|2012 Contractors' Clearinghouse||March 8, 2012|
|25th Anniversary SOMOS Annual Spring Conference||March 23-25, 2012|
|OSHA 10-hour Training||February 7-8, 2012|
|Construction Management Certificate Course||Begins March 3, 2012|
M/W/S/DBE Certification Unit
Manager, Business Utilization and Services
Pr. Business Development Representative
WTC Retail, Real Estate and corporate commodities and services
Pr. Business Development Representative
JFK, LGA and WTC construction
Pr. Business Development Representative
JFK, LGA, EWR commodities and services, PATH construction, commodities and services
Pr. Business Development Representative
EWR construction, Teterboro and Stewart airport construction, commodities and services
Business Development Representative
LT, HT, GWB, OBX, BB and NY & NJ Marine Terminals construction, commodities and services
The Opportunity Report is published by The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
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