Press Release Article


Date: Jun 05, 2003
Press Release Number: 76-2003

The Port Authority is expanding its year-old mentor-protégé program that arranges for large construction companies to mentor minority-owned, women-owned and small businesses. This pioneer program gives small firms the opportunity to benefit from the knowledge and experience possessed by larger companies so that the smaller firms can enhance their ability to compete for Port Authority contracts.

Port Authority Chairman Anthony R. Coscia said, \"Small businesses of all kinds are vital to keeping the regional economy strong. The Port Authority’s mentor-protégé program is one way to help to ensure that small construction firms are able to thrive in their highly competitive industry.\"

Port Authority Executive Director Joseph J. Seymour said, \"Programs like this demonstrate the agency’s commitment to improving the small contractor’s chances of
long-term success by helping them to acquire the experiences and opportunities they need to prosper, thereby creating jobs for our region.\"

For the past year, major construction companies – Railroad Construction Company, Inc., Turner Construction Company and V.R.H. Construction Corporation of New Jersey; and Perini Corporation, Twin Towers Enterprises, Inc., Tully Construction Company, Inc., and Skanska Building USA, Inc., of New York City – have mentored seven protégé firms.

Skanska USA, one of the region’s most successful construction firms, believes strongly that its association with the program has been very valuable. \"This is a win-win situation,\" said Skanska Assistant Vice President Greg Gambino. \"Protégé companies receive valuable experience and information while mentors help to create sources for reliable subcontractors ready to take on larger construction jobs and responsibilities.\"

Participating companies and their protégés will continue with the program for at least two more years. The Port Authority is adding new mentor companies – including the New Jersey-based Granite Halmar Company, Inc., Kevco Electric, Inc., RCC Electric, Inc., the Austin Helle Company, Inc., and M.J. Paquet, Inc.

New protégés starting the program include the New Jersey-based companies Cruz Concrete & Guniting Repair, Inc., the S&J Electrical Contractors Corporation, Precision General Contractors, Inc., Empiyah and Company, Inc., and RML Construction, Inc.; and New York-based firms Aurora Electric, Inc., Voltaic Electrical Company, JCF Electric, Inc. and Attri Enterprises, Inc. Some of the mentor companies may work with more than one protégé.

Sharon Construction President Richard Fernandez said the experience with mentor company Turner Construction has been very positive. \"It’s been a valuable opportunity to enhance our marketability. It gives smaller contractors like us the opportunity to network with the larger ones, expand our knowledge and skills and demonstrate our ability to successfully handle larger responsibilities,\" Mr. Fernandez said.

Port Authority Chief Engineer Frank Lombardi said, \"The program’s first year has been a rousing success. The agency is now looking for additional companies that can participate as mentors in this program.\"

Wil Chabrier, General Manager of the Port Authority’s Business and Job Opportunity Office, said, \"In order to become a protégé, a company must have passed the Port Authority’s strict vendor certification process and have completed jobs for the agency. All of the mentors are well-known construction companies that have worked on large projects for the agency. They have graciously donated their very valuable time, resources and expertise to help to ensure the program’s success.\"

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey operates some of the busiest and most important transportation links in the region. They include John F. Kennedy International, Newark Liberty International, LaGuardia and Teterboro airports; the George Washington Bridge; the Lincoln and Holland tunnels; the three bridges between Staten Island and New Jersey; the PATH rapid-transit system; the Downtown Manhattan Heliport; Port Newark; the Elizabeth-Port Authority Marine Terminal; the Howland Hook Marine Terminal on Staten Island; the Brooklyn Piers/Red Hook Container Terminal; and the Port Authority Bus Terminal in midtown Manhattan. The agency also owns the 16-acre World Trade Center site in Lower Manhattan. The Port Authority is financially self-supporting and receives no tax revenue from either state.