With cold weather coming on, road work in Alaska will probably be slowing down for another long winter. But that doesn’t mean our 49th State’s infrastructure businesses will be taking it easy.
For Alaska’s small and disadvantaged businesses, next week brings the opportunity to step up to the next level through a Bonding Education Program (BEP) from DOT's Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU).
Bonding opens the door for businesses to expand. Without bonding, a small business looking for work must rely on a prime contractor. Once bonded, that business can compete directly for work. It's an important step toward growth and independent access to bigger and better contracts.
But getting bonded isn't easy. That's why, since 2010, OSDBU has been helping businesses learn the ins-and-outs of the bonding process.
The BEP is the first of its kind at DOT and helps small businesses obtain and build bonding capacity by partnering with the Surety and Fidelity Association of America. The BEP has been established in 26 cities since 2010 and plans have been made to expand the program to at least 20 more cities in 2013. More than $200 million in aggregate bonding capacity for BEP participants has been obtained thus far.
In fact, the OSDBU team is finishing up a Bonding Education Program in Sacramento today. Sessions in Portland, OR, and Houston also ended recently.
And the program is making a difference to our nation’s job creators.
"The paperwork the bonding companies required seemed overwhelming. But after the third Bonding Education class, we were much better informed and were beginning to see the big picture. By the fifth class, we were able to instruct our accountant how to submit information to meet the requirements. And by the last class, we had successfully obtained bonding for more than $300,000!”
In Minneapolis, MAG Mechanical obtained $500,000 in bonding capacity after completing the Bonding Education Program. Formerly, MAG had been unable to get bonded and had missed several opportunities. Now, owner Tony Goze says, “We have expanded our core crew, along with hiring additional support staff. Bonding has helped turn our growth goals into reality."
And in Dallas, JBa Land Management transformed $1.5 million in new bonding capacity into six new jobs. Some of JBa's clients now include Dallas Area Rapid Transit and Dallas Fort Worth International Airport.
Helping small and disadvantaged businesses (DBEs) learn how to navigate the bonding process is a terrific investment for America. As Felipe Moran of Henderson, Colorado's Moran Custom Fabrication, said:
"A long time ago, I was told you don't have to know everything; you just have to know where to go to get the information. Now I know where to go, and I am so glad for this program."
Having secured eight different jobs with the Colorado DOT and the Denver area's Regional Transportation District since getting bonded, Felipe knows what he's talking about.
Here's hoping those attending next week’s session in Alaska and upcoming sessions in Chicago, Jackson, and San Antonio experience the same success, making the leap to the next level of competitiveness and adding more of the jobs America needs.