By Lisa Killingsworth & Renee Prewitt
The Michigan Department of Transportation’s 34th Annual DBE and Small Business Conference was in full-swing from March 31 – April 1, 2014, at the Marriott Hotel, in Pontiac, Michigan. Day One opened with remarks from MDOT’s leadership, focusing on the warming business climate in the State, and how to effectively do business with MDOT.
The Region Engineer Panel, moderated by Gregory C.
Johnson, MDOT COO, offered participants an overview
of “The Role of the Region Engineer and Why It’s Important.”
Kim Avery, MDOT Metro Region, said she wants to make
sure DBE’s have access to the people and services they need.
The morning workshops included:
- MDOT E-Construction Initiatives: What You Need to Know to Compete for Future MDOT Contracts
- Understanding MDOT Expectations for Consultant Proposals
- How to Pepare and Submit a Successful Consultant Proposal.
Day Two of the conference featured a keynote address by Sundra Ryce, president and CEO of SLR Contracting & Service Company, Inc. who advised fellow DBEs not to worry about being taken advantage of, but to evaluate the long range potential of projects. She did and ended up being part of a billion dollar development in Buffalo, NY.
Breakout sessions included:
- Innovative Contracting at MDOT
- How to Submit a Competitive Construction Bid to MDOT
- Who Does What on a Construction Project?
Russell Jorgenson of the Federal Highway Administration of Michigan, said, “We want to reach 9% DBE contract participation this year.”
The Conference Vendor Fair offered small businesses opportunities to discuss their products and services and how to work with other small firms to achieve long term business objectives. An informal networking reception followed the Vendor Fair.
The conference ended with a Transit Summit that encouraged participants to imagine the future of the transportation industry, how working collaboratively can achieve these goals, and project requirements around the State.