On the afternoon of June 26, Tampa International Airport held its largest Subcontractor Outreach Fair, designed to connect subcontractor businesses – particularly those that are local, minority-owned or woman-owned – with the airport’s selected design/build firms for upcoming Master Plan first phase project construction.
More than 400 people packed the Tampa Airport Marriott ballroom and networked with representatives from Austin Commercial, Skanska, Kimmins Contracting, Cone and Graham and Hensel Phelps. A surety consultant was on site to discuss bonding for the projects, and airport representatives helped woman- and minority-owned businesses learn more about its Disadvantaged Business Enterprise and Woman and Minority Owned Business Enterprise Programs.
“I guess the saying ‘build it and they will come’ is not exactly correct,” said Tampa International Airport CEO Joe Lopano, who welcomed the crowd. “The more appropriate saying would be ‘plan to build it and they will come.’”
The design/build firms selected earlier this year by the Hillsborough County Aviation Authority Board will oversee the construction of the airport’s future Consolidated Rental Car Facility (ConRAC), Automated People Mover, main terminal expansion and Taxiway J – all of which will be built by subcontractors. The projects, scheduled to break ground later this year and be completed in 2017, will create 9,000 jobs and are estimated to generate a $370 million economic impact on the community. Other projects featured included roadway improvements and upgrades to the airport’s checked baggage system.
The airport intends for many of those jobs to go to minority-owned and woman-owned businesses as part of its Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Program. The outreach fair went a long way in helping the design/build firms identify and learn more about those businesses in the area, said Elita McMillon, Tampa International Airport’s Director of Ethics, Diversity, and Administration.
Of the 400-plus attendees at the event, about half represented certified minority- and woman-owned firms.
“We were pleased with the turnout at the event, which was even more than we expected,” McMillon said. “Tampa International Airport is located within a diverse community and it is essential that we engage all business sectors in airport projects. We hope this and other outreach efforts will make it easy for us to exceed our diversity goals.”
See who attended the fair here.