Janitorial Services outreach draws praise from local, women and minority business owners

(January 8, 2015) - Keeping Tampa International Airport’s award-winning facilities clean is a huge job. And for decades, that job has belonged to a national firm with the expertise TPA needed. 

While that firm has done a wonderful job keeping the airport in tip-top shape, the Aviation Authority decided it was time to redevelop the contract, redefine how the cleaning services will be managed and essentially open what has been $8-million in work to more women- and minority-owned businesses.

 Janitorial Contract outreach event

On Jan. 6, the airport hosted a Janitorial Services Information and Networking Session to welcome interested business owners and explain the basics of the two new solicitations for the TPA terminal and remote facilities, such as the cell phone lot and warehouses.

The session drew 58 people, many of which were local business owners, and several praised the airport for creating more job opportunities for smaller firms, which were able to network with larger firms or learn more about bidding on their own for the remote facilities contract.

“It was a wonderful opportunity,” said Vanessa Miller of Tampa-based Diverse Professional Solutions. “We didn’t know what we needed to do in order to get started being a small business, who to get in contact with.  It helped us make those connections.”

Tampa International Airport Director of Maintenance Paul Ridgeway explained that the new contracts encourage more participation from woman- and minority-owned business, not just in the raised participation requirement from 8 to 20 percent, but in breaking out part of the work formerly done by one firm so that smaller firms can bid on their own.

Airport staff gave a 45-minute presentation, which was followed by an hour and a half of networking among the business owners.

 “It’s great that they are opening doors for additional small businesses to come in, and they gave a lot of information like explaining the whole process for the RFPs, the requirements and the qualifications,” said Terri Suttle of GDS Janitorial Service, also based in Tampa. “I enjoyed the presentation and liked hearing that they understand the importance of things like clean restrooms as a part of good customer service.”

 Ridgeway said he was thrilled with the session turnout and is excited about the idea of seeing fresh faces and new proposals to keep TPA clean. He also praised Connie Mundzak in Procurement, Pat Campbell and Bob Baylis in Maintenance and DBE manager Cheryl Hawkins for working hard to create new solicitations for the services. 

“This is big – an $8 million a year janitorial contract – and we’re introducing a new concept in procuring this service,” he said. “We’re looking to spread the opportunities to more companies through subcontracting, and today is about providing a means for those smaller companies to learn about the airport, our bid process and meet the people who will be responding to the RFP when it comes out.”

Those solicitations for the terminal facilities services and the remote area services will be officially advertised Jan. 14 and Jan. 23, respectively. Mandatory pre-solicitation conferences will take place on Jan. 30 and Feb. 5, and the Aviation Authority board will award the contracts in May and June.

For more information about the janitorial services deadlines, airport Procurement Deprtment or the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise and Woman- and Minority-Owned Business Enterprise programs.

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