Airport Group Welcomes Minority Companies With Open Arms

airportBy Eric L. Wesson Sr.
CALL Staff Writer

The Kansas City Airport Terminal Selection committee announced their recommendation of Edgemoor Infrastructure and Real Estate, LLC, as the design, build, and finance the new terminal at Kansas City International airport after the Council votes on who the company will be.
The Edgemoor team will host a community outreach forum for minority business owners on Wednesday, Sept. 20, from 3 until 5:30 p.m. at the Blue Room in the American Jazz musuem to discuss and lay out plans for the KCI project and inform businesses of what to expect in this project.
Clark construction, based in Bethesda, Maryland, recently built the National Musuem of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., and Clarkson construction, whose highway division built the Kit Bond bridge, will be the builders of the airport.
Their minority participation goal for this project is 35 percent, but will depend on the City’s ability to get minority businesses certified. Clark contends that it has always exceeded their minority and says that this project will be no different than any other project.
Wesley Stith, vice-president of Purchasing for Clark Construction company, said that Clack implemented a partnership program for its minority participation.
“We have a robust program that we have presented all over the country. We start with outreach,” Stith said.
“The most important part to achieve this goal is that we actually create a taskforce in the community with the politicians and the community so that we can deal with this outreach and achieve real participation and not just talk about participation,” he said.
“We will meet with various African American organizations and various groups. Once we do that we begin to focus on training. There are five different components that we address in our training program that has been in existence for 11 years where we train MBE and WBE and small businesses all over the country,” Stith said.
He stated that there are five different phases of the program that will help companies understand:
1) Businesses need to understand their capabilities in projects of this size is the first step. Many times these firms have not worked on projects of $1 billion;
2) Make sure that the company clearly understands the terms and conditions of the contracts. They wind up getting into trouble because these contracts are so robust and many have not looked at these type of contracts before;
3) Understanding the scope of work so that they truly understand what they will be doing. If they don’t know they will learn what and how to define what they will be doing;
4) Jobs are bid by schedules. It is important that sub-contractors stay on schedule. When do they come in? How long they are going to be there? And who comes after them? Those are important aspects that sub-contractors need to know and understand the importance of. We want them to stay out of trouble; and
5) Education and teaching them how to price out their work.
“This is all a part of their work. Political support, churches and organizations are an important aspect in our outreach program. We can do this together. This is not our first rodeo. I have been here for 22 years,” Stith said.
William R. Calhoun Jr., a vice chairman for Clark Construction company, stated that their program is about building a legacy.
“What differentiates us from all of the other programs is that we build legacies,” he said.


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