Stories

Moving MWBEs Forward

12/01/2020

Darryl Jones

Fall 2020 will mark a new chapter of the activity in the expansion of the MWSBE Division of the Office of Economic Vitality. The $65 million Tallahassee Police Department will be the largest construction project since the consolidation of the MWSBE programs of the City of Tallahassee and Leon County Government and the implementation of the new Consolidated MWSBE Policy, April 2020. Ajax Building Company is the construction manager for this project. Early on in this project, the MWSBE Division assigned aspirational targets of 14% MBE and 9% WBE. Combined, the potential subcontracting opportunities for MWBEs are valued at more than $14 million dollars.

Also, the new Consolidated Policy incentivizes the utilization of externs, interns, and apprentices from local workforce development partners like Lively Vocational Technical College, Tallahassee Community College, Leon County Schools, CareerSource, et al. Ajax Building Company has taken this even further, by creating a dislocated worker program to provide jobs and much needed training to persons who are in re-entry programs, enrolled in the City of Tallahassee’s TEMPO program, or residents of the Tallahassee Housing Authority. Ajax’s purposeful commitment to use this municipal project as a vehicle to provide workforce training and create jobs for this targeted population will have enormous benefit to our local economy. The MWSBE Consolidated Policy was authored to ensure that City of Tallahassee, Leon County Government and Blueprint projects would have maximum impact in our local economy to include sustainable job creation through workforce development and business expansion.

Ted Parker, Director of Outreach and Vendor Diversity, said, “Ajax Building Company, LLC, remains committed to vendor diversity in all of its projects, including the Tallahassee Police Department Construction. Facilitating MWSBE utilization in each of the projects specifications by industry specific prime subcontractors will help us Ajax reach the City of Tallahassee’s aspirational goals.” Also, Ajax will be using Haggai Construction (Kenneth Taite) and Smith and Smith Construction (Susan Smith) as “mentor/protégés” on this project. This relationship, as described in our new policy, will provide the capacity building the minority and women owned businesses need in this market. Haggai and Smith & Smith will witness the intricacies of managing a project this size to include financing, budgeting, contractor payments, financial and human resource management.

Finally, the FAMU Small Business Development Center and the Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce are also critical for the successful utilization of minority and women owned business on the Police Department Construction Project. The FAMU SBDC will be providing technical assistance for MWBE firms on estimating and financing. Corrie Melton, Vice President, Membership and Talent Development of the Greater Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce, had this to say about the Chamber’s TalentHub 2030 project that will connect workers and employers on this project:

The Greater Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce is pleased to be able to participate in this project with Ajax Construction. Sue Dick and her team are forward-thinking in driving collaboration with community stakeholders for talent solutions. Each of the partners in this project has a role, from identifying and recruiting workers, to training new hires, to providing the services that help them keep employed through all the obstacles and barriers. We are pleased that AJAX chose TalentHub to bring all of these necessary partners together in a way that we can all contribute to the success of the project. TalentHub is a resource for all business and talent solutions. Visit www.talenthub2030.com.

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