ODOT helps small businesses take advantage of contracting opportunities through its Minority-owned, Women-owned, and Emerging Small Business (MWESB) program.
Hy-Sign Flagging of Coos Bay is currently working as a subcontractor on the $72 million Fern Valley Interchange project in Phoenix.
Owner Karen George employs a crew of 15 on a regular basis, although that number jumps up to nearly 90 during the busy summer months. Hy-Sign Flagging was started by Karen’s mother, Barbara, and started working on state projects in 1986.
“Flagging takes good communication skills, the ability to focus and, frankly, the ability to fight through the boredom when there’s no traffic,” said George.
George attributes some of Hy-Sign’s success to its support from the MWESB program.
“My mother started the company when female-owned road construction businesses were unheard of,” said George. She attributes the company’s continued success to its employees. “Our philosophy is everyone has a real life and kids and family come first.”
ODOT’s ESB program works to create new and innovative contracting opportunities for Oregon’s small business community. It’s also a goal of the program to assist emerging small businesses in overcoming barriers to participating in the state’s extensive public contracting procurement programs. The program annually identifies hundreds of contracting opportunities that certified Oregon firms are encouraged to pursue.
On the Fern Valley Interchange project, the program continues its record of success. George said it has been good working for prime contractor Hamilton Construction of Springfield.
“We try to stay hydrated and Stacey (Hamilton’s Traffic Control Supervisor) always stops by to make sure we have everything we need,” said George. “Stacey treats us as real people and not human sign holders.”
Opportunities to Connect
ODOT Civil Rights Field Coordinator Christie Meacham is always on the lookout for opportunities to connect local businesses with state construction projects. Meacham manages the regional Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBE) and MWESB programs in southern Oregon.
“DBE and MWESB certification gives contractors more opportunities,” said Meacham. “There’s a wide range of contracting opportunities beyond just building highways and bridges.”
Meacham can be reached at 541-957-3698 or email@example.com.
July 14 Event
Small business owners are invited to attend “Doing Business with Public Transit and Public Works,” an ODOT-hosted all-day event at the Small Business Development Center, 101 South Bartlett Street, Room 132, in Medford on Thursday, July 14.
A panel of regional transit representatives will discuss upcoming projects and how local, small business owners can connect with them. The event also includes presentations on different certification programs, including the Oregon Procurement Information Network (ORPIN) system and the Certification Office of Business Inclusion and Diversity (COBID).
“Learning about certification is vital for small business owners,” said ODOT Intermodal Civil Rights Manager Sherrin K. Coleman. “There are numerous benefits of attending. Certification can bring more business to your company. This is also a great opportunity for networking with southern Oregon’s public transit providers.”
For additional information or to RVSP for the July 14 “Doing Business with Transit” event, please contact Coleman at 503-986-3169 or firstname.lastname@example.org.