Wayne County Airport Authority Small Business Program Awards Airport Contracts

Detroit (PRESS RELEASE – December 23, 2010) – Southeast Michigan’s small businesses are now engaged in the region’s airports more than ever as a result of the Wayne County Airport Authority (WCAA) Small Business Enterprise (SBE) program. In Fiscal Year (FY) 2010, twenty percent of the value of all non-federally-funded operations and maintenance contracts was spent with certified local, small firms—up from just two percent in FY2009. As a result, more than $13 million in WCAA contracts was awarded to certified SBEs in FY2010 alone.

“The growth of the Authority’s SBE program is really the result of an organization-wide commitment to small business growth in Southeast Michigan”

Meanwhile, a total of 114 new SBEs were certified by WCAA in FY2010—an increase of 70 percent over the previous year.

“The dramatic growth of our Small Business Enterprise program in its short existence is evidence that the Airport Authority is committed to furthering the Airport Authority’s mission to provide our region with world-class transportation facilities in a manner that also fosters economic opportunity,” said WCAA Interim CEO Genelle Allen. “Small businesses are a key component in the area’s economic success, and the Airport Authority’s aim is to facilitate that success to the greatest extent possible.”

WCAA launched its SBE program in April 2008 as an effort to increase opportunities for qualified, small businesses located in Wayne, Macomb, Oakland and Washtenaw Counties to participate in Airport Authority contracts. Under the program, certified SBE firms that submit bids or proposals as either prime or sub-contractors receive an equalization credit that is based upon the value of the contract being solicited and is calculated in comparison to the lowest qualified bid received. The structure of equalization credits is designed such that SBEs can compete more equally with larger firms while preserving incentives for all firms to continue to provide their most competitive bids.

“Providing opportunities for small businesses has been a priority of mine since joining the Airport Authority Board in 2006,” said Wayne County Commissioner Bernard Parker. “I am very pleased that the Authority’s outreach efforts are paying tangible dividends.”

Already in the first two months of FY2011, a total of $398,502 in new contracts has been awarded to certified SBEs—a dramatic jump of 155 percent over the same two-month period in FY2009. WCAA’s Fiscal Year runs from Oct. 1 through Sept. 30.

“The growth of the Authority’s SBE program is really the result of an organization-wide commitment to small business growth in Southeast Michigan,” said WCAA Procurement Director Shelia Anderson. “We have intensified outreach efforts to increase awareness of the Airport Authority’s Small Business Enterprise Program making sure local, small firms receive every opportunity to bid on upcoming Airport Authority projects,” Anderson said.

The 2010 WCAA Small Business Forum, held at Detroit Metro Airport last February, is one example of the Authority’s extensive outreach efforts to recruit, educate and engage small businesses in airport contracting opportunities. More than 500 entrepreneurs, ranging from the construction to various manufacturing industries, participated in the event.

A total of 284 companies are currently certified through the Authority’s SBE program. The certification process is designed to be fairly simple and straight forward—allowing most certifications to be completed within twenty-one days of application.

The Airport Authority’s SBE program is not entirely selfless–WCAA greatly benefits from expanding the pool of potential bidders and proposers in order to obtain the best quality goods and services at the most competitive prices.

“The SBE program is really a win-win for everyone,” Allen and Anderson added.

About the Wayne County Airport Authority

Wayne County Airport Authority was established by the Michigan State Legislature in 2002 as an independent entity responsible for the operation of Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport (DTW) and Willow Run Airport (YIP). DTW is Michigan’s busiest airport and one of the world’s leading air transportation hubs, with non-stop service to four continents aboard more than 1,200 flights per day. YIP is a critical cargo, business and general aviation reliever airport located seven miles west of DTW in Van Buren Twp, Mich.

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