More than 25 local firms are taking place in the specialized Bonding Education Program.

Posted: October 30, 2014
Last modified: January 19, 2017

I-4 Ultimate construction begins in a few short months. Plenty of work is already underway, including finalizing design plans, scheduling work activities and bringing subcontractors into the fold. A minimum of 12 percent of the project’s $2.3 billion construction cost (in year-of-expenditure dollars) is designated for completion by small and disadvantaged businesses.

Rodney Renix, Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) and Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) compliance officer for SGL Constructors, is tasked with finding qualified companies to be part of I-4 Ultimate.

“We are looking now and will continue looking throughout the life of the project to find local, bondable Central Florida companies that are ready to get to work,” stated Renix.

The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Bonding Education Program (BEP) partners with The Surety and Fidelity Association of America (SFAA) to help small businesses become bond ready. Becoming bondable is a challenge for many disadvantaged businesses, and this program aims to help businesses grow by obtaining or building bonding capacity.

“I’m enjoying helping people through this specialized process,” said Paul Ciambriello, vice president of the Guignard Company. “Educating, assisting and guiding them along directly impacts these small businesses and, ultimately, their families.” The Longwood, Fla.-based Guignard Company provides surety bonds to companies, allowing them to participate in larger construction projects that they might not otherwise be able to bid on.

Subcontracting work to bonded companies provides prime contractors, like SGL Constructors, a level of assurance that those smaller businesses can complete projects on time and on budget, ultimately saving taxpayer dollars.

“It doesn’t stop with I-4 Ultimate,” said Adrianna Clark, director of the U.S. DOT Southeast Region Field Office. “By becoming bondable, small businesses identify themselves as qualified and sustainable to work on this project and many more DOT projects down the road.”

More than 25 Central Florida firms are participating in the weekly training and coaching sessions held at the project office. The program highlights U.S. DOT’s vested interest in small/disadvantaged business enterprises (S/DBEs). More than 50 percent of U.S. DOT’s subcontracting opportunities are awarded to small businesses annually. Approximately $7 million was awarded to S/DBEs in 2014 alone.

Interested in learning more about bonding education programs? Visit www.dot.gov/osdbu.