Small Business Roundtable Empowers Central Florida Firms

Small businesses are the engines behind our economy, employing half of America’s workforce according to the Small Business Administration. The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) is looking to tap into some of that horsepower when building the I-4 Ultimate project.

FDOT and I-4 Mobility Partners, the team rebuilding I-4, recently participated in a small business forum hosted by U.S. Congresswoman Corrine Brown and the U.S. Department of Transportation. Representatives from 56 local firms got the opportunity to speak one-on-one with project leaders, discussing how to best position their companies to have a chance to perform some of the work required for the $2.3 billion construction project.

“Beginning with design and construction on through to operation and maintenance when the project is complete, there are going to be a lot of opportunities for smaller firms,” said FDOT I-4 Ultimate Construction Program Manager Loreen Bobo, P.E.

A minimum of 9 percent disadvantaged business enterprise (DBE) participation plus an additional 3 percent non-DBE small business participation is the project goal.

Small for-profit companies operated and at least 51 percent owned by an individual or members of a socially and economically disadvantaged group can apply for DBE certification through FDOT. Small business certifications are determined by the Small Business Administration.

“Don’t try to be everything to everybody,” Congresswoman Brown said at the May 2014 event. “Find one thing your company does better than anyone else, and do it. That’s how you’ll be successful.”

Firms that specialize in specific work tasks such as placing steel and concrete, hauling materials, installing irrigation, providing office supplies and even catering services will be needed to complete the largest infrastructure project in Central Florida.

Click here to view the Small Business Roundtable presentation. To learn more about how your business can be part of the I-4 Ultimate project, please visit

People Building a Better I-4:
FDOT District 5 Public Information Officer Jessica Keane

I-4 Ultimate will create thousands of jobs in Central Florida. This video series explores the wide variety of people and expertise needed to build a better I-4. In this month’s installment, Jessica Keane discusses her inspiration for exploring a career in the transportation engineering industry. As a resident, commuter and public information officer, Jessica understands the value of sharing critical information and applies her personal knowledge of the area to meet the needs of the traveling public on a daily basis.

Community Outreach Begins:
Keeping You in the Know

With the contract signing of the I-4 Ultimate project quickly approaching, FDOT has developed a plan to partner with many organizations, such as top employers, hospitals and chambers of commerce, to help spread project awareness and offer alternative routes and travel options during the reconstruction of I-4. Stemming deep at the root of this community outreach is the goal of keeping traffic moving safely, maintaining a healthy economy and keeping the public in the know. A toll-free information line, email updates, billboards, public service announcements and other outreach materials are all examples of what’s to come when FDOT and its partners inform Central Florida drivers about making smarter driving decisions.

If you haven’t already been identified as a community partner and would like to become one, please request a speaker or presentation to learn more by visiting

A-FIRST for Altamonte Springs, FDOT and Partners

FDOT, in partnership with the City of Altamonte Springs, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), the St. Johns River Water Management District and the City of Apopka, recently unveiled A-FIRST – the Altamonte Springs-FDOT Integrated Reuse and Stormwater Treatment Project. The innovative project is a state and local effort to divert runoff water from I-4, store it, treat it and then send it to areas where it is needed for irrigation. Millions of dollars will be saved in the process, and the amount of I-4 runoff water that now finds its way into the Little Wekiva River during heavy rains will be significantly reduced.

According to FDOT Secretary Ananth Prasad, “A-FIRST is a forward-thinking approach and addresses a broad range of issues important to Florida’s families. This approach turns an infrastructure project into an environmental stewardship project.”

A-FIRST is tied to the I-4 Ultimate project, which will widen 21 miles of interstate in metro Orlando and surrounding Orange and Seminole counties. Normally, a road widening project of this magnitude would require FDOT to build and maintain multiple retention ponds to hold and treat stormwater. A-FIRST eliminates one of those ponds and the need to construct a costly bridge on I-4 that would connect Cranes Roost to an Altamonte Springs pumping station on the west side. The total savings amount to approximately $15 million.

DEP Deputy Secretary for Water Policy and Ecosystem Restoration Drew Bartlett said, “The innovative approach to stormwater management taken by the City of Altamonte Springs, DOT and DEP should cause many folks to say, ‘Why didn’t we think of this sooner?’ What a great example of new ways to deal with old problems. Not only will these improvements generate a more sustainable water supply, the projects will make a substantial impact on the nutrient pollution reaching the Little Wekiva River.”