Building Bonds with Central Florida Businesses

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

People Building a Better I-4:
I-4 Ultimate Compliance Officer Rodney Renix

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, I-4 Ultimate Compliance Officer Rodney Renix discusses the transformative nature of I-4 Ultimate and how the project will change the face of Central Florida. With a passion for creating opportunities for others, Rodney talks about his role in creating partnerships with S/DBEs through ongoing outreach events and local business involvement.

The Contract Has Been Signed ... What Now?

With FDOT and I-4 Mobility Partners’ signing of the contract last month setting Florida’s revolutionary I-4 Ultimate project in motion, the next step has already been achieved with the issuance of Notice to Proceed (NTP) 1 on Oct. 4, 2014. NTP 1 allows I-4 Mobility Partners to begin finalizing design plans for the entire 21-mile reconstruction. In fact, I-4 Mobility Partners has already submitted the master design plan for FDOT’s approval, according to I-4 Design Manager Larry Low, P.E.

“We’ve got a really committed team,” said Low, noting that the project has a 22-month design schedule. It typically takes a project three to four years to go from design plans and right of way acquisition to construction. But, because I-4 Ultimate is a design-build-finance-operate-maintain project, the team can see the design evolving in real time and identify issues as they pop up. Some unique design elements include bridge architecture, elaborate landscaping and signature features like direct-connect pylons and lighting underneath the viaduct.

NTP 1 and 2 are part of the public-private partnership (P3) formula. By using this process, FDOT can bring congestion relief to the interstate 17 years earlier than traditional methods could. NTP 2, which allows I-4 Mobility Partners to begin construction and assume responsibility for the 40-year maintenance period, is still on track and anticipated to begin in early 2015. To find out more about I-4 Ultimate, visit

Partnering Highlighted at I-4 Ultimate Hub Office’s Open House

FDOT and I-4 Mobility Partners hosted an open house at the I-4 Ultimate hub office on Oct. 17, 2014. More than 200 attendees came together as partners to kick off their long-lasting partnership, which will serve as the foundation for the I-4 Ultimate project.

I-4 Ultimate Construction Program Manager Loreen Bobo, I-4 Mobility Partners Chief Executive Officer Cesar Souza, FDOT District Five Secretary Noranne Downs and I-4 Mobility Partners Vice President Brook Brookshire delivered a welcoming speech to guests and outlined their goals for the project.

The open house was a great opportunity for partners to celebrate the start of I-4 Ultimate, connect with the project team and learn about the resources available to them. Guests included representatives from the project team, FDOT staff and support personnel, and local elected and appointed officials. In addition, FDOT and I-4 Mobility Partners were pleased to welcome Seminole County District 2 Commissioner John Horan, Mayor Howard Schieferdecker of Maitland, Mayor Clint Johnson of DeBary and Orange City District 2 Commissioner Ron Saylor.

Attendees enjoyed a barbecue lunch and had the opportunity to tour the office. The tour shared a variety of information with the group, including project fast facts, the structure of the I-4 Mobility Partners team and the project management plan. Those attending the event also were encouraged to sign the project banner — a lasting symbol of teamwork that will provide inspiration throughout the project’s duration.