FDOT and I-4 Mobility Partners participated in a small business forum in downtown Orlando. From left: Loreen Bobo, Lorie Matthews, Brian Blanchard (FDOT); Adrianna Clark (USDOT); Congresswoman Corrine Brown; Rodney Renix, Jon Walker, Brook Brookshire, Mary Humphreys (I-4 Mobility Partners).

Posted: April 4, 2014
Last modified: January 19, 2017

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.