PHA's Small Business Development Program Delivers Success

Exceeding goals, marking milestones in 2004

HOUSTON, Feb. 15, 2005 (PRIMEZONE) -- The Port of Houston Authority's Small Business Development Program (SBDP) achieved stellar performance results during 2004 through contract awards and purchase orders issued to hundreds of small business vendors. The SBDP is designed to help PHA contractors make good faith efforts to include small business participation in eligible contracts. The program's ultimate goal is to award at least 35 percent of all eligible contracts to small businesses. To date, in the three years since the inception of the PHA's small business program, a total of $76.2 million has been awarded or committed in contracts to eligible small businesses that have participated in the program.

SBDP's 2004 Performance Results

 -- In 2004, the PHA committed a total of $63.9 (51 percent) to
    small business prime contractors and sub-contractors.  Of
    that amount, $5.7 million (5 percent) went to small business
    prime contractors.  In comparison, PHA spent nearly $10.7
    million (28 percent) of its contract dollars with small
    businesses in 2003, including $1.1 million in second-tier

 -- In 2004, small businesses received $2.3 million (39 percent)
    of all informal purchase orders by the PHA. (Note: a formal
    purchase order is over $25,000; an informal purchase order is
    under $25,000.) In comparison, small businesses received $9.6
    million (25 percent) of all formal and informal purchase orders
    issued by PHA during 2003. Out of a total of 125 formal
    purchase  orders that year, a total of 37 (30 percent) were
    issued to small business prime contractors. Out of 1,727 informal
    purchase orders in 2003, a total of 564 (31 percent) were issued
    to small businesses.

 -- In 2004, a total of 852 vendors became registered participants
    in the SBDP. By comparison, more than 400 new vendors became
    registered participants in the SBDP during 2003.

"The Port of Houston Authority is a world-class organization," said Kase Lawal, vice chairman of the PHA Commission who also served as chairman of the port's Small Business Task Force during 2004. "We could never achieve the global strength and status as the sixth largest port in the world without a strong regional economy fueled by local businesses. Our small business owners and employees are vital links in the port's supply chain. They are the leading employers in the Houston area and provide nearly half of all jobs in Texas, and the port authority recognizes that a vibrant entrepreneurial spirit is vital for a strong economy and leadership in global trade and commerce."

Significant Milestones in 2004

During 2004, the PHA commission awarded the $37.9 million Bayport container yard construction contract to Zachry Construction Corporation largely because of the company's high commitment to small business participation. Zachry's plan commits $31.4 million (83 percent) to small business sub-contractors Aviles Engineering Corporation, A-1 Hyromulch of Texas, Inc., Advancetech Systems 2, Inc., A&N Consulting, BMT 2000, L.P., Busby Associates, Inc. CRA, Inc. Emerald Standard Services, Inc., D'Ambra Construction Corporation, Great Bear Construction, Highway Pavement Specialties, Inc., LA Utilities, Inc., Miller Paving & Construction, Inc., Silva Contracting Co., Inc., Jerry L. Driver Services and Trinh Design.

"Zachry's container yard construction proposal presented a win-win proposition for the port authority - lowest cost and highest level of small business participation," stated PHA Chairman Jim Edmonds.

Earlier in the year, Zachry also had received the PHA commission's top ranking for an estimated $62.5 million contract for dredging and wharf construction at Bayport. In that project, Zachry's small business commitment totaled $24.6 million (39 percent).

"The port authority's competitive sealed proposal process does not use price as the sole determining factor for selection of contractors," PHA Small Business Development Director Gilda Ramirez explained. "A range of criteria is also used to determine the best value, including vendor reputation, commitment to small business participation, overall compliance with port authority policies, and overall compliance with the technical specifications of a contract."

Also in 2004, the first class of vendors completed Port University, an initiative to mentor and facilitate small business participation in the PHA's contracting and procurement processes through courses taught by PHA staff members from the engineering, environmental, operations, trade development, purchasing, risk management and legal departments. The first class of vendors to complete the program included: Nancy Anderson, A-Affordable Vacuum Service; Maria Contreras, B-W Industrial Supply Co.; Brent Daniel, AB Engineering LLC; Terry Gomes, Advancetech Systems2, Inc.; Ann Guliex, All-N-One Services, LLC; Lloyd Wayne Jernigan, 20/20 Diversified Services; Cornell L. Johnson, Cand CNET Associates, Inc.; Robert Juarez, City Build Utility Supply; Rashid Khalfe, All Printing, Inc.; Prasad Kolluru, Amani Engineering; Edward Malveaux, Computer Network Systems; Emmitt Penelton, Delta IT Solutions; Catherine Price, Quaternary Resources; Iris Robinson, EZ Nationwide Enterprises; Vicki Roy, BQR Advertising; Rami Tuffaha, ACE Consulting Engineers; and Bill Turney, Augusta Marketing Products.

"I believe that Port University is invaluable to our small business partners," stated Vice Chairman Lawal. "We offer this program to remove the fears that many small businesses may face when first working with the port authority. If you have not yet taken part in this program, I strongly encourage you to do so."

About the SBDP

As a race- and gender-neutral program, the SBDP is open to all certified small businesses located in greater Houston and the surrounding areas including Harris, Galveston, Fort Bend, Montgomery, Waller, Liberty, Chambers and Brazoria counties. An individual small business owner's personal net worth must not exceed $750,000 (excluding the business and homestead). Eligible small businesses must complete and submit an application and vendor information form. The application must be accompanied by a copy of the firm's small business certification. A company can be certified as a small business by the City of Houston, Houston Minority Business Council, METRO, U.S. Small Business Administration 8(a) and the Women's Business Enterprise Alliance. Upon PHA staff review and approval of a company's application and small business certification, a company becomes eligible to participate in the program.

The SBDP also provides small business technical assistance and outreach by encouraging the formation of joint ventures, alliances and mentoring relationships among small and large businesses and individuals; organizing training workshops and conferences led by advisors with special expertise in the requirements for successfully completing small business bids and proposals at the port; participating in community-based events for small, minority- and women-owned businesses; using targeted media to advertise notifications of bid and proposal opportunities at the port; requiring all prospective port contractors to submit written assurances of meeting small business participation goals; and facilitating ways to ease the costs associated with obtaining insurance and surety bonds needed to qualify for contract bids.

Success Driven by Leadership Support

Commissioner Steve Phelps has been appointed chairman of the PHA's Small Business Task Force for 2005, succeeding Vice Chairman Lawal. Commissioner Cheryl Thompson-Draper previously chaired the task force during the SBDP's development and implementation in 2002 and 2003.

The SBDP has the firm backing of the entire PHA Commission, including Chairman Jim Edmonds, Vice Chairman Kase Lawal, Commissioner Steve Phelps, Commissioner Jim Fonteno, Commissioner Jimmy Burke, Commissioner Cheryl Thompson-Draper, and Commissioner Janiece Longoria.

The SBDP also is supported by an advisory board of diverse business and community leaders including Roy Douglas Malonson of the Acres Homes Citizens Chamber of Commerce, Elsie Huang of the Asian Chamber of Commerce, Jacob Monty of the Association for Advancement of Mexican Americans, Velma Laws of the City of Houston's Office of the Mayor, Sharon McLean of the Deer Park Chamber of Commerce, Diane Lipton of the East End Chamber of Commerce, Willie Jordan of ESPA Corporation, Jew Don Boney of Texas Southern University, Iris Correa of the Houston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Sylvia Brooks of the Houston Area Urban League, Susan Nittka of Houston Associated General Contractors of America, Val Thompson of the Houston Citizens Chamber of Commerce, Robert Gallegos of the Houston Independent School District, Richard A. Huebner of the Houston Minority Business Council, Japdip Ahluwalia of the Indo-American Chamber of Commerce, Jenny Ko of Metro Bank, N.A., Gwen Fedrick of METRO, Carroll Cocchia of the Native American Chamber of Commerce, Sherry Trainor of the Pasadena Chamber of Commerce, Milton Wilson Jr. of the U.S. Small Business Administration, George Barbosa of the Barbosa Group, Gilbert De La Cruz of The Trevino Group, Bill Sherrill of the University of Houston Bauer College of Business, Rey Gonzalez of Universal International Services, Dr. Tatcho Mindiola of the University of Houston, Sandy Poffinbarger of the Women's Business Enterprise Alliance, and Josena Arquieta of the Women's Contractors Association.

Economic Impact

According to a study by Martin and Associates, the consulting firm in Lancaster, Pennsylvania that has conducted economic impact studies for 120 ports in the U.S. and Canada, nearly $11 billion in revenue is generated annually by all businesses providing direct services at PHA. "Small businesses that are eligible for the port authority's Small Business Development Program enjoy a significant share of that revenue," Vice Chairman Lawal said. "We maintain aggressive goals to promote small business participation on port contracts for products and professional services."

Upcoming SBDP Events

The SBDP hosts monthly networking forums called "Business Opportunities at the Port." During 2004, approximately 1,000 vendors attended the forums. The upcoming forums are scheduled for March 9 and April 6 from 4:30 p.m. until 6:00 p.m. in the lunch room of the PHA Executive Office Building, located at 111 East Loop North (exit 29 off Loop 610 near the Houston Ship Channel Bridge). Various PHA staff members will be available at the forums to answer questions about current proposals and refreshments will be served.

SBDP Contacts

For more information about the PHA's Small Business Development Program, call Small Business Development Director Gilda Ramirez at 713-670-2590 or send e-mail to; call Certification Specialist Che' McFerrin at 713-670-2418 or send e-mail to; call Outreach Program Coordinator Pedro Garcia at 713-670-2588 or send e-mail to; call Contract Compliance Analyst Terri Hall at 713-670-2828 or send e-mail to; or call Secretary Nola Sears at 713-670-2597 or send e-mail to The SBDP's general phone number is (713) 670-2597 and the e-mail address is

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The Port of Houston Authority owns and operates the public facilities located along the Port of Houston, the 25-mile long complex of diversified public and private facilities designed for handling general cargo, containers, grain and other dry bulk materials, project and heavy lift cargo, and other types of cargo. Each year, more than 6,600 vessels call at the port, which ranks first in the U.S. in foreign waterborne tonnage, second in overall total tonnage, and sixth largest in the world. The Port Authority plays a vital role in ensuring navigational safety along the Houston Ship Channel, which has been instrumental in Houston's development as a center of international trade. The Barbours Cut Container Terminal and Central Maintenance Facility are the first of any U.S. port facilities to develop and implement an innovative Environmental Management System that meets the rigorous standards of ISO 14001. Additionally, the port is an approved delivery point for Coffee "C" futures contracts traded on the New York Board of Trade's Coffee, Sugar & Cocoa Exchange. For more information, please visit

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