Poplar Bluff Chamber sponsors small business conference focused
on how to help Hubzone businesses win contracts with the U.S. DOT
|Rodney Jetton, Willis Mushrush and Tammy Armond|
POPLAR BLUFF, MO – The Poplar Bluff Chamber of Commerce, University of Missouri Extension Center, Ozark Regional Foothills Planning Commission and Missouri Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (PTAC) joined with the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) in sponsoring a conference to teach Hubzone business owners how to win government contracts to build roads in northern Arkansas and southern Missouri. DOT Small Business Transportation Resource Center project director Tammy Armond said, “We didn’t have a conference like this scheduled in Missouri, but when I found out that DOT had approximately $200 million in federal aid that was going to be procured in northern Arkansas by the end of the year I knew we needed to do more to reach out to small business in southern Missouri.”
Participants came from all across southern Missouri and northern Arkansas with one attendee coming all the way from St. Louis. Chamber director Steve Halter welcomed everyone to Poplar Bluff and emphasized how the Poplar Bluff Chamber was excited to help sponsor the conference and wanted to do everything they could to help businesses grow and create jobs. The two day conference included presentations on the Hubzone program, contractor bonding requirements as well as the outlook for government contracting in the near future. Additionally, each agency explained what they could do to help Hubzone businesses apply for and win government contracts.
|Willis Mushrush of PTAC|
Willis Mushrush, the PTAC Business Development Specialist, covered all the free services PTAC offered to Missouri small businesses. He got everyone’s attention when he said, “Doing business with the government makes sense because the government is the world’s biggest customer and buys all kinds of goods and services. Their checks never bounce and they spend $43 million every hour, which is over a billion a day buying products and services.” He explained they help companies develop budgets and marketing plans, plus bid tracking and preparation. They also help companies sign up on all the government registration sites. “Using PTAC’s services can help small businesses increase bid and networking opportunities, plus provide them with more chances to attend conferences and training classes, helping them win more contracts,” added Mushrush.
Schultz Surveying and Engineering was one of the local companies who participated in the two day conference. “We completed several contracts for the federal government as a Hubzone company and our Small Business Administration (SBA) representative, Patricia Guttmann, as well as PTAC’s services were very helpful in our efforts to win contracts. I was excited that they were having the conference in Poplar Bluff and wanted our company to participate,” remarked SSE owner Stan Schultz.
|Small Business Development Specialist Kevin Anderson|
Other speakers included Kevin Anderson from the Missouri Small Business & Technology Development Center, Alan Rodgers of Bancorp South Insurance Services, Mel Jackson with Southern Bank, Grover Richardson with DOT, Alan Rodgers from Bancorp South, David Ratliff from AR Credit Services and Rose Lucas with MoDOT. SSE attendee Rodney Jetton said, “Tammy, Willis and Kevin organized a very informative conference that offered some great business advice. Our company has done some federal work but I walked away with several great pointers that will help us more effectively compete for government projects.”
The conference was held at the Holiday Inn in the conference center with the Poplar Bluff Chamber arranging the snacks, drinks and catering from Las Margaritas. Michael Godi, owner of Godi Excavating in Salem, Missouri concluded by saying, “I am more confident of my ability to bid on state and federal contracts now that I understand the process better.”
Schultz Surveying and Engineering is a Missouri based Civil Engineering Company with offices in Poplar Bluff, Branson, Lake Ozark and Doniphan. They have provided drinking water and wastewater design services to over 58 communities in Missouri. To date, they have helped those communities obtain over $124,000,000 in public funding. They have helped design roads for cities, counties and MoDOT including Hwys. 67, 60, and 13 to name just a few. They have several large state of the art USACE validated testing labs and are one of the select companies that have been approved for a Blanket Purchase Agreement with the USACE. They have also provided surveying services to a variety of clients from utilities, MoDOT, USACE, cities, corporations, small business, and individuals. SSE is a HubZone certified company and can be found at www.schultzengineering.com