In an effort to expand the airport’s contractor base and open opportunities to more diverse firms, PHL’s Office of Business Diversity and Capital Development Group have scheduled a series of virtual roundtable networking sessions for Minority, Women, Diversity Business Enterprises (M/W/DBE). The first session was held in March.
“PHL is committed to developing new and more effective ways to support small and diverse business participation on our opportunities,” said Kathleen Padilla, PHL Deputy Director of Aviation for Diversity and Inclusion. “Our new PrimeTime Roundtables provide a more personal venue for small diverse firms and prime contractors to network, to share their capability statements, their projects and to begin to form relationships that will lead to partnership on PHL opportunities.”
The Capital Development Group manages $1.263 billion in approved funding to make critical improvements and develop new infrastructure at both PHL and Northeast Philadelphia Airport (PNE). “Currently we have nearly $700 million in active projects at our airports and it’s important that we provide opportunities for M/W/DBE businesses” said Api Appulingam, Deputy Director of Aviation, Capital Development. “Diversity increases creativity and improves problem solving, both of which brings innovation to our airfields, roadways, and terminals. This is a win-win for us.” Upcoming professional services and public works opportunities can be found on the group’s website.
Prior to the networking session, the airport identified prime contractors from a variety of disciplines and M/W/DBEs that had not previously been involved in a PHL project and invited them to the session held via Zoom. All M/W/DBEs were required to provide or develop a one-page capability statement about their firms that focused their networking discussions and was made available to the prime contractor participants.
Attendees were divided into five breakout roundtable rooms, each of which included a representative from the Capital Development Group and from a prime contractor. Each participant shared information about their firms and had a brief amount of time for questions and answers. Each prime contractor was moved to a different roundtable breakout room until they had met all M/W/DBE firms.
“Our initial roundtables are focusing on firms that have not worked at PHL or not done so in several years, which will help us expand our contractor base and open our opportunities to more diverse companies,” said Padilla. “Our partnerships with PHL’s Capital Development Group, prime contractors, small diverse businesses, Milligan Consulting, and advocacy groups were key to the success of this effort.”
The Roundtable sessions will lead up to PHL’s Business Opportunity Forum, the airport's signature event held each fall that gives representatives of large, small, minority-owned, and disadvantaged business enterprises and organizations the opportunity to learn about the state of the airport and future contracting opportunities, and to network with peers, resource partners, and airport leaders.