AAMU Reaches Out to DBEs and Small Businesses
Expanding Business Opportunities
While work opportunities may be harder to come by these days for many local small and disadvantaged businesses, officials at Alabama A&M University are determined to make sure those same entities have a chance at conducting business with the 145-year-old institution.
In an effort to expand opportunities for Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBEs) and small businesses to conduct business with AAMU, school officials held an important two-hour virtual “Bulldog Builds” virtual informational session on that very subject on May 21. The session also provided key contacts to upcoming capital projects and procurements. The range of topics included the following:
- Overview of Expenditures and the Process to Work with AAMU;
- Capital Building Projects in the Pipeline and the Bidding Process;
- Capital Projects and Process to Work with Turner Construction; and
- Overview of Hotel and Retail Development Project and the Process to Work with Hunt Services
“We want our small and minority businesses to advance in their use of technology,” said Dr. Teresa M. Orok, executive director of AAMU’s Center of Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Economic Develop (CEIED), which falls under the College of Business and Public Affairs. “The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed that many of these businesses lack the technical resources to pivot and move forward. We want to help [them] develop a stronger technological platform, from development of apps to moving forward in a frictionless environment.”
Jeffrey Robinson, AAMU interim director of purchasing, urged his virtual audience to visit the purchasing webpage for information on bid requisition resources and vendor registration, a key first step in introducing prospective business partner’s products or services to the University. Once registered, businesses can begin to market themselves using pamphlets, flyers and/or participate in vendor fairs.
In that AAMU abides by Alabama Code 41-16-20(a), Robinson emphasized that purchases over $15,000 must be let by free and open competitive bid, on sealed bids, to the lowest responsible bidder. No bid is required for situations involving a sole source designation, professional service designation or Joint Purchasing Agreement (JPA).
Robinson went on to encourage small business owners to avoid intimidation based on the scope of projects but rather to seek ways to build partnerships with other businesses.
Brian Shipp placed on the list of upcoming projects an event center; a welcome center; various projects requiring painting, carpentry, remolding, etc.; roofing projects; as well as mechanical projects involving the Carver Complex, Foster Complex boiler system, the Wellness Center chiller, and many others. Shipp urged persons seeking business opportunities with the University to also reach out to its architectural and engineering partners.
Some of those partners participated in the online workshop, among them Tyce Hudson and T. Heath of Turner Construction, which offers an eight-week School of Construction Management program for DBE companies, and developer David Hunt of Hunt Services, Inc., which has been actively engaged in the construction of several hotel projects, primarily in Tennessee.
For more information, contact ALDOT-AAMU DBE Supportive Services at firstname.lastname@example.org or CEIED at (256) 372-8667.