April 14, 2014

GNEMSDC 2nd Quarterly Meeting hosted by RBS Citizens - April 17
April 17th, 2014 12:45pm - 4:30pm, 
One Citizens Plaza, Providence, RI  02903 
RBS Citizens will be hosting the upcoming Quarterly Meeting on April 17th.  Please be sure to attend this meeting to get the latest updates on GNEMSDC and hear exciting MBE showcases.  
There will also be networking opportunities with RBS Citizens primes in the following departments: 
**Please be sure to register by Thursday, April 14th noon.  Due to security restrictions there will not be on-site registration.**    To RSVP please contact Sarah James.
Ahold USA Vendor Fair on Sept 17 & 18
Ahold USA will be hosting a vendor fair for W/MBE's that are not currently doing business with Ahold USA (which includes Stop & Shop, Giant/Pennsylvania, Giant/Maryland, Martin's and Peapod).  The vendor fair is only for vendors that have retail product that they want to sell on our stores' shelves.

The event is planned for September 17 and 18 and will be held in Carlisle, PA.  Depending on the turnout, the event may be either a one-day or two-day event.  At this event, prospective vendors will have face-to-face time with the buyers of the category and will be able to educate the buyers on their product line.

Any interested vendor, should contact Nhgiep Dang @ nghiep.dang@ahold.com.  Nghiep will ensure that the vendor receives further information on our vendor fair as it gets closer to the event.  
GNEMSDC and SBA to Hold Session in Bridgeport, April 29
The GNEMSDC is proud to be partnering with the SBA Connecticut office to host a session on how MBEs can and should apply for 8a certification on Tuesday, April 29.   The 8a program is the U.S. Government's development program that has resulted in billions of dollars of contracts for MBEs, and was the launching pad for some of today's largest MBEs.

SBA 8(a) Requirements Overview
Generally, to be approved into the 8(a) Business Development program and become certified the business must meet these eligibility requirements:
  • The business must be majority-owned (51 percent or more) by an individual(s).
  • The individual(s) must be an American citizen, by birth or naturalization.
  • The business must be majority-owned (51 percent or more) and controlled/managed by socially and economically disadvantaged individual(s).
  • The individual(s) controlling and managing the firm on a full-time basis must meet the SBA requirement for disadvantage, by proving both social disadvantage and economic disadvantage.
  • The business must be a small business.
  • The business must demonstrate potential for success.
  • The principals must show good character.
  • Separate eligibility requirements exist for a business that is owned by American Indians, Native Alaskans, Native Hawaiians or Certified Development Companies.  
Attending the meeting will be CT Director Bernard Sweeney and SBA New England Regional Administrator Seth Goodall.   You will learn everything you need to know about how to become 8a certified.  Most GNEMSDC corporate members report to the Federal government on their utilization of 8a firms.  This is a very helpful certification to have.

The meeting will take place from 10:00 AM to 12 noon at the 333 State Street GNEMSDC offices.  Please reserve you seats.  We are limiting this program to 25 GNEMSDC Certified MBEs who are interested in growing their business with the Federal government.   click here to RSVP
Please Support Your Council by Attending the 2014 
GNEMSDC Annual Gala: May 6
The Award will be presented at the Black-Tie 2014 GNEMSDC Annual Awards Gala at the Aqua Turf in Southington, CT on Tuesday, May 6.  
You will be receiving your invitation to the Annual Awards Gala soon.  
Please RSVP by April 15, 2014 tp  www.boothleads.com/gnemsdc/gala2014
David Hinson to Receive 2014 GNEMSDC President's Award
David HinsonWe are extremely happy to announce that David Hinson as accepted the 2014 GNEMSDC Presidents Award.  Mr. Hinson's last day as National Director for the U.S. Department of Commerce Minority Business Development Agency was last week.  During his tenure he oversaw a significant increase in the amount of contracts won by minority business clients of the 44 MBDA Centers across the county.  We at the GNEMSDC are particularly fortunate to be a beneficiary of his leadership.  In 2011, the GNEMSDC won a five-year contract to operate the Boston MBDA Business Center.  And in 2013, the GNEMSDC won a four-year contract to operate the Bridgeport MBDA Business Center.  Director Hinson is one of the global leaders in minority business development.  He has traveled the world to promote business relationships between domestic minority businesses and minority businesses in Brazil, Africa, Australia and Europe.  We are honored to have Director Hinson as the GNEMSDC 2014 President's Award recipient.
The Award will be presented at the Black-Tie 2014 GNEMSDC Annual Awards Gala at the Aqua Turf in Southington, CT on Tuesday, May 6.  It is  not too early to reserve your tickets.  Call Jerilynn Clarke at203-288-9744 for ticket information
2014 Annual Gala MC - Jonathan Coachman
jcWe are very pleased to announce Jonathan Coachman is a Sports TV Personality for ESPN and ESPN Radio will be joining us at the Gala this year as our MC.  Jonathan Coachman began his career in 19997 in Wichita, KS at KAKE-TV.  He continued on to Kansas City in 1999 where he worked in the same sports department with NFL legend and Super Bowl MVP Len Dawson.  In the fall of 1999 his career took an abrupt turn as Coachman took a hob as a TV personality in WWE.  
He spent the next 9 years traveling the world working for Vince McMahon.  In 2006 he began also doing sports again at CSTV and MSG network in New York City.  In 2008 Jonathan left the road and the WWE for the friendly confines of Bristol, CT and ESPN.  In His almost 4 years with the company Jonathan has done just about every sport but he has found a niche as a main host on the flagship show SportsCenter.  You may have heard Coachman as you are driving around in your car on ESPN Radio.  
In 2011 Jonathan joined forces with Freddie Coleman for "The Coach and Coleman Show" on ESPN Radio.  Jonathan is married to Amy and has 2 beautiful kids, Kayana (3) and JJ (1). 
2014 GNEMSDC Nominees for MBE Awards Are In!
On behalf of the GNEMSDC board of directors, I am proud to announce the 2014 MBE Nominees. 

Category 1 (Under $1,000,000 in Annual Sales)
1. Light Speed
2. Picture That
3. PrintabiliTees

Category 2 (Over $1,000,000 but less than $10,000,000) 
1. Environmental Integrity
2. Horizon Services
3. Roxbury Technology

Category 3 (Over $10,000,000 but less than $50,000,000)
1. Essex Newbury North Contracting
2. Lancaster Packaging
3. Minute Man Trucks
5. PCNet
5. SAI Systems

Category 4 (Over $50,000,000)
 1. The Matlet Group
Reciprocal (Companies Located Outside of Greater New England)
1. Deluxe Delivery Systems
2. The Berrnd Group
3. World Wide Technologies
2014 GNEMSDC Award Nominees - Congratulations 
On behalf of the GNEMSDC MBE Input Committee I am proud to list the 2014 Nominees for Corporate Awards.

Corporation of the Year - National Category
1. Aetna
2. Cartus
3. Chevron
4. Comcast Cable
5. CVS Caremark
6. Dominion
7. Liberty Mutual Insurance Company
8. National Grid
9. TJX Corporation
10. United Technologies Corporation

Corporation of the Year - Local Category
1.. Pratt & Whitney
2. Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center
3. Yale New Haven Health System
4. Yale University
5. The Metropolitan District Commission

Buyer of the Year  
1. Ed Frey, Yale University
2. Ron Swatt, Sikorsky Aircraft
3. Michael Jovovich, Yale New Haven Health Systems
4. Janice Beckner, Connecticut Lottery
5. Erik Collins, Dominion

Advocate of the Year
1. Bob Pilney, The Hartford Insurance Company
2. Joyce C. Eriksen Eggers, Takeda Pharmaceuticals International Inc.
3. Alton Moss, Pratt and Whitney4. Erik Collins, Dominion
5.Carla Hunter-Ramsey, National Grid
6. Al Tawrel, Northeast Utilities
7. Thomas Ray, Liberty Mutual Insurance Company
8. Joan Davidson, UTC Areospace Systems

MBE Empowerment Award 
1. Eileen Hasson, The Computer Company
2. Arvin Chaudhary, Nadicent Technologies, LLC

Congratulations to all the nominees on jobs well done.  Once again we have a very competitive field of nominees.  THe MBE Input Committee will have a difficult time selecting one winner in each of these categories.  All of these nominees are deserving of recognition for the great work that they do to support our mission of minority business development.  It will be an exciting evening on Tuesday, May 6th when the winners are announced.   
 Photo Memories from the GNEMSDC Gala 2010-2013
Gala MC Johnathan Coachman and others 2013 GMEMSDC Annual Awards Gala
One thing to inspire you to sign up for the 2014 is to take a look at these photos from the 2010 - 2013.  Hundreds of BEAUTIFUL MBEs and Corporate members.  Also see Governors, Senators,  Mayors, other elected officials, CEOs and other business leaders who attend our Gala.  Take a look and share!

The 2014 GNEMSDC Annual Awards Gala is Tuesday, May 6 at the Aqua Turf in Southington, CT.

Greater New England Minority Supplier Development Council Opens Community Business School in Bridgeport 
The Greater New England Minority Supplier Development Council opens the GNEMSDC Community Business School at its 333 State Street offices in Bridgeport. The school is designed to develop minority entrepreneurs in the area by providing them access to the tools they need to thrive.  
This Saturday we will have Jay Wesley of the Metropolitan District Commission and Ted Hsu from Horizon Services as our guest speakers.  They will talk about how to access opportunities and what it takes to be successful with companies like MDC.  We meet  every Saturday from 9:00 to 11:30 am.  There is no cost to attend.
Google and GNEMSDC Web Marketing Program
The GNEMSDC and Google are proud to announce this exciting new program designed to help certified MBEs increase their effectiveness on the web.

The Accelerate with Google Academy is a 12-week program designed to help businesses like yours start marketing online--and then be great at it. As a participant, you'll get all the tools and training you need to advertise on the web, including live help and private consultations with dedicated experts. Plus, the program is customized, so by the end you'll be ready to start meeting your business's unique goals and making the most of the web.
Upcoming Events 
There are several events coming up on our calendar that are designed specifically for MBEs to learn about corporate opportunities.    We know how busy everyone's schedule is, but these are events often hosted by our corporate members with the expressed purpose of finding out more about you and your business with the ultimate aim, to make you a valuable supplier to their companies.  Here are some events you should consider:  
  • April 14-15 - Diversity Business Summit The premier employment conference and Procurement Trade Fair in Sports!
  • April 16, 2014 GNEMSDC MBE Orientation at GNEMSDC Copley Office
  • April 17, 2014  GNEMSDC 2nd Quarterly Meeting hosted by RBS Citizens, Providence, RI
  • April 24, 2014  MassHousing's 24th Annual Greater Boston M/WBE Trade Fair  More Information 
  • April 30, 2014  Sam's Club Food &Beverage Merchandising Division Diversity Supplier Summit, Bentonville, AK  more information 
  • April 30, 2014 TD BANK First Time Home Buyer Seminar at GNEMSDC Community Business Conference Center 333 State Street Bridgeport CT more information 
  • April 30, 2014  Pulman & Comley hold a Strengthing Yur Business With LGBT Diversity at the Hartford Club 46 Prospect Street, Hartford, CT more information 
  • May 1, 204 -  Connecticut Housing Finance Agency and LUPA are holding an event at Hartford Public Library 5:30 - 8:30, Dr. Fred is the Keynote Speaker.  The purpose of the event is to bring together Latino leaders CHFA and first time homebuyers.
  • May 1, 2014 - MASSbuys EXPO DCU Center, Worcester, MA RSVP to free event 
  • May 5, 2014 - Register for the MBE Pre-Certification Webinar at 2:00 pm click here to RSVP
  • May 6, 2014 - GNEMSDC Annual Awards Gala, Aqua Turf, Southington CT
  • May 8, 2014 -W.E.B. DuBois  Public Policy Series Dinner, 127 State Street Springfield MA.  Dr. Fred is the Keynote Speaker.  For more information contact Vincent Jackson at vince@mktgmoves.com.
  • May 13, 2014 - Anti Defamation League Torch of Liberty Award Ceremony Honoring Carl Highsmith (Dr. Fred will present Carl the Award.) Program is at Congregation B'nai Jacob Woodbridge, CT.  For more information contact jmagid@adl.org.
  • May 14, 2014 GNEMSDC & Hispanic-American Chamber of Commerce Networking Session at the GNEMSDC Boston Office  Additional Information
  • May 15, 2014 - SBA - GNEMSDC Matchmaker at Microsoft Corporation, Cambridge, MA
  • June 2, 2014- GNEMSDC MA Golf Outing, Ferncroft Country Club, Danvers MA  
  • July 11, 2014- GNEMSDC CT Golf Outing, Lyman Orchards, Middleton, CT
  • September 30-October 1, 2014 - GNEMSDC Expo and Conference, Mohegan Sun Casino and Resort, Uncasville, CT
  • October 10 - GNEMSDC Advanced Leadership Program, Bridgeport, CT (First Weekly Session)
  • November 20 - GNEMSDC/MBDA Best Practice Forum, Fenway Park, Boston, MA
Corporation of the Week:  United Technologies Corporation     
United Technologies Corporation seeks the most innovative and competitive suppliers in order to maintain our competitive advantage. We spent the 1990s working on internal efficiencies and cost with great success. In the last several years we have worked aggressively with our supply base as real partners to eliminate inefficiencies, enable lower cost and deliver the highest quality to our customers. Diverse suppliers have been essential to our performance and will be for decades to come.

We also require of our top suppliers and integrators the same supplier diversity commitments we expect from ourselves. Please browse our supplier diversity website where you'll learn how diverse suppliers are a priority for UTC and what your opportunities with our company may be."Louis R. ChĂȘnevert, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.

United Technologies Corporation seeks to maximize opportunities for small, small disadvantaged, minority-owned, woman-owned, veteran-owned, LGBT-owned, and historically underutilized businesses to serve as suppliers and subcontractors to the Corporation.

How do we do this?
UTC has goals for both MBE and WBE spend that are included in the performance evaluation metrics of the Supplier Diversity Managers, SBLOs, VPs of Supply Management  and VPs of Operations at all business units and are flowed down accordingly. 

Supplier diversity is integrated throughout all UTC companies and led through the deployment of the UTC Supplier Diversity Council.  Our mission is to capitalize on the innovation and productivity from diverse suppliers while supporting the communities where we live and work.  This will be done through increased spend and companywide implementation of strategic programs. 
As an example, UTC deployed a mandatory Supplier Diversity training course with a GNEMSDC-certified MBE for all supply management professionals, with a 3-year recurrence.  This training ensures that diversity inclusion at UTC is understood, not just as a metric, but as a core value to our business.  
MBE of the Week:  Level Nine Group LLC
Level Nine was started in 2008 as a small business that provided IT support service and quickly grew into a full-service Managed IT service provider. As Level Nine expanded its client base, different types of needs emerged and clients turned to us as trusted advisors to help them address their challenges. To better respond to our client's needs and expand our portfolio of services, Level Nine added members to its team creating a strong platform of talent to support our clients. Level Nine is now a full-service IT consultancy offering clients comprehensive expertise and leadership. Our client-centric service delivery model is designed around our core values as an organization: our customers always come first, we never compromise on quality, and integrity defines who are and how we serve. We approach all engagements from that foundational direction, themes that are resident in every aspect of our work. 

Visit Level Nine Group LLC website to learn more information. 
Manafort fined $2.4M for Minority-Contractor Breach
Plainville contractor Manafort Brothers Inc. will pay a $2.4 million federal fine and undergo independent monitoring for lying about its use of minority contractors on a state highway project, authorities say.

The Connecticut U.S. Attorney's office and other state and federal investigators announced Monday Manafort's agreement to settle its role in a criminal and civil probe into the corporation's misconduct surrounding the relocation of Route 72 in Bristol, work that dated to April 2007.

According to investigators, Manafort admitted lying to the state Transportation Department about its use of socially and economically disadvantaged contractors for its $39.7 million roadwork contract.
Manafort claimed that it met federal requirements on the use of minority contractors for 4.2 miles of highway- and secondary-road work, when it fact it did not, prosecutors said. Use of such disadvantaged contractors is a condition of federal taxpayer-funded bids.

In addition to the fine, Manafort must hire an ethics/compliance officer; set up a compliance committee that meets regularly to review and address "disadvantaged business enterprise" (DBE) issues; and install software to track qualified DBE firms, authorities said.

The firm also agreed to "remove the Manafort personnel directly involved in the misconduct" and continue to aid authorities in their ongoing probe. Those personnel weren't identified.
Invitations for Bid and Opportunities
  • MBE looking for an experienced sales rep to cover the CT market, selling into the Biotech and Manufacturing industries.  Highest commissions paid in the industry, and working for a company with over 23 years in business.  
  • Experience required, the right person could exceed 100,000 in total compensation.  Needs to grow the region, but will also be given accounts to expand on in the CT area.  All interested applicants can either email you and you can forward their info to me or they can email me directlyatfrankq@qaisupply.com .
  •  State of Connecticut Department of Transportation job opportunity:  Transportation Public Transit Administrator 
  • Department of Revenue job opportunity:  Office Support Specialist I   
  • The Boston Public School Department is seeking bid proposals  "T0 provide hot and cold vended meals for the Boston Public Schools -  Mu;ti Year contract (3 years) - RFP# 866" and for the "Purchase of fall sports equipment and supplies for Boston Public Schools - BID# BPS 867"  If interested please contact Andie Kim for a complete bid proposal packet.
  • One Source Mechanical Solutions is looking for Licensed HVAC Piping Refrigeration Installer for more information contact jlittle-greer@gnemsdc.org
  • CT Lottery Corporation has an opening for a Maintainer position.
  • Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston has an opening for the position of  Enterprise Infrastructure Engineer.
  • SpineFrontier has an opening for the position of Supply Chain Manager
  • Massachusetts Community & Banking Council has an opening for Executive Director.
  Electrical Maintenance Services Opportunities - URI
  United Rentals Inc. is seeking to partner with potential providers for Electrical Maintenance Services at all United Rentals' locations in both US & Canada.  It is the intent of URI to secure service level agreements with such suppliers to provide electrical maintenance and related services such as periodic electrical repairs and routine maintenance of the electrical systems at URI branch locations, emergency electrical services, service ticket reporting, replacement of parts and other necessary repairs to maintain our branch Electrical Systems at maximum operational efficiency.   There will be multiple agreements put into place so it is not required that suppliers service all or even a majority of the URI locations.  Supplier's must adhere to URI requirements including:

*             Only self-performing companies will be considered
*             Valid and up-to-date electrical licensure requirement
*             Proper certifications
*             Liability/Workman's Compensation Insurance
*             Work performance guarantees and warranties
*             Bonding requirements

If interested, please contact Kevin O'Toole, Strategic Sourcing Manager at kotoole@ur.com.  Supplier qualification submissions close Tuesday, April 15th, 2014.
Health Care and Hospital Opportunities
If  you are an MBE and have not spent some time thinking about providing goods and services to the health care and hospital industry, you are missing out on one of the largest industries in the U.S. economy.  As a director of Bridgeport Hospital, part of the Yale New Haven Health System, I know that there are significant opportunities for businesses that can improve patient satisfaction, increase operational efficiency and improve financial performance.  In 2010 US national health care expenditures totaled $2.6 trillion or 17.5 percent of total GDP.  And while expenditure growth has slowed to about 4 percent a year, this is an industry that will continue to grow.  

Why are you not participating in this industry?
Tuck School of Business  - Minority Business Program
which is held at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth from May 18-23, 2014, provides an opportunity to evaluate your organization's health and diagnose its strengths and areas for improvement. Over the course of this intensive five-day program, you will develop the skills needed to help your business thrive. The week covers business strategy, finance, marketing strategy, operations, and leadership. By participating in Building a High-Performing Minority Business, you will increase your chances of long-term success and greater profitability. Visit our program pages to read a few success stories and learn more about the program. Watch a video of Faculty Director Len Greenhalgh sharing why it's worth your valuable time to attend this program. For even more information, I invite you to review the program brochure. (See website address below.)

The Tuck School was the first U.S. institution of higher education to offer executive programs dedicated to advancing the capabilities of underserved entrepreneurs and executives. Since setting the standard in 1980, Tuck continuously has honed its program, expanding and refining what is covered to create the maximum impact on your business. Tuck is a place rich in opportunities for personal, as well as professional, growth, thanks to its people, facilities, and setting in beautiful northern New England. It is a learning environment rooted in collaboration, respect, and intellectual stimulation. It is a school where interaction with faculty and peers, both inside and outside the classroom, creates relationships that last a lifetime.

You may confirm your attendance by completing the online application form found on our website. (Once we receive your application, the admissions committee will review it and then send you an email regarding your acceptance. From there, our program coordination team will contact you with all pertinent program information.) For questions about the program, its curriculum, or the application process, please contact Michelle Loveys Dozier at tuck.diversity.programs@tuck.dartmouth.edu or 603.646.9287
MBDA Client Develops Corporate HR Tool
One of the Boston MBDA Business Center's clients, VoiceGlance, has developed a powerful tool that brings the hiring process into the 21st Century. A recent offshoot of Mystic, CT'sMResulthttp://www.mresult.com/Home/default.aspx
VoiceGlance is a cloud-based candidate screening platform used by forward thinking employers to streamline the early stages of their hiring process. Ultimately helping Hiring Managers gain better insight and spend more time with the right candidates. The end result is significantly lower costs and more comprehensive coverage of candidates. For more information, contact Bill Palifka,bpalifka@voiceglance.com."
Article in the New London Day on the client and the technology. 
Become a GNEMSDC MBE Subscriber
GNEMSDCGNEMSDC provides additional services to out of network MBEs certified with the NMSDC.Below is the cost to obtain Subscription Services with the GNEMSDC.
Out of Network MBEs are MBEs certified by other affiliated councils of the NMSDC.
List of Services Provided
  1. Registration of your business as a MBDA client with the Boston and Bridgeport Business Centers.
  2. A business development plan for your business.
  3. Registration on the on-line MBDA Boston and Bridgeport Center Smart Track Opportunity Portal.
  4. Registration on the portal advertising Federal opportunities.
  5. Access to free business consulting where specific contract and financing opportunities exist.
  6. Review of existing capability statement, or the help with the creation of a capability statement.
  7. Participation in the MBE CEO Roundtable Program - a Forum for MBE CEOs to discuss business.
  8. Support with our U.S. Department of Commerce and MBDA partners to assist your company to go global.
  9. Full participation in the GNEMSDC/Google marketing program.
  10. Ability to attend GNEMSDC MBE development programs at lower cost.
  11. Discounted fees to attend all events.
  12. Ability to exhibit at GNEMSDC Trade Expo.
  13. Eligibility for GNEMSDC Awards for Supplier of the Year.
  14. Ability to attend NMSDC events at the preferred MBE pricing.
  15. Listing in the database accessible by corporate members.
Contact the MBE Services Group for more information at (203)288-9744 or sent email to Jennifer Little-Greer.
GNEMSDC Classroom and Conference Room is Available!
Reserve the GNEMSDC Community Business School for your next business or training event.  The contract rate is $100.00 per hour or $500.00/per day (9:00 am - 5:00 pm).

The GNEMSDC Comunity Business School is free to all GNEMSDC Corporate Members and GNEMSDC certifed MBEs.  For more details and to check availability call (203)288-9744
 And Finally
Vindictiveness is not a characteristic that is appealing to most, nor is kicking someone while they are down. But at the risk of sullying perceptions of my character, there was an important decision announced by the U.S. Attorney's office last week that deserves additional exposure, not for the sake of further embarrassing the company that suffered this public and financial humiliation, but because it should provide a strong teaching lesson to other companies who have also committed or contemplated similar crimes. The incident I am speaking about is the $2.4 million fine and agreement imposed on the Plainville, CT based construction company Manafort Brothers.

Manafort Brothers agreed to the fine and changes in its management team and structure in response to their admission of fraud related to a federally funded construction project in Connecticut. The details of this fraud have not been totally revealed in the press release issued by the Federal Bureau of Investigation  http://www.fbi.gov/newhaven/press-releases/2014/connecticut-construction-company-agrees-to-pay-2.4-million-admits-making-false-statements-to-u.s , but it is known that Manafort Brothers fraudulent behavior involved the misuse of the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) program.

The DBE program is a program that certifies businesses based on economic disadvantage for contracts funded by the United States Department of Transportation and managed by State Departments of Transportation like Connecticut DOT, MassDOT and RIDOT and other DOTs across the country. The purpose of the DBE program is to increase economic opportunity and participation by disadvantaged businesses on federal contracts. (http://www.dot.gov/osdbu/disadvantaged-business-enterprise)

In 2007, Manafort Brothers was the lowest responsible bidder on a $40 million
contract to improve some roads in Connecticut. Part of their contract submission included the use of a specific DBE. This DBE was a subcontractor on the job. However, the investigation by the FBI, the DOT and several other agencies indicated that the DBE was simply a "pass-through" that allowed Manafort Brothers to continue using subcontractors other than the DBE of record. This is one of the oldest games in town, and one of the most common abuses of DBE and MBE programs inside and outside of federal contracting. A pass-through occurs when a subcontractor usually a DBE, a MBE or a WBE is used by a prime contractor whereby the prime agrees to pay the pass-through firm as a subcontractor, but the subcontractor agrees to subcontract the work to non-diverse firms. The "benefit" to the prime is that they get to continue working with the companies they want to work with while appearing to be in compliance with the goals of the diverse program, in this case the DBE program of the U.S. Department of Transportation. But make no mistake this is an abuse that takes place in the private and public sector, and not just in the DBE program. In pass-through contracts, very little employment or wealth is created in minority firms or minority communities.

Here is where at the risk of sounding vindictive, I must congratulate the FBI, the U.S. Attorney's office and the other investigative agencies for their work on imposing this significant fine on Manafort Brothers. The purpose of these fines and other resolutions is to send a strong and unequivocal message to the offending company, but also to send a shot across the bow of other companies contemplating similar abuses of the law. One aspect of the settlement that Manafort Brothers agreed to was to implement changes in their procurement practices and to bring in independent outside experts to educate senior management on DBE compliance.

For other federal contractors, this fine and settlement should serve as an important reminder that laws intended to promote economic inclusion of DBEs, MBEs WBEs and others are there for a reason and attempts to avoid, skirt, ignore and abuse such laws occasionally have significant financial and criminal consequences. As the president and CEO of the Greater New England Minority Supplier Development Council, I think this is the most important legal action taken in support of minority business in the history of our organization here in Connecticut. Laws and policies without consequences and enforcement are soon ignored. It is about time and long overdue, that the legitimate diverse business community has had the support of the federal government in this regard. For the abusers of the law who have not been caught, now is the time to review your own actions. The authorities are watching.

At the end of the day, the DBE and diverse business programs are in place to spread the wealth to people, businesses and communities who for reasons of history have not been included in the creation of wealth, particularly when it comes to public dollars. These programs are needed today at least as much as when they were first created. And part of the reason why they are needed today is that there has not been the enforcement behind the intent of these laws, until last week's decision. There is now an optimism and an opportunity for us to reach the goals of this program so that at some point in the future we can wind down these programs. But now is not even close to the time when we can contemplate this eventuality. However, because of the actions last week of the Federal government we are closer to that day.

In your service

Dr. Fred