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State of Vermont Agency of Transportation
DBE Connections:
Building Bridges and Paving the Road to Opportunities
April, 2009 - Vol 1, Issue 3
In This Issue
DBE Spotlight - Jason Sicard
American Recovery & Reinvestment Act (ARRA) Updates and Resources
Stimulating Green Matchmaker Event
Program Partners - VT Procurement & Technical Assistance Center
Vermont Business Development Program
Deadline Rapidly Approaching for 2009 BGS Self Certification Directory
Vermont Business & Industry Expo
VT Chamber of Commerce Webinar Series
Seminar Series: Rampin' Up the Revenue
Welcome New DBEs
Calendar of Events
Websites We Love
Go Vermont
 
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VTrans Links
 
 
Government
Contracting Opportunities
 
 
Technical Assistance Service Providers
 
 
DBE Useful Links
 
 

Previous Issues

 
 
DBE Spotlight - Jason Sicard
Dan Peterson, VTrans
Jason Sicard, J.P. Sicard, Inc.
Barton, Vermont
 
J P Sicard Inc. recently won the Best Builder Award for Highway Renovation from Associated General Contractors of Vermont (AGC of VT). We caught up with company president, Jason Sicard, to offer congratulations and ask about his plans for the 2009 construction season. 

Q: How long have you been working as a contractor? What types of work do you do?

I started my business in early 1995 and became certified as a DBE a few months later. We do general excavation, water and sewer mains, drainage work, bridges, culverts, sidewalks, and curbing.

Q: How large is your staff?

Right now, we have 8 people on staff. Once the spring projects start, we'll have about 35 people on staff.

Q: What project did you win the AGC award for?

The Wolcott Slope Stabilization Project on Route 15, for the Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans). We started installing 99 piles in mid-November of 2007 to stabilize a failing slope. We installed 2,000 cubic yards of ledge on a 1-2 slope, 33 feet below the travel way. All that work was completed, under harsh winter conditions, in mid-December of 2007. In spring 2008, we performed full reconstruction of the eastbound lane and shoulder of Route 15, and partial reconstruction of the westbound lane with underdrain.  I'm proud of the fact that in addition to successfully addressing an extreme safety hazard, we also contributed to the community by purchasing all fuel, maintenance, quarry and gravel products locally, totaling over $60,000, plus the employment of local community members on the project.
 
American Recovery & Reinvestment Act (ARRA) Updates and Resources
As reported here last month, Vermont will receive $125.8 million in formula funds for transportation projects including resurfacing and pavement preservation projects, traffic signal system upgrades, bridge projects, transit projects and intelligent transportation systems. VTrans is moving quickly to identify projects that are eligible to be constructed with ARRA funding. A total of 20 projects have been certified by VTrans to date. To review the list of certified projects and general ARRA transportation information, please visit the VTrans ARRA webpage. 

Last month Vermont Governor Jim Douglas announced the creation of the Office of Economic Stimulus and Recovery (ESR), to coordinate the State's use of federal funds authorized by ARRA. Former Vermont Transportation Secretary and high tech entrepreneur Tom Evslin, has been tapped to head the Office as Chief Recovery Officer. ESR will assist and coordinate efforts of State, community and private organizations to obtain funds for ARRA projects. A wealth of information on ARRA programs, grants and resources can be found on ESR's very comprehensive website, which is updated frequently.

ARRA makes significant changes to the lending and investment programs of the Small Business Administration (SBA). For a synopsis of new and enhanced SBA resources, please visit their website.

MatchmakerStimulating Green $$: Navigating the Economic Stimulus & Winning Government Contracts
Friday, May 1, 2009, 7:00 AM to 3:30 PM
Sheraton Hotel and Conference Center
South Burlington

A must-attend matchmaker event for all Vermont businesses, federal, state, and local government agencies, and Vermont prime contractors. Learn about government contracts you can bid on and meet with people who can help you win them.

The agenda includes a welcome by Governor Douglas, VT Secretary of Commerce and Community Development Kevin Dorn, and VT Secretary of Transportation David Dill. Luncheon speakers include Congressman Peter Welch, and Chief Recovery Officer Tom Evslin, of the VT Office of Economic Stimulus & Recovery.

The event features five hours of matchmaking time. You can sign up for 10 minute slots with any of the agencies and prime exhibitors to learn about their upcoming contracting and procurement opportunities, and to make your pitch and leave marketing materials. Technical assistance providers will also be on hand to offer one-on-one business counseling in 30 minute sessions. View a lits of confirmed exhibitors.

The fee is $35 and the session is expected to sell out. Register on line. VTrans certified DBEs who attend the Matchmaker can be reimbursed the registration fee by contacting the VTrans DBE Program Manager, Colleen Montague

Program Partners - VT Procurement & Technical Assistance Center
    Greg Maguire &Team VT PTAC
In preparation for the Matchmaker Conference on May 1st, we caught up with Greg Maguire, Director of the Vermont Procurement & Technical Assistance Center (VT PTAC). Greg has been helping to organize regional Matchmaker Conferences for the past 6 years and believes it's a very successful and efficient model for making contacts.

Q: How will the Matchmaker Conference help small businesses?

The event saves businesspeople a lot of time and grief in terms of finding the best fit for their business in the world of government contracting. It allows businesses to meet a series of government agencies and prime contractors for 10-minute interviews. If it's a good match, the relationship will continue beyond the event. If not, all those involved can move quickly to the next opportunity. Although businesses won't walk away with a contract, they will leave with a clear knowledge of the next steps.

Q: How do businesses know which agency/contractor to visit?
 
We provide detailed information about each vendor at the event website which allows businesses to determine the best matches in advance of the event. Many vendors do not confirm their attendance until just before the event, so we encourage participants to check the website often.

Q: What should businesses bring with them to the Conference?

We encourage businesses to develop a brief "Capability Statement." The preferable size is one, single-sided, 8 X 11" piece of paper that discusses what makes the business stand out from the crowd. If a business is a certified DBE, they should be sure to note that too. Business cards are also helpful. Remember that businesses only have 10 minutes to make their pitch - it's "speed dating" for businesses. Continued
 
Vermont Business Development Program (VBDP) - Update
 
We're off to a great start on the VBDP, which launched in February! The goal of the program is to help DBEs develop and implement business plans to become more successful and to increase participation on VTrans federally funded projects. We've met with and conducted needs assessments with half of the fifteen DBEs that have signed up with the program, and participants are following through with next steps, designed to help them work smarter. For more information, email or phone Colleen Montague or (802) 828-2715.
Deadline Rapidly Approaching for 2009 BGS Self Certification Directory!

The Vermont Department of Buildings & General Services (BGS) offers self-certification to Women and Minority-Owned Businesses. The one page form is quick and easy to complete, and allows businesses to check off all applicable good and services in 50 business categories.

The deadline for the 2009 Directory is April 17, 2009. All state contractors are encouraged to use the Directory to recruit suppliers and subs. You can learn more about the program, view the directory, and download the form in Word or PDF format online.  Submit forms by Friday, April 17, 2009 to:

Lani Deliduka
Buildings & General Services
5 Perry Street, Suite 300
Barre, VT 05641-4272
Phone: (802) 479-4467
Fax: (802) 479-4469
Email: lani.deliduka@state.vt.us  

BGS is a featured exhibitor at the upcoming Vermont Matchmaker on May 1st. Please stop by the BGS booth to learn more about state contracting and procurement opportunities.
 
BizExpoVermont Business & Industry Expo
Wednesday, May 20, 2009, 10am - 5pm
Thursday, May 21, 2009, 9am - 4pm

Sheraton Hotel & Conference Center, South Burlington
 
The Vermont Business & Industry EXPO is the region's largest business-to-business trade show and is organized by the Vermont Chamber of Commerce. This annual event hosts nearly 200 exhibitors, showcasing the latest in cutting edge products and services for the 3,000 business people who visit the two-day show.

EXPO also features a wide variety of special events and seminars, providing EXPO attendees with valuable networking and educational opportunities. Featured events include:

  • Business Breakfast
  • Annual Networking Luncheon
  • Building Blocks for Business Success Seminar Series
  • EXPO Networking Reception
Advance registration (by May 18th) is FREE. Same day registration is $10. Register now!
 
VT Chamber of Commerce Webinar Series
 
The Vermont Chamber of Commerce offers complimentary webinar presentations by Vermont experts on a wide range of business topics, from marketing and HR strategies to energy efficiency and legal developments. Each webinar is both an online seminar and a conference call and runs about 30 minutes.

Webinar presentations are always followed by a question and answer session, and copies of the webinar presentations are provided to attendees following the webinar. Copies are also available online for download as an Adobe PDF file. Previous webinars are also available for viewing and downloading at no charge at.
 
To register for an upcoming webinar, please contact Chris Carrigan at (802) 223-0904.
 
Seminar Series: Rampin' Up the Revenue
 
A Marketing Seminar Series geared towards making your business a success in a troubled economy:

  • April 29: Sell It! Hire and Train Your Staff to Grow Your Business with Bruce Baker
  • May 6:
  • New State and Federal Tax Legislation: What it means for your business with David Grippin
  • May 13: Easy and Effective PR for Small Businesses with Ken Liatsos and Nicole Ravlin
Seminars will be held at the Burlington Courtyard Marriott from 8-9:30AM. Fee is $10 per seminar. The series is sponsored by the Burlington Free Press, Merchant's Bank, Church Street Marketplace, and PMG. For more information visit their website.
 
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Welcome New DBEs
Armand Resource Group, Inc
Gregory A Jenifer
121 Cedar Lane 
2nd Floor 
Teaneck, NJ 07666
Phone Number: (201) 357-8725      Fax Number: (201) 357-8727
E-mail: armandresourcegroup@msn.com  
WebSite:    www.argdiversity.com  
Scope M/W/DBE, EEO, Title VI, EJ, OJT, P:rogram Design and Implementation, Compliance Monitoring / Reporting, Outreach, Public Involvement, and Technical Assistance

Shelley Gustafson Environmental, LLC
Shelley Gustafson 
50 Fog Valley Road 
New Haven, VT 05472 
Phone Number: (802) 989-1804
E-mail: shelley@gmavt.net
WebSite:    www.ShelleyGustafson.com
 
Scope Wetland, Stream and Vernal Pool Assessments, including Delineations, Functional Evaluations, Mitigation, Restoration, Planning & Permitting
 

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Calendar of Events
April 29, 2009
Sell It! Hire and Train Your Staff to Grow Your Business
Burlington Courtyard Marriott
8-9:30AM. 
May 1st 2009
Matchmaker Event
Stimulating Green: Navigating the Economic Stimulus & Winning Government Contracts
Sheraton Conference Center, So. Burlington VT (read article)
May 5, 2009
SBA Free Loan Clinic
US Small Business Administration (SBA)
9AM-10AM OR Noon - 1PM
May 6, 2009
New State and Federal Tax Legislation: What it means for your business.
Burlington Courtyard Marriott
8-9:30AM.
May 13, 2009
Easy and Effective PR for Small Businesses
Burlington Courtyard Marriott
8-9:30AM.
May 20 - 21, 2009
Vermont Business & Industry Expo
Sheraton Hotel & Conference Center, South Burlington (read article)
On Going Calendars:
 

 
 
Websites We Love
 
For last minute help with all aspects of tax preparation:
Yahoo Finance: http://finance.yahoo.com/taxes/articleindex


Useful websites for workplace traffic safety information:
National Safety Council: www.nsc.org
Advocates for Highway & Auto Safety: www.saferroads.org
AASHTO - The Voice of Transportation: www.transportation.org


The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) has launched a website devoted entirely to resources to help us with the current financial challenges:
Economic Crisis Resource Center http://economy.aicpa.org/
 
And finally, a helpful financial planning website:
Get Rich Slowly: http://www.getrichslowly.org/blog/about/
 
 
Go Vermont
 
"Go Vermont" is a new program offered by the Vermont Agency of Transportation as a complete resource for transportation options for Vermonters to save money and actively participate in the reduction of greenhouse gases.  Even with fuel prices seductively lower today then six months ago, you can still save significant annually and help Vermont's environment when you ride public transit or join a car/van pool.

Go Vermont connects to the car and vanpool matching registration as well as links to information for other alternative transportation.  Registrations for car pools are up 156% over a year ago through the on-line registration located through the web page's car pool link, with well over 3,300 participants from almost every community in Vermont.  Under a shared use agreement with the State of Maine, Vermont (and NH) will implement during the Spring of 2009 an automated rideshare matching service, instantly providing registrants contact information for those traveling their way.  Trapeze RidePro has an on-line demonstration page http and we invite you to take a look.

Our selection of VPSI, Inc. enables us to offer a turn-key vanpool program with the leading van pool company in the country.  We have 6 new vanpools in operation under this program, with more coming. The program is open to individuals, employers and employees who want to reduce commuting costs.  First establish a route and schedule with 7-15 individuals.  VPSI, Inc. will then work with them to establish the vanpool and Go Vermont will provide a $500 subsidy each month per van pool to offset the per seat costs. 

Connect to the web site to register or for additional information please contact Nancy Rice, Go Vermont Program Coordinator at 802-828-6521 (phone), 802-828-3983 (fax) 
 
DBESpotlightDBE Spotlight continued 
Q: What other types of work are you currently doing on VTrans-funded projects?
We're very excited to have just won the prime contract award on the Bradford-Ryegate Interstate Membrane project for $1.2 million.  The project will run in 2009 and 2010 and involves removing and replacing the sheet membrane waterproofing and bituminous concrete pavement on five Interstate 91 bridges. We'll also be starting soon with a sewer extension for a rest area in White River/Hartford and a sidewalk in Springfield on Route 11. The latter is an LTF (Local Transportation Facilities) project.

Q: What percentage of your business is with VTrans-funded projects?

Just over half of our work is with VTrans.

Q: What do you see as the strengths of your business?

We have a staff of highly capable people with a very good work ethic. They take pride in their work which is evident in the quality result of all their projects.
Dan Peterson, VTrans
 
 
ProgramPartnersProgram Partners continued 
Q: Is there assistance available to develop a Capability Statement and the 10-minute "pitch"?

Yes. Our office has 4 full-time people to help Vermont-based businesses. Our website is a great place to start. Those who are interested should feel free to call us and we regularly visit people at their place of business.

Q: The Conference sounds great. Do you require pre-registration?

Yes, we do require registration and these Conferences generally sell out. Registration is available on line. The cost is only $35.

Q: Can you tell us about the assistance your office offers to established businesses.

For Vermont businesses with an interest in selling to the government, the Vermont Procurement Technical Assistance Center (VT PTAC) is where to go. VT PTAC has a goal of providing businesses with an understanding of the requirements of government contracting/subcontracting and the know-how to obtain and successfully perform federal, state, and local contracts. VT PTAC helps to identify the best prospects, remove the barriers, and expedite the process to help you win the job all at no cost. Learn more.
The 2009 construction season is well under way and is shaping up to be an extremely busy one.  Hopefully our newsletter will help to keep our readers up to date on new contracting opportunities, ARRA, and useful resources.
 
We value your continued input and comments.  Please email me with suggestions, ideas and any questions for future issues.
 
Sincerely,
Colleen Montague ●DBE Program Manager ● Vermont Agency of Transportation
Email: colleen.montague@state.vt.us ● Tel: (802) 828-2715