Winter 2012    
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How to Do Business With the City of Houston

Current Contracting Opportunities  
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Government Procurement Connections


Government Procurement Connections (GPC) is the premiere networking opportunity in the City of Houston! Countless vendors from local, state, and federal governments attend this two day event. GPC is the ideal environment for a company looking for contracting opportunities. Last year, we had over 120 exhibitors/sponsors. Day one of the event consists of informative workshops and forums. Day two of the event is the exhibition show.    


For more details contact Felicia Price at 832.393.0610 or visit     


Date: April 11-12, 2012

Time: 8:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.  

Location: George R. Brown Convention Center


HAS Runway to Business Opportunities


On Thursday May 10, 2012 the Houston Airport System (HAS) will be hosting its 6th Annual Runway to Business Opportunities at the Humble Civic Center. Exhibitors at this networking event will include: current prime contractors with the Airport, key decision makers from the HAS, as well as other local and state entities. This event will also offer "Best Practices" workshops where attendees will hear the latest from industry experts, and "The Taste of the Airport" workshops where the concessionaires at the airport showcase their delectable delights!! 


Please save the date for this event and check for more details at




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611 Walker, 7th Floor

Houston, TX 77002 

T. 832.393.0600

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Article1Letter from the Director

Greetings and Happy 2012!


I sincerely hope each of you had a wonderful holiday season with your family, friends, and those you hold dear.


As we embark upon a new and what we anticipate to be a very exciting year, the Mayor's Office of Business Opportunity continues to work diligently in our efforts to Educate, Connect, and Grow small businesses.


2011 proved to be quite challenging. However, we persevered and were able to implement new strategies and programs that enhance and foster meaningful and successful small, minority, women and disadvantaged businesses' (S/MWDBEs) participation within the City's procurement activities. To name a few:

  • Mayor Annise Parker's creation and our subsequent implementation of the Hire Houston First Program.
  • A revamped certification application that is easier to complete.
  • Expansion of the City's certifications from one year to three years.
  • Creation of a new certification hotline (832-393-0600) in which companies can call to learn about the certification process or check on the status of their applications.
  • Continued services and programs for new, start-up, and small businesses provided by our One Stop Business Center. These services include free information on City requirements for operating your business such as licenses, permits, etc.
In keeping with Mayor Annise Parker's vision to create a competitive and diverse business environment in the City of Houston, as well as in keeping with our commitment to Educate, Connect, and Grow small businesses, I am extremely pleased to announce that effective January 20, 2012, we are on the air! The Mayor's Office of Business Opportunity has a new TV show, the namesake of this newsletter, Insights to Opportunity. The purpose of the show is to provide S/MWDBEs with contracting information, events, and resources that will link them to potential opportunities. The show will air on Houston Television (HTV). Please check your local TV listing for time and channel or visit HTV's channel guide on their website.

We're hoping for bigger and better things in 2012 for our S/MWDBE community. Any comments or suggestions? Email me at


Truly yours,


Carlecia D. Wright

Article2Public Works & Engineering: Business Development

Are you familiar with your business advocates in the Public Works & Engineering Department? If not, you should make it a priority. The PWE Small Business Development Group (SBDG) was established for the purpose of promoting equal access to contract and procurement opportunities in the PWE Department for Small, Minority, Women Owned Business Enterprises (S/MWBE).


Managing the S/MWBE Program, as well as the Pay or Play Program for the department, the SBDG continually strives to create more opportunities for S/MWBEs while removing barriers in the procurement process. One of the ways in which the SBDG has achieved this is by working with department divisions to "unbundle" certain contracts, thus, creating smaller contract packages. Not only does this process create additional opportunities for S/MWBEs, but also,  allows them to bid on the packages as a prime contractor and increases the possibility of obtaining any required bonding.


Additional services the SBDG provides include:

  • Providing assistance with locating contract opportunities.
  • Research and review of PWE contracts for the purpose of setting realistic and achievable participation goals.
  • Providing information on doing business with and understanding intricacies of the PWE Department.
  • Holding outreach events to help foster business relationships and create opportunity awareness.
  • Assisting contractors with meeting their goals and locating certified S/MWBEs.

Contract and procurement opportunities in the department are divided into four major categories: Professional Services, Construction, Non-Professional Services and Supply. Examples of products and services procured include: building materials, vehicle maintenance and repair, IT services and equipment, HVAC services, chemicals, janitorial services, uniforms, office supplies and much more.

For more information about the Small Business Development Group, please visit the SBDG website or contact the SBDG at (832) 395-2516 or by email at

Article3One Stop Business Center Adds Hire Houston First to Duties
By Neil Polansky, Program Manager

Now as part of its daily operations as the premier supplier of free business regulatory information in Houston, the One Stop Business Center has added the administration of Mayor Annise Parker's Hire Houston First (HHF) initiative to its duties. In addition to disseminating the acclaimed Getting Started Packet, One Stop is now charged with the designation process for Hire Houston First.


Mayor Annise Parker developed Hire Houston First in an effort to promote economic opportunity for Houston businesses and to support job creation. The City of Houston spends billions of dollars to maintain and improve the City's infrastructure, and provide services for the public. Hire Houston First grants the City the ability to give preference to local companies and local workers, as long as their pricing is competitive.


There is no fee to apply for designation under Hire Houston First. The program is targeted towards Houston area businesses wishing to sell products and/or services to the City of Houston, and provides a geographic preference in the bid evaluation process.


Since its inception, Hire Houston First has seen over 140 companies designated as either a City Business (CB- those headquartered in Houston or those having a principal place of business in Houston), or Local Business (LB- those headquartered in the 8 county area surrounding and including Houston or having a principal place of business in the 8 county area).


Businesses interested in becoming eligible to participate in the Hire Houston First initiative must complete a 4 page application and submit a notarized affidavit to the Mayor's Office of Business Opportunity (One Stop Business Center).  Only businesses that meet the requirements, as defined by Chapter 15, Article XI of the Code of Ordinances will be eligible to be designated under the Hire Houston First initiative.


For information on Hire Houston First, the enabling ordinance, application, and list of approved firms, go online to the Hire Houston First webpage.


You can also call the One Stop Business Center at 832-393-0954 and speak to an advisor who can explain the program and procedures. Hire Houston First applications can be submitted by email, fax, in person, or by mail.

Article4Terminal B Redevelopment Underway

By Gracie Orr

Houston IAH- It is official. The Houston Airport System's George Bush Intercontinental Terminal B renovation is underway! On January 23, 2012, a groundbreaking ceremony launched the first phase of the three-phase redevelopment project, created through a public-private partnership between the Houston Airport System and United Airlines.


The $160 million south concourse project will replace south side flight stations with a new 225,000 square-foot space to support United Airlines regional operations. The facelift will provide a better customer experience and will feature modern and expanded gate lounge areas, concessions, and restroom facilities. Phase one of the project will be completed in 2013.


The Terminal B renovation is a $1billion three-phase project planned over the next seven to ten years based on demand, and has been assigned a whopping 31% M/SDBE (18% MBE, 12%SBE and 1% DBE) goal. In addition, a 24% MBE goal has been assigned to the professional service portion of this project. The Terminal B Renovation not only presents big opportunities for the City of Houston small, minority, and women owned business community it also represents a significant investment to Houston's local economy.


Stay abreast of all future announcements on upcoming opportunities associated with Terminal B projects by visiting the Houston Airport System website, then click on "Doing Business" at the top right, then click on "HAS Office of Business Opportunity," and lastly, click on "Terminal B Opportunities".  


Article5Turner School of Construction Management: Graduation Ceremony

By Felicia Price

On December 14, 2011, the Mayor's Office of Business Opportunity and Turner Construction hosted the 17th Graduation Ceremony for the Turner School of Construction Management. Fifty participants received certificates of completion, and some of the featured classes offered throughout the course included: estimating and bidding, project management, and financial statements and cash flow management. The course offers individuals in the construction and engineering field, networking opportunities and possible connections to contract opportunities.


Director, Carlecia D. Wright, presented a proclamation on behalf of Mayor Annise Parker to George Key of Turner Construction for his dedication to the small business community. The theme of the Graduation Ceremony was "Success Beyond the Moment". Guest speakers included: Jacobs Monty of Monty & Ramirez Attorneys at Law, Rev. Hilton D. Smith, Turner Construction V.P. of Community Affairs, and a host of former graduates.


Turner School of Construction Management is an eight week course offered once a year during the Fall at the Palm Center located at 3550 Griggs Road, Houston Texas 77021. For more information or to be added to our distribution list, please contact us at
Graduation Class 2012
Fall 2011 Graduation Class

Article6Houston Business Development, Inc.: Helping Small Businesses Gain Capital  

It is no news to small business owners that access to capital is challenging. If you ask Marlon Mitchell, president of Houston Business Development, Inc., (HBDi) he just might say he has got "your" number. Traditional banks at times are not the answer for credit or collateral challenged businesses. HBDi was created as a non-bank, community lending organization alternative to banks. The loan programs that HBDi offers are designed to meet the needs of the small business community. In fact, the programs are designed to help small businesses get the credit history they need to move to the larger banks.


Established in 1986 and located in the Palm Center, HBDi assists small companies in overcoming the biggest challenge of any start-up or emerging business, access to capital. Through various loan programs, eligible small businesses in the Houston metropolitan area are able to obtain flexible, low-interest rate loans ranging from $5K to $5 million for working capital, equipment, furniture and fixtures and real estate.


HBDi has successfully closed loans for a vast array of small businesses including: a few restaurants, a manufacturing company, and a health care business just to name a few. Their Fast Track Loan Program is a streamlined program for borrowers with reasonable credit that need to borrow up to $25,000. A main qualification for the Fast Track Loan is for small businesses to be located in low to moderate income areas with one or more years of operating experience.


It has often been stated, the best time to apply for a loan is when you do not need the money. To learn more about the products and services HBDi offers, please contact a loan officer at (713) 845-2400 or visit


Article7Success Story: Sunrise Delivery

By Roger Harris, External Affairs Manager


Ask Denise Flores and she will tell you: Sunrise Delivery, Inc. delivers the  goods. Her firm has been in operation since1981, and is certified by the City of Houston as a Minority and Woman-owned Business Enterprise. Sunrise Delivery, Inc. is a 24 hour delivery service accommodating the entire State of Texas. Therefore, it comes as no surprise that her firm offers delivery and courier services with a fleet of eight vehicles including bobtails, cargo vans, and flatbeds.

Denise Flores, Sunrise Delivery Inc.
Denise Flores, Sunrise Delivery Inc.

While working for a prime contractor for

Southwestern Bell, Flores was offered an opportunity to deliver small packages for the company. Every business starts off with humble beginnings, and Sunrise is no different. Flores worked out of her car until she was able to get a bank loan for office and warehouse space. Her business has since flourished with a client base covering the entire State of Texas.


Often asked about her success, Flores credits her achievements to the relationships she has developed over the years, and the investment in training her dedicated employees. As a result, Sunrise Delivery has been awarded many subcontracting opportunities with the City of Houston, AT&T, and METRO. Serving as a subcontractor on the METRO project was the result of courting prime contractor Mass Electric for two years before being awarded the contract. Flores learned about the City of Houston certification program while on a routine delivery as she spoke with another subcontractor on the side of the road. Sunrise Delivery is also certified with METRO, the Port of Houston Authority, Houston Minority Supplier Development Council, and the Women's Business Enterprise Alliance.


Although Sunrise Delivery has received awards for its outstanding service; such as, the coveted E-10 Award, the company is no stranger to the challenges that face any small business. Implementing and maintaining a safety program, paying a fair market wage to employees, and defending her right to technology are just some of the challenges faced by Sunrise Delivery. Flores advises entrepreneurs to be vigilant in their relationship building, and to take responsibility for their company's success. 

Article8Success Story: Hallmark Capital Group


By Roger Harris, External Affairs Manager


With a business name like Hallmark Capital Group, one may think that it is a financial institution. However, according to Jason Freeman, President and CEO of Hallmark Capital Group, LLC, the company provides government support services and construction management. Since its inception in 2002, Hallmark has received numerous contracts in the government sector, and used their 8(a) federal designation, State of Texas Historically Underutilized Business, and City of Houston Minority, Small, and Disadvantaged Business Enterprise certifications to its advantage.


Hallmark Capital Group started out as a holding company for an insurance restoration and disaster recovery franchise that specialized in fire and water damage repairs. Freeman credits his father for his entrepreneurial spirit and success. The elder Freeman operated a successful roofing company in the Midwest known as Freeman Roofing, Inc. Freeman also acknowledges Government Procurement Connections for helping him see how beneficial certification can be in the marketplace. While starting off initially as a subcontractor, Hallmark Capital Group now primarily works as a prime contractor with such agencies as the City of Houston, Houston Independent School District, and the Department of Defense agencies such as: Army, Air Force, Navy and Homeland Security. With over 300 employees and 15 locations, Hallmark operates nationwide with headquarters in Houston, Texas.


Initially starting off in the government support arena, Hallmark developed other lines of business that compliments where it was already excelling. Jason firmly believes that strategic alliances and acquiring companies is a key to building capacity. Hallmark recently announced the acquisition of Farrell Roofing and Sheet Metal Co. Inc., a roofing firm that has been in business since 1949. This latest acquisition 

increases the portfolio of services provided by Hallmark.


Freeman comments that with the current economic climate, larger firms
Jason Freeman, Hallmark Caplital Group
Jason Freeman, Hallmark Capital Group
are looking at opportunities they would not have considered in the past; creating more competition and driving down prices. The lesson he would share to his fellow entrepreneurs: look to be a prime contractor whenever possible, create teaming agreements and joint ventures. Last, but not least, be willing to take risks but not be reckless.
We welcome your comments or suggestions. Please e-mail External Affairs Manager, Roger Harris, at

Educate. Connect. Grow.