Houston Business Journal – by Christine Hall
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Minority-owned construction company owners have a new resource to help them bid on public construction projects — the Construction Resource Center.
The center was opened this month by Grijalva & Allen PC to serve both the CPA firm’s clients and members of the Houston Minority Business Development Center. Grijalva & Allen, along with its affiliate, G&A Partners, operates HMBDC and the University of Texas Bonding & Technical Assistance Program and recently consolidated the two programs under one roof.
The Construction Resource Center provides minority-owned construction companies access to bid opportunities, blue prints, work specifications and graphic printing equipment, including an iSquareFoot printer — in addition to one-on-one assistance with the bidding process.
“Nearly 60 percent of G&A clients are in the construction business,” says Darryl Samuels, project manager of UTS-BTAP for G&A Partners. “We recognized that many developing and minority-owned construction companies do not have the experience or the resources to bid on public construction projects.”
Grijalva & Allen PC provides a full range of accounting, tax, and management consulting services, and G&A Partners is a professional employer organization.
In conjunction with the center, G&A Partners offers business consulting, helps to match contractors’ capabilities with the scope of projects and introduces contractors to key decision makers on various public projects, including expansions at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center and the University of Texas System.
“With most plan rooms, people look at a set of drawings, but have no one to turn to with questions,” says John Allen, president and chief operating officer for G&A Partners. “Here, we have seven full-time staff, each with a different expertise, who can assist the firms that use the center.”
Clients interested in using the company’s expertise is given what Samuels and Allen call “face time,” giving both parties a chance to develop a relationship.
G&A Partners assesses each client’s business, its principals, job history and qualifications.
Armed with the results, G&A Partners then introduces the client to key general contractors and sub-contractors who it feels would benefit.
In addition, the company hosts weekly meetings to bring both clients and real estate decision makers together.
“The goal is to have everyone bid as a group for a show of force and to meet all of the minority business requirements,” Samuels says. “We work to make sure that we are bidding on projects where we would have the biggest impact.”
To expand the center even more, G&A Partners is working on a fundraising program, with Moorhouse Construction among the early contributors.
The company also is setting up work stations for clients to use computers and other resources.