22:35 PM

TPA sets spending goal for disadvantaged businesses

The key to attracting minority- and woman-owned companies in both phases of TPA's expansion has been setting a firm goal and proactively engaging the community.

The latest phase of Tampa International Airport’s expansion is officially underway and the Airport has set its sights on a new target: $74.7 million.

That’s how much TPA is projected to spend with disadvantaged business enterprises and woman- and minority-owned businesses, many of which are local, as part of Phase 2 of TPA’s Master Plan expansion. Phase 2 includes 16 new express curbsides, a 35-acre commercial development, a new central utility plant, a new taxiway bridge and other related projects.

“Our expansion will improve the passenger experience for millions of passengers each year, but it will also help drive our local economy forward and support our local businesses,” said Executive Vice President of Facilities Al Illustrato. “It’s very important to us that we spread our investment around Tampa Bay and lift up our community.”

The Phase 2 investment comes on the heels of Master Phase 1, which saw an overall investment of $178 million with more than 200 minority, women and disadvantaged businesses.

The key to success in both phases has been setting a firm goal and proactively engaging the community.

Since April, TPA’s contractors, including Hensel Phelps, Beck, and J.E. Dunn, have hosted six matchmaking events that connect disadvantaged businesses with ongoing projects at the airport. More than 570 prospective contractors have attended to network with the teams, learn about the projects and get a better understanding of doing business at the Airport.

“The success of Phase 1 was a product of TPA’s strong commitment to the community – and Phase 2 will be no different,” said Stephanie Pierce, the Business Diversity Manager at TPA. “TPA understands that to truly be good stewards we, as an organization, must continue to ensure a diverse participation from all facets. Promoting inclusion starts within the organization from the top down.”

Derek Mateos, President of Tampa-based Matcon Construction Services, said his company has benefited tremendously from work at Tampa International Airport and past outreach events. Past work on Master Plan Phase 1, including work on the Main Terminal expansion, and other capital improvement projects has helped Matcon hire more employees, enhance its overall capabilities and build a positive reputation around the community.

“The work that we have done at the Airport has helped our business incredibly,” he said. “The Airport really, in terms of these outreach events, does a fantastic job instilling the importance of supplier diversity. That’s not the norm across the board. The Airport and its prime contractors prepare for these meetings and actually hire companies. We are a testament to that.”