College helps minority businesses secure National Harbor work -- Gazette.Net


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A Prince George’s County program designed to assist minority-owned businesses in securing contracts at National Harbor continues to produce results, with more new businesses adding to the five graduates that have already received work at the multi-million resort development in Oxon Hill.

Six businesses completed the 18-month Accelerator Program this year at The Center for Minority Business Development at Prince George’s Community College in Largo.

The program concentrates on the areas of project estimating, construction project management, strategic marketing and cost accounting for labor rates, said Carl E. Brown Jr., the center’s executive director.

Outside of training, the center also offers workshops and networking opportunities for businesses to meet with major National Harbor businesses and learn what they seek in proposals.

The center was established in 2009 through a $5 million grant from The Peterson Co. of Fairfax, Va., which owns National Harbor, following business community concerns that local minority-owned businesses were not getting National Harbor contracts.

“They provide A to Z in terms of training for any small business,” said Ardania Williams, vice president of marketing and development for Lendana Construction Co., an Upper Marlboro-based small masonry business that attended the training.

Lendana has been contracting with National Harbor projects for two years and within the last several months, landed a joint-venture contract for brick work at the Tanger Outlets shopping center, which is scheduled to open later this year.

The company partnered with CF Masonry Specialists in Jessup to bolster its capacity for the Tanger work and to date, Lendana has received about $1.8 million in National Harbor contracts, Williams said.

George Hockaday-Bey, owner of G-11 Enterprises in Fort Washington, said he owes all of his $100,000 in National Harbor electrical work contracts to the center and its Accelerator program.

“Coming up in the trades, I always knew how to do the work, but I needed help in running a business,” he said, adding that the program helped him with financial guidance and organizational skills.

One of G-11’s recent projects involved electrical improvements for the MGM Resorts International landing site office while also handling power upgrades and maintenance for various harbor businesses, Brown said.

“We couldn’t be happier,” said Brown, adding that more local businesses are seeing contact opportunities as more projects come back on track after the recession.

lrobbins@gazette.net