California has 1,971 "shovel-ready" construction projects — worth about $23.2 billion — lined up for federal stimulus package help, according to Stimulus Watch (www.stimuluswatch.org), an online site that lists all such projects in the U.S.
Contractors large and small need to be ready to build, as the new federal regulations require states to obligate construction funds within a short window of opportunity or lose funds to those states that are ready to receive the money. California is set to gain about $2.6 billion.
A Jamestown, CA, company, Combined Effort, Inc., is as prepared as any small construction company can be, and has some advice for companies to get geared-up for federal help. It helps that the company has been learning the ropes during California's recent economic decline and budget woes.
"Combined Effort, Inc. was established in 2002 and is a Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) with revenues of $1 million or less in the preceding fiscal years," says Mike Johnson, a co-founder of the company.
The business began by contracting local foundation and infrastructure work and eventually moved on to bidding Cal Trans (CDOT) jobs that broadened their experience and enhanced the company's resume, he said. Along the way, Combined Effort increased its construction crews, added an engineer, surveyor, biologist, estimator, and office support staff.
"After getting Combined Effort, Inc. registered with the Small Business Administration (SBA) as a SDVOSB, we moved into the federal contract Arena," said Johnson. "To date we have won competitive contracts with the National Park Service (NPS), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), and the Veterans Administration (VA), as well as with CDOT and the California Dept. of Corrections."
"In 2009, Combined Effort is concentrating on the federal contract market," he adds. "We have hired a business and proposal writing consultant to help us restructure our management according to federal requirements, learn how to write competitive proposals, and polish our presentations.
"We scour www.fedbizopps.gov daily for contract opportunities that we qualify for and meet with partners to plan our proposal strategy." A $1.25-million U.S. Army contract was recently acquired through those efforts, bringing current contract totals to $3.4 million, according to Johnson.
"To take advantage of the opportunities offered by the newly passed Stimulus Package," says Johnson, "to increase revenues and expand our capabilities, we plan to combine efforts with other small business companies whose depth and experience help us qualify for larger or more technical projects."
"To date, we have plans to submit proposals for a wide variety of projects across the United States, concentrating on those that are multiple years in length, thus providing work for ourselves, our employees and our partners."
- Make sure you qualify/register as a small business at http://www.sba.gov/etc.
- Go to outreaches, conferences and seminars put on by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE).
- Spend time at fedbizopps.gov.
- Visit and make contacts at Local Procurement Offices, i.e., Forest Service, Coast Guard, USACE, etc.
- Connect with Small Business Advocates in your area.
- Read trade magazines such as California Builder & Engineer — keep yourself current.
Below are typical "shovel-ready" projects the mayors of California submitted for the 2008 U.S. Conference of Mayors report. All 1,792 projects, as well as all U.S. projects by state, can be viewed at www.stimuluswatch.org.
|Provide funding match to construct a segment of a new arterial connecting State Route 51.||Alameda||CA||60||$9,000,000||Streets/Roads|
|Reconstruct approximately 1.5 miles of a major collector in Harbor Bay Business Park.||Alameda||CA||28||$5,000,000||Streets/Roads|
|ADA sidewalk rehabilitation.||Alameda||CA||11||$3,750,000||Streets/Roads|
|Construct Phase 2 of the Webster Street Streetscape project, including vintage lighting and street trees.||Alameda||CA||20||$3,000,000||Streets/Roads|
|Reconstruct .35 miles of Fernside Boulevard, including drainage and sidewalk improvements.||Alameda||CA||22||$2,011,000||Streets/Roads|
|Reconstruct approximately 1 mile of Central Avenue, including drainage and sidewalk improvements.||Alameda||CA||21||$1,880,000||Streets/Roads|