(January 22, 2015) - Tampa International Airport has won many aviation-related awards over the years, but this week it was honored with one reflecting a special commitment to the Tampa Bay community. At the 35th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Leadership Breakfast, the Tampa Organization of Black Affairs gave TPA a Corporate Leadership Award in recognition of Hillsborough County Aviation Authority’s minority contracting efforts.
The award is given annually to companies or organizations that display a commitment to promoting diversity and equality, either through hiring practices or other contributions to the minority community. TOBA board member James Ransom said the group was impressed with TPA’s efforts to involve local, minority-owned businesses in its Master Plan construction projects and other opportunities.
“This award is a big deal,” TPA CEO Joe Lopano said. “Doing business with disadvantaged, woman- and minority-owned business owners is a high priority for us. The first phase of our master plan expansion alone includes a commitment to direct $122.8 million to minority and disadvantaged businesses.”
So far, 39 of 93 subcontracts have gone to such businesses. Both the Aviation Authority and our prime contractors, Austin and Skanska, have hosted numerous events and workshops to help local businesses network with large firms and understand the bonding, bidding and procurement process.
TPA Director of Ethics, Diversity and Administration Elita McMillon credited the airport’s DBE Program staff as well as the Procurement, Planning & Development and Communications teams for efforts to raise the bar for woman- and minority-owned business hiring requirements, as well as spreading the word to the local businesses about various opportunities at the airport.
“I’m proud of the work we’ve done as a team in encouraging more diversity in our contracting,” McMillon said. “We hope to continue these efforts as we move forward with more projects over the next few years.”