The meeting aimed to ensure Mississippi’s Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBE) have the knowledge, resources, and information necessary to take advantage of infrastructure opportunities. The day-long meeting was held in Jackson at the Mississippi E-Center.
“Opportunities are here and the individuals in this room today have said to me, as Commissioner, that we want to do business with DBEs,” Simmons said. “They said, ‘We want to grow the DBE list. We want them to be successful, but we do expect them to perform effectively and meet standards required of them.’” These topics, among others, were discussed at the meeting.
Simmons said there are obstacles that can get in the way and put some businesses at a disadvantage when it comes to being able to compete, whether it is their size, lack of resources, an inability to get funded, or a lack of knowledge when it comes to networking. The goal of the meeting was to further educate these businesses on these obstacles and the opportunities that are now here.
Panelists from MDOT were featured speakers at the meeting including, Executive Director Brad White, Chief Engineer Brian Ratliff, Human Resources Director Terrance Yarbrough, and Civil Rights Division Director Carolyn Bell. Other panelists included representatives from the Office of State Aid and Road Construction, the City of Jackson, Hinds County, Jackson State University, Jackson Public Schools, and local businesses in the community.
“I am grateful for everyone that attended our meeting to learn about the contracting opportunities that are here for all businesses, regardless of size,” Simmons said. “I look forward to seeing what comes of our dialogue in the coming months.”