Mississippi Businesses Awarded Millions in Disaster-Related Contracts
Federal agencies are continuing their commitment to contracting with Mississippi businesses, particularly small and minority business owners, for products and services needed during the Hurricane Katrina recovery.
“We are committed to doing business with Mississippi firms, especially those registered with the Mississippi Contract Procurement Center,” said Nick Russo, deputy federal coordinating officer for the disaster recovery.
“Katrina affords a unique opportunity for small and minority business owners to demonstrate their tremendous capacity to help revitalize Mississippi. The Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is dedicated to helping the state with its comprehensive recovery, and we are counting on small and minority businesses to work side by side with us in the years ahead.”
Since Katrina devastated Mississippi homes, businesses, utilities, infrastructure and woodlands, the federal government has committed more than $235 million to Mississippi businesses for disaster-related work.
At the direction of FEMA, the General Services Administration (GSA), through a partnership with the Mississippi Contract Procurement Center, is contracting with Mississippi businesses.
GSA bought $55 million worth of travel trailers from Mississippi small businesses for FEMA’s temporary housing program
GSA awarded 46 contracts worth $42.8 million to small businesses in Mississippi for various disaster support efforts.
Before Katrina made landfall, at the direction of FEMA, GSA awarded Mississippi companies:
58 contracts to 21 small businesses for $81,677,821;
34 contracts to 12 large businesses for $26,476,495.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, in support of FEMA, on September 16 awarded a competitive bid fixed-price contract to AshBritt, Inc. for up to $500 million for debris removal in Mississippi. In accordance with the Stafford Act, AshBritt is to give preference to organizations, firms or individuals residing or doing business primarily in the area affected by Hurricane Katrina.
The contractor must make good faith efforts to include small businesses, service-disabled veterans, small HUB-Zone (Historically Underutilized Business) concerns, small disadvantaged businesses, and woman-owned small businesses in its subcontracts.
Of the money paid to subcontractors to date, 61 percent has gone to Mississippi firms. A further breakout shows 60 percent of total payments have gone to small businesses, 30 percent to HUB (Historically Underutilized Business) zone firms, and 14 percent to small disadvantaged businesses.
The U.S. Small Business Administration Disaster Assistance Program has approved 1,969 loan applications totaling more than $141.7 million to date for homeowners, renters, and business owners.
“It is vitally important that we continue our joint efforts to get recovery under way,” said Robert Latham, executive director of the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency. “Mississippi businesses and jobs are part of the key to making this process successful.” FEMA is continuing efforts to contract with Mississippi businesses, including disadvantaged businesses, and to hire Mississippians to assist with the state’s recovery.
Because the recovery will be funded over several years, Mississippi businesses are encouraged to pursue all opportunities to play a role in the recovery process. Interested contractors and vendors should call the Mississippi Small Business Development Center at 1-662-915-5001, toll free in Mississippi 1-800-725-7232, or e-mail the center at http://[email protected].
Vendors seeking to provide services or products to federal recovery agencies should contact the Mississippi Contract Procurement Center (MSCPC) at www.mscpc.com or call 1-800-222-6362.