34 Business Leaders Graduate with Tools to Increase Aggregate Bonding Capacity
Mayor Annise Parker lauded the success of the City of Houston’s Office of Business Opportunity (OBO) Bonding Education Program (BEP), an educational workshop designed to help small business owners build bonding capacity by working with volunteer bond producers.
“Houston’s economic success, especially the rebounding increase in jobs after the recession, is largely due to the success of our small businesses,” said Mayor Parker. “We are going to aggressively continue to make sure opportunities are available to as many Houston small business owners as we can through programs like BEP.”
There have already been successful outcomes from the program. Ovidio Gutierrez is President and CEO of G5 Construction located in Spring, Texas. The two-year-old company specializes in interior renovations and clients have included Texas Southern University, University of Houston, Transwestern and the Houston Dynamo. Prior to attending the BEP, Mr. Gutierrez was only able to obtain a single bond for $80,000. During the program, he was able to obtain a single bond for $157,000 in just three hours and is on his way to increasing his aggregate amount from $500,000 to $1 million. Mr. Gutierrez is now able to grow his company and pursue City of Houston contracts with increased bonding capacity.
In addition, Vu Phong Tran, President and CEO of AB&C Electric, was able to secure $400,000 in aggregate bonding capacity through the program. Mr. Tran’s business recently became certified as a minority business enterprise in September 2012.
Mayor Parker recently congratulated the 34 graduate business leaders at the program’s closing ceremony. Addressing business representatives and stakeholders in attendance, OBO Director Carlecia D. Wright stated, “The Office of Business Opportunity is thankful to the sponsors and community partners for helping to facilitate the BEP. Graduates now have a better understanding of how to obtain bonding and we will continue to support their businesses and others in building capacity.”
The program is made up of two components: Educational Workshops and Bond Readiness. The educational workshops include seven comprehensive workshops, each providing information related to improving a small contractor’s operations and thereby making it easier to be bonded or to increase their bonding capacity. The closing workshop focuses on networking and next steps.
The bond readiness component consists of one-on-one interactions with surety bond producers, underwriters and other professionals who work with the contractors on a case-by-case basis in assembling the materials necessary for a complete bond application and in addressing any omissions and/or deficiencies that might deter the successful underwriting of a bond.
The program began August 7 and ran through September 25, 2012, at no cost to participants. The BEP will continue throughout the fall as participants work with volunteer bond producers to build capacity and apply those bonding lines to transportation-related contracts. The next program is currently planned for Spring 2013.
The BEP is a partnership between the U.S. Department of Transportation/Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization, the Surety & Fidelity Association of America, and a host of local stakeholders. The Houston effort marked the 13th program completed during 2012, and the 26th since the program started in 2010. To date, participants of the federal program have obtained over $175 million in aggregate bonding capacity as a direct result of the BEP.
Business owners or leaders interested in participating in the BEP should look for applications on the OBO website beginning in December. For more information on the BEP, visit: http://osdbu.dot.gov/bap/bep_main.cfm.