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Volume 2, Issue 3May 5, 2010
Newcomers to government sales may experience culture shock 
 
Mary Scott NabersMany companies that have never paid any attention to government are now entering the public sector marketplace. Newcomers usually have a significant reality jolt within the first 90 days.
 
Selling to government bears little resemblance to commercial marketplaces. Everything is different and inexperienced companies usually flounder for many months before realizing just how different the selling process really is.
 
The state and local government marketplace is where the money is today...but this sector is often the downfall of contractors. It is a slippery slope in the beginning because the rules are all different and the number of jurisdictions is large.
 
IN THIS ISSUE
15 communities get health IT funds
$775 million set aside for bus systems
$2.3B in bond elections in Texas
Upcoming education opportunities
Building owners can get energy advice
Where are they now?
What the states are doing
National contracting opportunities
People
Calendar of events
Don't miss another issue
Strategic Partnerships, Inc. provides opportunity identification for all 50 states. Click here for more information.
'Beacon Communities' to set stage for health IT programs
 
Recovery Act funds of $220 million headed to 15 communities nationwide
Fifteen communities from Oklahoma to Maine and New York to California will share $220 million in Recovery Act funds after being named pilot communities for the Beacon Community program. The recipients were selected to begin programs that are expected to result in the widespread use of health information technology (health IT). Health IT and the use of electronic medical records are expected to improve health care quality while improving safety and efficiency.
 
Kathleen Sebelius"Beacon Communities will offer insight into how health IT can make a real difference in the delivery of health care," said Secretary U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius (pictured). She said they will "tap the best ideas across America and demonstrate the enormous benefit health IT will have to improving health and care within our communities."
 
The 15 communities selected for funding will use health IT resources to unite doctors, hospitals, community health programs, federal programs and patients and provide improved quality and efficiencies that will benefit not only patients, but taxpayers. The communities vying for the funds presented goals for their health IT programs that match the needs and priorities in their communities.
 
The Geisinger Clinic in Danville, Pennsylvania, was awarded more than $16 million. The goal of the program there is to improve care for patients with pulmonary disease and congestive heart failure. It will do so by creating a community-wide medical home, promoting Health Information Exchange and extending the clinic's proven model for practice redesign to independent health care organizations throughout the region.
 
The Louisiana Public Health Institute in New Orleans will use its more than $13.5 million in funds to reduce racial health disparities and improve control of diabetes and smoking cessation rates. It will accomplish those goals by linking technically isolated health systems, providers, and hospitals and allow patients better access to their personal health records.
 
Funding beneficiaries are expected to use existing federal programs that are working to promote health information exchange in their communities. They also will coordinate with the Regional Extension Center Program, State Health Information Exchange Program, and the National Health Information Technology Research Center (HITRC) to share best practices. To view the complete list of funding recipients, the amount of funding for each and the goals for the programs in their areas, click here and look under "Recent Reports."

For information about these and other funding opportunities,
contact Reagan Weil or Richard Hartmann at 512-531-3900.
$775 million in federal funds will upgrade bus systems
 
Transit groups preparing for competitive process to garner part of funding
Additional federal funding of $775 million to upgrade the nation's bus systems has been announced by the U.S. Department of Transportation. Already, a number of transit systems throughout the country are preparing to make application for some of the funds. 
 
DART BusDallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) officials have indicated they would like to replace nearly all of their diesel-powered buses with natural gas-powered buses. That would mean replacement of nearly 600 buses like the one pictured. Officials have not yet decided how much to seek or for what projects they might seek funding.  
 
Richard RodriguezThe Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), which won and then lost federal funding in recent years, will again seek a $150 million grant to introduce rapid-transit-style bus service in the city. The system would start out by operating on 50 miles of arterial streets and then hopefully expand throughout the city to connect with other bus routes and rail lines. 
 
"If funding is secured for bus rapid transit, it would allow us to speed travel for riders," said CTA President Richard Rodriguez (right).
 
The Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) will compete for a grant to either buy new buses, make improvements in bus maintenance facilities or for transit planning, according to Henry Kay, MTA's deputy administrator for planning. With the agency increasing the number of hybrid diesel-electric buses in its fleet, Kay said the agency likely will go after money to improve facilities for maintenance for those additions to the fleet. Kay said he expects the competition to be more competitive than the rail funding, since most entities have buses.
 
Peter Rogoff
"Well maintained, clean and reliable buses make a world of difference to the millions of Americans who use transit every day," Federal Transit Administrator (FTA) Peter Rogoff (left) said.  FTA officials indicate the funding will provide a first step to bringing the nation's transit systems into a state of good repair, but there is much more to be done.
 
The FTA will review applications for the discretionary bus and bus facility funds, and will prioritize proposals based on how they address the issue of getting and keeping the transit system's state of good repair and recapitalization needs. The funding can be used for buying or upgrading buses and vans, for modernizing buses, bus facilities and revenue service facilities, for bus-related equipment and components of transit asset management plans. Deadline for applying for the funding is June 18. The grants are expected to be announced later this summer.
 
For information about these and other funding opportunities,
contact Reagan Weil or Richard Hartmann at 512-531-3900.
Texas May Bond Elections
$2.3 billion in bond issues on tap in Texas this weekend
 
80 projects mean hundreds of contracting opportunities statewide
VoteBillions of dollars in funding will likely result from bond elections throughout Texas on Saturday, May 8. More than 80 projects - representing contracting opportunities with public school districts, hospital districts, cities, counties and special districts in the state - represent total spending of $2.3 billion.
 
Numerous school bond issues are among the referendums, including a $34 million bond issue in the Dallas-Fort Worth area to build two new schools, renovate three others and add security measures district-wide. A hospital district in West Texas is seeking passage of a $22.85 million bond package to build a new hospital and a city in North Texas is asking voters to approve $66 million for street, drainage, park projects and other initiatives. Contracting opportunities will include new construction, technology, security, renovation work, energy upgrades and more.
 
Strategic Partnerships, Inc.'s researchers are following the bond issues and have outlined opportunities into The Texas Bond Data Package.  For more information click here.
 
Upcoming education opportunities
 
Texas school district hopes voters pass $18.27 million bond vote
Cynthia Lusignolo The Liberty, Texas, school district is planning an $18.7 million bond election this weekend. If the referendum passes, it will provide for additions and renovations to several campuses in the district. Superintendent Cynthia Lusignolo (pictured) said the proposal includes a new wing for the high school that will add more science labs, computer labs and restrooms. There will also be interior renovations at the high school to replace all restrooms, install a new fire alarm system and to come into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. There will also be improvements to lighting and to campus wiring and cabling to facilitate modern technology needs. In addition to school renovations, other upgrades will be to the vocational building, elementary school gyms, the football stadium and field house. A new administration facility would also be built and 40 parking spaces added. 
 
'Super dorms' being considered for California students
Four academic institutions in California are at the drawing table trying to determine the best way to build student housing in the city. The California College of the Arts, the University of California Hastings College of the Law, San Francisco State University and the California Culinary Academy are investigating the possibility of pooling resources and then working with a private developer to build student housing - a "super dorm." Student housing is limited and real estate in California is pricey. Already, the University of California San Francisco is sharing a dorm with CCA, the culinary academy and UC Hastings students because UCSF overbuilt. But the arrangement is only temporary. Officials note they are getting more interest from housing developers, since they see such an arrangement as a good investment because the facility would have 100 percent occupancy and would pay for itself with guaranteed rent. 
 
NYU planning to break ground on D.C. facility in September
New York University is planning a new 12-story facility not in New York but in Washington, D.C. The NYU-DC Center will be only blocks away from the White House. It will include lecture halls, seminar rooms and offices on the lower floors with student housing on the top floors. It will also house the Office of Government and Community Affairs and the Brademas Center for the Study of Congress. The university will use the facility to allow students and faculty to spend a semester in D.C. studying in the nation's capital while they study politics, economics, journalism, art history and history.
 
Minnesota school district passes $45 million construction package
Mark WolakThe Mahtomedi, Minnesota, school district this week passed a $45 million construction bond package. The funds from the bond issue will replace an elementary school and renovate three other schools and the District Education Center. Funding also will be available for renovations to athletic facilities. Superintendent Mark Wolak (pictured) thanked the community for passing the bond vote, pledging that the school board would "do its due diligence to effectively implement this facility plan." The new school is expected to cost $17.7 million. Renovations at the high school will cost $14.4 million, $2.6 million will be spent at the middle school, with $1.4 million at the Anderson Elementary and $490,000 to renovate the education center. The high school also will reorganize so that there is a dedicated space for science and technology.
 
Detroit schools being demolished to make way for public safety building
Two vacant schools in Detroit have been ordered demolished to make way for a new Office of Public Safety headquarters. The two are part of 10 that will eventually be demolished to rid areas of the city from blighted facilities. Some $3.1 million from bond funds of 1994 are being used for the demolitions. Other demolitions will be paid for with bond funds approved last November.
 
For information about these and other funding opportunities,
contact Reagan Weil or Richard Hartmann at 512-531-3900.
Energy efficiency help available for building owners
 
DOE offers advice to winning applicants for upgrades of new, existing structures
Paul TorcelliniEconomic stimulus funds will be used by the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) national laboratories to offer advice on energy efficiency to commercial building owners. Building owners and operators have until May 10 to submit proposals to DOE for upgrading new or existing buildings. Winning applicants will get first-hand technical advice from experts hired by the laboratories on how to design, build and maintain low-energy buildings through the Commercial Building Partnerships initiative.  
 
Paul Torcellini (pictured), group manager for commercial building research at the National Renewal Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colorado, said the program particpants will "create buildings with measured energy savings of at least 50 percent for new construction and 30 percent for existing buildings."  
 
Where are they now?
Are you a government official who has moved into a new position or to a new agency? Did you recently retire? Were you recently named to an executive-level position at a state-supported college, university or community college? Have you secured a new job as superintendent of a public school? If so, we'd like to hear from you - and so would your friends and colleagues - for our "Where Are They Now" column. Just drop us a line at editor@spartnerships.com and let us know about your previous job and where you are now. This week we feature Mitch Landrieu.
 
Mitch LandrieuMitchell Joseph "Mitch" Landrieu was elected to the Louisiana House of Representatives in 1987 and served 16 years. He occupied the seat held previously by both his father, Maurice Edwin "Moon" Landrieu, and his sister, current Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu. He ran an unsuccessful campaign for mayor of New Orleans in 1994 - a position his father held for eight years - and returned to practicing law. In 2003, he ran for and was elected lieutenant governor of Louisiana, a post he held until 2006, when he ran again - and was defeated again - in the New Orleans mayoral election. It was his third attempt that was successful, when Landrieu ran for New Orleans mayor again this year. He was sworn in this week as the Louisiana city's 70th mayor.
 
 
What the states are doing with stimulus funds
 
The town of Poughkeepsie, New York, has approved $3.8 million in bonding to fund road and sidewalk improvements, $3.2 million of which will come from the Recovery Act. The town has nearly 150 miles of road to maintain. The bonding amount includes $3.2 million for roads construction and $575,000 for sidewalk repairs. The city will make the initial investment and be repaid by stimulus funds.
 
A 36-unit affordable senior apartment rental complex, funded by stimulus funds, is being planned in Reno, Nevada. The development, with a price tag of $8 million, will be a two-story complex with 30 one-bedroom and six two-bedroom units with balconies, elevators and community and service space. A second phase later will include 22 more units.
 
A bicycle pathway from Jackson, Wyoming, to Grand Teton National Park will be built beginning this month from federal stimulus funds. A new irrigation system on the National Elk Refuge is also on tap. The bike path received $1 million in stimulus funds and the irrigation project garnered $4.3 million in funds.
 
In West Springfield, Massachusetts, more than $660,000 in stimulus funds will allow the city's housing authority to complete energy conservation renovations at one of its housing complexes. The funds will be used to replace furnaces and hot water tanks at 90 housing units at one complex and seven offsite housing units throughout the city.
 
In Kitsap County, Washington, stimulus funds left over from street projects will be used to complete bike and pedestrian paths as part of a Safe Route to School project. Some $336,000 will be added to the bike and pedestrian path project which already qualified for $220,000 in stimulus funds. The project will include bike and pedestrian paths, lighting and landscaping and is expected to be completed in time for the 2011-12 school year.
 
Part of the more than $200 million in federal stimulus money allocated to the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico for environmental cleanup work will be used for cleanup efforts on its first hazardous waste landfill, a site used in the early to mid 1940s. The site will be cleaned to residential standards and made available to the county for future use. Hazardous material will be taken to a location in Nevada.
 
A beer distributorship in Ocala, Florida, was the only company to apply for Marion County's portion of a tax-exempt bond funding made available through the Recovery Act. The company will soon receive $10.2 million that will go toward building its new $16 million distribution center. Recovery Zone Facility Bonds were made available after the county commissioners last September declared the county an economic recovery zone. The $10.2 million was the full amount allocated to the county. The new facility will be a 150,000-square-foot building on 26 acres.  
 
National contracting opportunities
 
Tampa seeking consultant to assist with mass transit hub development
Pam Iorio The City of Tampa is seeking a consultant to advise officials on building a mass transit hub in the downtown area. Even though the city is strapped for cash, Mayor Pam Iorio (pictured) said the $100,000 expected to be paid to a consultant will be "money well spent." The state has been awarded $1.25 billion in federal stimulus funds to build high-speed rail from Tampa to Orlando. With construction to begin in February, Tampa officials are hiring a consultant to determine what would be needed at a high-speed rail station. The location is the former county jail and is across the street from the area's regional transit downtown bus transfer station. The consultant hired must have experience in light rail, high-speed rail and bus rapid transit with related planning, funding and permitting experience. Officials hope to hire a consultant by August to help the city address rail station and transit development, parking and pedestrian and passenger access.
 
Wisconsin city planning to build new fire department building
Bids are currently being submitted for a new South Shore Fire Department in Mount Pleasant, Wisconsin. The village board has already approved the police office building, but the $1.8 million contract for the fire station is still up for grabs.
 
Tribal housing authority awarded $1 million for housing needs
Federal funding totaling $1 million has been allocated to the Santa Domino Tribal Housing Authority in Kewa Pueblo, New Mexico - between Albuquerque and Santa Fe. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Act Indian Housing Block Grant Program is responsible for the funding. The money can be used for affordable housing and includes construction, acquisition, modernization or rehabilitation of housing.
 
Pennsylvania transit needs for mass-transit, infrastructure cited
State lawmakers in Pennsylvania have been urged to do what is necessary - raise taxes, increase fees or make some highways toll roads - to generate the cash necessary to fund its deteriorating highways and bridges and its under-funded transit system. A panel that studied transportation needs in the state said an additional $3 billion in funding per year is needed, or a 50 percent increase over current funding of $6.1 billion. Another $432 million is needed for local roads and bridges. The panel's report noted that of the state's  25,000 bridges, more than 5,600 are structurally deficient. Another $3.5 billion in funs, including local funding, would mean the state could rebuild 500 bridges a year for the next 10 years and 300 bridges a year for 10 years after that, reducing the percentage of structurally deficient bridges to 5 percent. 
 
California to again seek federal funds for education
Bonnie ReissA group of six school superintendents, some representing the three largest school districts in California - Los Angeles, San Francisco and Long Beach - will write the application as California again seeks Race to the Top federal education funds. The state hopes to garner as much as $700 million of the $4.35 billion available. California Education Secretary Bonnie Reiss (pictured), said the application is a long shot, but added, "It's worth fighting for the possibility of getting $700 million." California did not win although lawmakers approved a package of school reforms it hoped would make the state's application more competitive. Once the application is written, all of the state's school districts will be invited to sign an agreement showing their commitment to the goals.

Canada offers to lend Michigan money to pay for bridge
Canadian officials have offered to lend Michigan $550 million to help build its portion of a new international bridge that connects Detroit to Windsor. The funds would be for the proposed Detroit River International Crossing and would be repaid to the Canadian government through tolls. The proposal is seen as one that could be supported in Michigan since the persons using the bridge and paying the tolls would be paying for it. Work has already started on the Canadian side. If approved by the Michigan Legislature, construction in Detroit could start this year.
 
Amtrak planning to invest $1 billion to fund capital projects
Capital projects that will rebuild, upgrade and modernize Amtrak tracks, bridges, stations and other infrastructure is in the works, and carries a $1 billion price tag. Some $420 million from its current year capital program will be invested, along with $590 million in Recovery Act funds. There will be upgrades to various bridge projects, replacement of ties and upgrading platforms.
 
New York MTA adopts $26.2 billion capital plan
Jay WalderThe 2010-14 capital plan for New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) has been adopted and the final figure is $26.2 billion. Jay Walder (pictured), MTA's chairman, noted that the plan is $1.8 billion less than the previous plan but still lacks $9 to be totally funded. He cited the importance of "consistently investing in our system." The plan now goes to the state's Capital Program Review Board for approval. About half of the $26.2 billion will go to the New York City Transit, the bus subway system.
 
Alabama seeks bids for $200 million portion of Corridor X construction

The Alabama Department of Transportation is seeking bids for a $200 million construction project to connect Corridor X to Interstate 65. It will be the largest highway construction project in state history. The project includes constructing ramps and bridges to connect Interstate 65 to Corridor X (Interstate 22), north of the downtown area. The project is expected to take three years.
 
Texas state park has $2.6 million in improvements funded
At Bastrop State Park in Texas, a $2.6 million improvement project is on tap. Officials will use bond funding authorized by the Texas Legislature and approved by voters to repair roofing on one of its structures and replace electrical infrastructure in the dining hall. Cabins, the swimming pool, plumbing system and bath house will be renovated and brought up to Americans with Disabilities Act requirements.
 
For information about these and other funding opportunities,
contact Reagan Weil or Richard Hartmann at 512-531-3900 
 
People
Eric BecoatsEric Becoats (pictured), a school administrator for the Guilford County Schools, has been named the new superintendent of the Durham (North Carolina) Public Schools, effective July 1. He will replace Carl Harris, who resigned to accept a deputy assistant secretary position with the U.S. Department of Education. Robert V. Hess, city commissioner of homeless services in New York City, has announced he is leaving his post, and will be replaced by Seth Diamond, an executive deputy commissioner at the Human Resources Administration. One of the highest ranking officers in the McKinney, Texas, police department - assistant chief Rex Redden - will now hold the highest position - chief - of the Carrollton PD, replacing former Chief David James, who retired in January. Mary Jo Santoro has been named the new superintendent of the Greater Lowell Technical High School in Tyngsboro, Massachusetts. Ronald Perea, head of the Los Angeles office of the U.S. Secret Service has been named by Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper to serve in the mayor's cabinet as safety manager. The Washington Park, Illinois, Village Board has hired David Clark, a retired St. Cair County Sheriff's Department investigator, as its police chief. Cary Williamson, a longtime member of the Ardmore, Oklahoma, Fire Department, was recently named chief, replacing former chief J.D. Spohn, who is now the city manager. John J. Garing, a top information strategist at the Defense Information Systems Agency, is retiring from the agency where he is director for strategic planning and information. Wausau, Wisconsin, Schools Superintendent Steve Murley has been named as the new superintendent of the Iowa City, Iowa, school district. David Goolsby, DVM, recently announced he will retire from the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, where he has served as its regional health director for public health services in Cherokee, Greenville, Pickens, Spartanburg and Union counties. Mike Maltaverne has been named fire chief of Rapid City, South Dakota, replacing former Chief Mark Rohlfing, who has taken a job as fire chief of the Milwaukee Fire Department.
 

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Calendar of events
 
Government Health IT Conference planned in June 
The 2010 Government Health IT (GHIT) Conference and Exhibition, sponsored by the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS), is slated for June 15-16 at the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington, D.C. Featured educational tracks include: Blueprints for Nationwide Health Information Exchange and Connecting the Health Community. For more information, click here
 
Small business briefing conference slated in Texas 
The last session of the Texas Department of Transportation's (TxDOT) Business Outreach and Program (BOP) Services Small Business Briefing conferences has been announced for June 15 in Texarkana. The conference goal is to provide small and minority-owned business communities an opportunity to learn more about contracting opportunities with TxDOT. Information will be available to help them do business with the agency and the State of Texas. The sessions not only allow small businesses to be introduced to TxDOT and other state agencies, but also allows them to learn more about the economic development opportunities in their regions. It also allows the agencies to show the myriad of opportunities available for small and minority businesses in the state. For more information, click here or call 1.866.480.2518, Option 2. To register, click here.
 
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