Volume 2, Issue 36
January 12, 2011
Infrastructure upgrades, improvements on tap for state, local governments in 2011

Mary Scott Nabers

The beginning of 2011 looks bright for contractors hoping to cash in on local and state governments' need to upgrade and improve infrastructure. While their budgets remain tight, governmental units across the nation are finding various types of funding for a plethora of projects.


At least some of the funding is still coming from the 2009 economic stimulus package. The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) could send $48 billion more to states for a range of infrastructure projects.  At the end of 2010, the DOT had completed agreements obligating $42 billion of that total.




Wisconsin seeking to privatize agency
Upcoming education opportunities
Other upcoming contracting opportunities
Where are they now?
Opportunity of the week
Calendar of events
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Wisconsin looking to partially privatize state agency


State's Department of Commerce would reorganize as public-private authority

Scott WalkerIf Gov. Scott Walker (pictured) has his way, the Wisconsin Department of Commerce will soon become the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp., going from a state agency to a public-private authority. Walker's plan would mean some of the agency's employees would no longer be state employees. 


Walker said his plan would give the agency more flexibility and allow leaders to focus on job creation. As it stands, he noted, the agency is weighted down with two missions - job creation and as a regulatory agency. He favors shifting the regulatory responsibility to a different agency while the current Department of Commerce settles in on job creation.


There is concern, of course, regarding what will happen to the nearly 350 state employees at the agency, some of whom might be displaced. The bill that would change the agency to a public-private authority provides that any workers transferred from the agency would no longer be state workers and may or may not remain part of the state retirement system. There is also concern about how the transformation would affect unions.

The proposed corporation would be structured as an "authority" and led by a chief executive officer and a 12-member board. The governor would serve as chair of the board. Officials say the new corporation would remain accountable to taxpayers even though it would be partially privatized. Yearly progress reports to the legislature would be required, it would be subject to open meetings and open records laws and state ethics laws for its officials.


Upcoming education opportunities


Jean RobillardIowa State to build hospital despite not receiving grant funds

Officials of the University of Iowa said they are disappointed in not receiving a $100 million federal grant to build a new children's hospital, but they still plan to build the hospital. The university had applied for money that is part of the federal health care reform law, but Ohio State beat out Iowa and other universities that applied. UI Vice President for Medical Affairs Jean Robillard (pictured) said, however, that the hospital will still be built and on its original timeline. Officials are hopeful of a 2015 or 2016 opening of the $270 million facility. The costs will be paid both from hospital revenues as well as borrowing money and through private fundraising.


New Jersey law will allow advertisements on school buses

A law was recently passed in New Jersey that will allow advertising on school buses in the state. School boards will be able to contract for the advertising space on all buses they either own or lease. It does not allow private companies to put ads on their buses. The law provides that 50 percent of the revenue from the ads would be dedicated to offset fuel costs, which are continuing to climb. Other states that already allow ads on school buses include Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Minnesota, Tennessee and Texas. Prohibited are advertisements for tobacco or alcohol products and political advocacy. Some officials say buses in other states are generating revenue of as much as $1,000 per bus. 

North Carolina school district buys land for upcoming new schools

Officials in the Wake County (North Carolina) school district have approved a contract for the purchase of a more than 100-acre tract of land in Apex. Purchase price was $4.67 million, nearly half of the price of $8.7 million quoted in 2007. School officials are buying up property to hold onto as school enrollments continue to increase. With the school population expected to reach 60,000 by 2020, officials are planning to eventually build a new high school and a new middle school.


University of Minnesota to get $8.5 million in renovations to facilities

Mike BerthelsenSome $8.5 million in renovations to bathrooms and plumbing are ahead for a residence hall at the University of Minnesota. All bathrooms and showers will be brought into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The upgrades will also improve ventilation and reduce water consumption through the use of low-flow fixtures. Mike Berthelsen (pictured), associate vice president for facilities management, noted that the university has the oldest inventory of public buildings in the state, with 25 percent of them more than 70 years old. Berthelsen said the many rehab projects make existing buildings work better while saving resources. The project is expected to be awarded by the end of January, with work starting in the summer and an August 2012 completion date expected.


Bond election for school expansion on tap in Montana district

The Marion (Montana) School District will put a $2.2 million bond election before voters this week that could lead to a nearly 12,000-square-foot expansion. The addition would include five new classroom spaces that would be used for fourth-graders through eighth-graders. There would also be new rooms and a waiting area for special education, Title 1, counseling, psychology and speech. Also added would be a new main office and a new principal's office. Students would be moved from the basement of the original school facility.


Washington school district approves taking bond election to voters

The Prosser (Washington) school board has voted to put a $41.3 million school bond vote before residents of the district. The proceeds would pay for construction of a new high school. The bond, which will be on a Feb. 8 ballot, will allow the school district to receive an additional $23.5 million in matching state money if it passes. If the funding is approved, the new high school could be ready for occupancy for the 2014-15 school year.


Bond election in Michigan would provide school with improvements

John FazerA new wireless network, energy-efficient lighting and a synthetic field at the high school will be among the improvements for the Goodrich (Michigan) schools if a $15.4 million bond election passes in February. Superintendent John Fazer (pictured) said a successful bond vote would also pay for a new cafeteria for the Reid Elementary and creating more security at the schools. Fazer said the energy upgrades alone would save the district $75,000 per year and added that the synthetic field would cut down on maintenance necessary for a grass field. Fazer said the district has good buildings, but that they are "just a little bit tired."


Penn State University making plans for improved athletic facilities

Already planning a new ice arena made possible with part of an $88 million gift, Penn State University also has on its drawing board a number of other projects that will expand and improve athletic facilities. The university is hoping to expand its natatorium and its indoor tennis facility. Improvements to the lacrosse fields and parking are also on the wish list. The Intramural Building fitness center is also looking for an addition that would be similar to an existing fitness center, but will include the latest in equipment. An architect is expected to be selected this month with the center open either in late 2013 or early 2014. Architects for the natatorium and tennis courts projects are projected to be selected in May. 

Massachusetts school bond of $220,000 approved for design of athletic fields

The first stage of a new high school athletic field in Melrose, Massachusetts, will get under way soon after aldermen approved a $220,000 bond for engineering and design of the renovations to the Melrose High School athletic complex. The feasibility study is complete and the bond will allow for the design phase of the project. If the project stays on schedule, bids will be sought in March and construction would start in mid-May. Officials hope for completion of the project in October.

Montana State University looking forward to expansion of Bobcat stadium Waded Cruzado

After the Montana State University Foundation declared it has reached - and exceeded - its goal of $10 million toward expansion of the university's Bobcat Stadium, construction bids are now being formalized. Officials are hopeful to have the project - which includes a new end zone - ready for the beginning of the 2011 football season. MSU President Waded Cruzado (pictured) said the announcement was a "great way to start off the new year." The goals of the stadium expansion are to increase student access, increase affordable access for the community, enhance the game day experience and provide added scholarship and financial support. A new end zone seating configuration will allow fans the best sightlines.


Florida school district considers new classrooms to meet student growth

The Lee County (Florida) School District's five-year capital improvement plan includes at least two new elementary schools, a middle school and additions at other middle schools. Land purchase is also part of the plan. The plan calls for an additional 3,300 seats in the next five years.


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Other upcoming contracting opportunities


Capital project plan approved for three years in Hudson, Michigan

Steve HartselA three-year capitol project plan has been approved for Hudson, Michigan, that includes major improvement project goals for each year. City Manager Steve Hartsel (pictured), said cost estimates for the projects would include any grant awards for which the city would apply. Among the projects cited this year are the $465,000 replacing of the Jackson Street sewer lift pump station and refurbishing pipe work. Other projects for the first year are reconstruction and extension of an existing portion of Steger Industrial Drive that could cost up to $1.15 million, reconstruction of a city parking lot for $700,000 and completion of a trail and accompanying bridge for $190,000. The 2012-13 projects will include reconstruction of Pleasant Tree for $650,000, a second walking trail with a $150,000 price tag, a sidewalk improvement project and replacement of the chlorine tank at the wastewater treatment plan. An $80,000 southside walking trail is planned as well.


Paso Robles Municipal Airport hopeful for rehab of main runway

The Paso Robles, California, City Council has laid out a wish list through 2016 for the Paso Robles Municipal Airport, with many of the projects contingent on qualifying for state and federal grant funding. The first project up when funding is secured is rehabilitating the main 6,000-foot-long runway, which has not been maintained for the last eight years. The rehab would include repairing surface cracks and placing a seal coat on the runway. Runway markings and stripling would also be replaced. Because the council has signed off on the need for the improvements, staff can now apply for grants that become available. Environmental studies will have to be undertaken before any design and construction can begin.


South Dakota board approves $28.6 million for water-related projects

More than $24 million in wastewater systems are among the upgrades planned in water-related projects approved recently by the South Dakota Board of Water and Natural Resources. The board approved a total of $28.6 million for water and wastewater projects in Sioux Falls, with the remaining $4 million to be used to improve drinking water in some areas of the city. The project is the largest sewer pipe replacement project in the city's history. Fiberglass pipe will be installed and the larger pipe will have more capacity. The city is expected to begin taking bids on both projects next moth. Officials hope to have construction begin by April 1. The sewer pipe project is expected to be finished up this year. The $28.6 million is a loan that will be paid back by the city in 10 years. 


Town in Colorado to study flowing water as new energy source

Stu FraserOn the heels of the construction of a photovoltaic solar array at the wastewater treatment plant, the town of Telluride, Colorado, is now looking at other alternatives for the use of future renewable energy projects. Flowing water is being studied for this endeavor. The town plans to complete two micro-hydro projects this year. The first is a feasibility study of its wastewater and water systems to see if turbines can be installed in the existing structure. The other would provide for installing a discharge monitoring station to determine the financial feasibility and environmental impacts of a micro-hydro project as Stillwell Tunnel. Mayor Stu Fraser (pictured) said the town is looking at other renewable energy projects in line with its goal of cutting emissions. The studies must occur before the town begins looking for grants to help fund a project.

Florida airport to continue to prepare for commercial flights

Approval of a $700,000 new fixed-base operator facility will help move the Lakeland (Fla.) Airport to the point of being able to accept commercial flights. City commissioners approved the $700,000. A $1 million grant from the Florida Department of Transportation will help pay for an expansion that will mean locating a baggage claim, ticketing and security for Transportation Security Administration at the previous fixed-base operator facility. By May, a carrier should be operating and flying to several cities. Officials hope to soon see 5-10 departures daily to several cities.


Maryland city's wastewater treatment plant due $65 million upgrade

Randy McClementThanks to a grant agreement with the state environmental office, the city of Frederick, Maryland, will likely now be able to move forward on its plan to upgrade its wastewater treatment plant. The grant agreement provides for the Maryland Department of the Environment to cover more than $50 million of the costs, subject to the funds being available. Numerous cities are under a state mandate to reduce the levels of phosphorus and nitrogen at 66 major wastewater treatment plants. The agreement provides that the DOE will provide up to 100 percent of the eligible enhanced nutrient removal cost of the design, construction and upgrade of the treatment plant. Mayor Randy McClement (pictured) and the aldermen have discussed that the project might cost as much as $65 million. The city must provide the DOE an engineer's estimate of the costs attributable to enhanced and biological nutrient removal before bidding out the project and must also get procurement approval from the department.


New Jersey may redirect scuttled tunnel funds for transportation projects

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christi will propose that money from a foiled tunnel project on the Hudson River be used to help pay down the costs of $8 billion in transportation projects over the next five years. The remainder of the funding would come from borrowing more than $4 billion and handing other projects off to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. The Port Authority would likely be asked to assume $1.8 billion in projects. According to the Christi proposal, New Jersey would pay $1.8 billion in cash over the five-year period.


Ron GriggsCity of Alamogordo offers five capital projects for consideration

Officials of the City of Alamogordo, New Mexico, have a top five infrastructure list they recently presented - the wastewater treatment plant, reclaimed water storage, the Snake Tank wells project, solar panels and a water slide for the city recreation center pool. Additionally, upgraded radio equipment for the Department of Public Safety is also on their list. Mayor Ron Griggs (pictured) presented the capital improvement projects for discussion at a recent capital outlay hearing. 

El Paso has numerous business contracts of interest to vendors

The El Paso (Texas) area has a number of contracting opportunities of interest to vendors. They include:

  • El Paso Water Utilities is seeking bids on the Eastside Interceptor Phase 4B-Three under Crossing, 83-10, Jan. 24;
  • YWCA El Paso del Norte Region is seeking qualifications for an independent contractor to oversee an agency capital campaign;
  • El Paso MHMR is seeking proposals for a steel building;
  • Canutillo Independent School District is seeking qualifications for occupational therapist services;
  • Canutillo Independent School District is seeking proposals for educational diagnosticians;
  • Canutillo Independent School District is seeking qualifications for physical therapist services;
  • Canutillo Independent School District is seeking proposals for licensed specialist in school psychology. 

Florida governor selling two of state's executive airplanes

Bids will be opened in February for two executive airplanes formerly used by the government. Gov. Rick Scott ordered the planes sold, which will mean the layoff of 10 employees who kept them flying. A Cessna Citation Bravo twin-engine jet and a prop-driven King Air 350 will be sold. Scott called the use of the planes an "unnecessary burden to taxpayers." No minimum bids were stated in the sale offers, but the eight-seat jet was valued at $4.7 million and the nine-seat King Air was worth $3.6 million.


City considers using wind turbines on lakefront area

Officials with the City of Milwaukee are considering whether to build up to three wind turbines near the Lake Express car ferry terminal. The power generated would be used to power the Port administration building with renewable energy. Two potential locations for the turbines have been identified and most of a $5.8 million block grant for programs that will boost energy efficiency and conservation could be applied to the project. Two types of turbines are being considered - one up to 115 feet tall and the other 156 feet. The larger turbines could generate enough power to meet the needs of about a dozen homes. The smaller turbine would provide power for about two homes. The larger turbine has a price tag of approximately $550,000.


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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 and let us know about your previous job and where you are now. This week we feature Dr. Joshua M. Sharfstein.

Josh SharfsteinDr. Joshua M. Sharfstein earned his undergraduate degree at Harvard College in 1991. He graduated from Harvard Medical School in 1996 and is a 1999 graduate of the combined residency program in pediatrics at Boston Children's Hospital and Boston Medical Center. He is a 2001 graduate of the fellowship in general pediatrics at the Boston University School of Medicine. From July 2001 to December 2005, Sharfstein was a minority professional staff of the Government Reform Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives for Congressman Henry A. Waxman. From 2005 to 2009, Sharfstein served as Commissioner of Health for the City of Baltimore, leading the agency to numerous national awards for innovative programs. President Barack Obama appointed Sharfstein the principal deputy commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). He served as Acting Commissioner for Food and Drugs from March through May 2009. Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley has chosen Sharfstein to head up the state's Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, where he will oversee a $9 billion budget that includes the Medicaid program.
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Home weatherization projects are on tap in Florida after the state has qualified for the remaining $88 million of the $176 million in federal stimulus funds allocated for the state. Want to know more? Contact Reagan Weil at 512-531-3900 or
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Brian DenmarkSusan KennedyKim BelsheBrian Denmark (top left), director of the Facilities Department for the city of Las Cruces, New Mexico, has been named interim assistant city manager to temporarily fill the post held by Robert Garza, who was named city manager, but will continue his job in Facilities. Before leaving office, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger appointed two of his top aides, Chief of Staff Susan Kennedy (top middle) and outgoing Health and Human Services Secretary Kim Belshe (top right) to the new Health Benefit Exchange Board, which will help negotiate health insurance rates for individuals and small businesses. Dr Sheryl Barnett, superintendent of the Caney, Oklahoma, School System, has announced she is stepping down from her position heading the school system because of health concerns. Ronald Yank, who retired from a prominent law firm in California in 2007, has been nominated by Gov. Jerry Brown to serve as director of the new Department of Personnel Administration, replacing Debbie Endsley. Philadelphia Sheriff John D. Green (upper middle left), who has Herschel Vinyard Jr.Greg SchafferJohn Greenserved in law enforcement in the city for 22 years, has announced that he is retiring. Greg Schaffer (upper middle center), former assistant vice president for network and information technology security at Middle Tennessee State University, has been named Nashville's first chief information security officer by Mayor Karl Dean. Florida Gov. Rick Scott has chosen Herschel Vinyard, Jr. (upper middle right), a Jacksonville shipbuilding executive and part-time lobbyist, as secretary of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. Denton (Texas) Police Chief Roy Minter has been named one of three finalists for the position of chief of the Peoria, Arizona, Police Department in a city of approximately 140,000. Dr. Phil Shirley, former Dean of Instruction at Clarendon College (Texas) from 1986 to 1990, has been named president of the college and began his new administration last week. Having started as a patrol officer with the Farmington, New Mexico, Police Department, and making deputy chief in 2007, Kyle Westall has been Anne Gust BrownBilly BuzzettWilliam Wardnamed Farmington's next police chief. Pennsylvania Gov-elect Tom Corbett has chosen Pittsburgh attorney William Ward (lower middle right), former chair of the state Board of Probation and Parole and a former deputy in the Attorney General's Office, as his new chief of staff. A development company executive, Billy Buzzett (lower middle center), will serve as Florida Gov Rick Scott's new secretary of the Department of Community Affairs and will work toward aligning the planning agency's functions with those of other state agencies. California Gov. Jerry Brown has appointed his wife, Anne Gust Brown (lower middle left) as his non-compensated special counsel and also announced two executive secretaries - Jim Humes as executive secretary for administration, legal affairs and policy and Nancy McFadden as executive secretary for legislation, appointments and policy. Michelle Rhee, former head of the Washington, D.C., school system, has been named to be Florida Gov. Rick Scott's informal education adviser and coaxed Kurt Browning out of retirement to once again serve as secretary of state. Spaceport American Director Rick Homans (bottom Patrick MooreCatherine TorresRick Homansleft), who was hired as executive director in June, has announced he is resigning his post after being asked to by the incoming New Mexico administration headed by Gov. Susana Martinez. Pediatrician Dr. Catherine Torres (bottom center), a practicing physician at Rio Grande Medical Group in Las Cruces, New Mexico, has been tapped to serve as the new head of the state's Health Department. Patrick Moore (bottom right), executive director of the Georgia Technology Authority who supported enterprise IT outsourcing in Georgia state government, has resigned his position to take a job in the private sector. Madill School District Superintendent John Dotson has announced his resignation. Former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, who was an attorney before entering politics, has announced he is joining a prominent law firm in Orlando, but plans to work mostly in his hometown of St. Petersburg. Glenn Cannon, who began his career in public safety some 35 years ago when the started the city of Pittsburgh's paramedic program and who has previously served as director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Response Division, has been named director of the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency.


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NASEO to host energy policy, technology outlook conference

The National Association of State Energy Officials will host its Energy Policy and Technology Outlook Conference Monday through Thursday, Jan. 31 through Feb. 3, at the Fairmont Hotel in Washington, D.C. The conference provides State Energy Office directors, staff and interested stakeholders the opportunity to hear the latest on economic development, technology transfer, innovative financing and clean energy technologies. Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter will be one of the keynote speakers, addressing "The Changing Landscape of State Energy, Environmental and Economic Development Policy." To view the preliminary agenda, click here. For more information and to register, click here.


NASPE plans mid-year meeting in D.C for late January
The National Association of State Personnel Executives will host its 2011 Mid-Year Meeting Friday through Sunday, Jan. 28-30. The meeting for state human resources officers will be at the Dupont Hotel in Washington, D.C. Those attending will take advantage of networking, learning and leadership development activities. They will discuss cost-effective solutions and latest trends. To view the agenda for the meeting, click here. To register, click here.

Association of American Colleges, Universities planning annual meeting

The Association of American Colleges and Universities will host its annual meeting Wednesday through Saturday, Jan. 26-29, at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in San Francisco. The meeting will focus on "Global Positioning - Essential Learning, Student Success and the Currency of U.S. Degrees" as colleges strive to become more global. Among the speakers are Kavita Ramdas, former president and CEO of the Global Fund for Women; Leo Chavez, professor of anthropology at the University of California, Irvine; Mark Schapiro, senior correspondent at the Center for Investigative Reporting; Catharine Stimpson, university professor and former dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Science at New York University; and Heather Knight, president of Pacific Union College. Registration is now open. For more information, contact or call AAC&U at (202) 387-3760.


NAICU planning annual meeting in January in D.C.

The National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities will host its 2011 annual meeting Sunday through Wednesday, Jan. 30-Feb. 2, 2011, at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. Among the speakers will be Darrell G. Kirch, M.D., president and CEO of the Association of American Medical Colleges, who will discuss the nation's political, economic and health care realities and the challenges they present for higher education. A team from Abilene Christian University will discuss how to connect emerging technologies to learning. A number of other speakers are also scheduled and attendees can expect to visit with numerous key elected officials in Congress. For more information, click here. To register, click here.


EPA to host annual Indoor Air Quality Tools for Schools symposium

The Environmental Protection Agency annual Indoor Air Quality Tools for Schools national symposium is slated for Thursday through Saturday, Jan. 13-15, 2011, at the Grand Hyatt in Washington, D.C. The event brings together teachers, school nurses, maintenance and custodial staff, school decision-makers, school administrators, parents, school and health association members and community leaders from across the country to discuss the importance of developing effective IAQ management practices. Attendees will learn about available resources and materials, including the IAQ Tools for Schools Action Kit, that will enable them to support and implement good IAQ practices in schools. Some of the topics for the event are designing, building and maintaining healthy, high-performance schools, building science and school building design, facility management, effective risk communication and more. To view the agenda, click here. To register, click here.


TxDOT plans final LINC session for Jan. 27 in Austin

The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) will hold its fourth and final LINC (Learning, Information, Networking and Collaboration) session on Thursday, Jan. 27, at the Holiday Hotel from 9 a.m. to 12 noon to provide small businesses with information on how to do business with TxDOT and other resource organizations.  The Small Business Networking event will provide information on how these resource agencies procure services and purchase products.  TxDOT offers a wide array of contracting opportunities for which small businesses are needed. TxDOT is looking for businesses to contract in its four-core areas:  construction and maintenance, goods and services, IT and professional services (engineering and architecture). TxDOT spends upwards of $6 billion annually.  The agency consists of 25 districts, 20 divisions and 15,000 employees that are supported by small business to help sustain operations in fulfilling contract needs.  TxDOT is holding this small business networking event to introduce business owners to its purchasing department, construction/maintenance areas for business opportunities.  By personally introducing small businesses to these personnel, TxDOT is hopeful they will understand the area in which the agency contracts (construction/maintenance, goods and services, IT, engineering and professional services) and the processes by which TxDOT contracts them.


TxDOT announces three Small Business Briefing conferences 

The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) Business Outreach and Program (BOP) Services has announced three upcoming FY 2011 Small Business Briefing conferences. A  Nov. 10 conference is set this year in Beaumont, an April 20, 2011, conference is slated in Fort Worth and a July 20, 2011, conference is planned for San Antonio. 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 allow them to learn more about the economic development opportunities in their regions.  It also gives agencies a chance to show the myriad of prospects available for small and minority businesses in the state. For more information and to register, click here or call 1.866.480.2519, Option 2.
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