“We want them to succeed,” said Diane Osbourne, small-business advocate. “The more information we can provide them about the project and doing business with the project, the more equipped the vendor will be for successful business dealings with us.”
Small businesses provide essential material, equipment, and services to the project, such as concrete, structural steel and safety supplies, in addition to a wide variety of services ranging from janitorial services to the design and construction of buildings. Obtaining supplies and services that adhere to government contracting requirements is a little different from regular business, so the more informed the vendor is, the better their chances of success in bidding on and executing those contracts.
Osbourne works in a variety of ways to inform, integrate and communicate with vendors about the project. From hosting vendor forums to networking at area events to partnering with agencies such as the Small Business Association and area chambers of commerce, her goal is to “mentor to success.”
“’Mentor to success’ in a nutshell is that we do outreach to find businesses capable of doing the work, help them understand the government contracting process and help them be successful in completing the work after they have secured it,” Osbourne said. “We keep in close communications every step of the way. When they succeed, we succeed. It’s a win-win.”
“I met Diane at an outreach program for businesses and have been working with her for about nine years now,” said Kunte Hayes, president of general contractor K. Hayes Limited. “I always receive good support and communication from her. That really makes the Blue Grass project stand out above others I have worked on.”