MDA Hosts Workshop For Post Katrina Builders - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

11/03/05

MDA Hosts Workshop For Post Katrina Builders

Walk into the Ace Construction office and you'll see Daphne Davis. She oversees the nine person operation.

"When you say small, this is small. This is a small business," she said. "So we can't afford to wait."

Yet for nine weeks, owners Daphne and Kevin Davis have been forced to wait for the next construction call. Government agencies that previously hired Ace haven't contacted the office about post Katrina construction contracts. The only work this small, minority business is doing is in a subcontract capacity.

"Yes I'm concerned about that," Kevin Davis said. "I feel that a lot of money is coming into this area. But it might not be getting to the right people that really need to get the money."

Before the storm, 60% of Ace's construction projects were with the government at places like Keesler Air Force Base or the Biloxi VA. That was before August 29. Mrs. Davis would like to know where those agencies have been since the hurricane.

"I think they should come looking for people who are in Mississippi, who are already set up, who already have a business, who have already built relationships with contracting officers, already have a license," she said.

Many of those local contractors attended a small and minority business workshop hosted by the Mississippi Development Authority. Richard Speights organized the meeting.

"We're talking about a tremendous number of opportunities," he said, referring to all the hurricane rebuilding that must be done around south Mississippi. "And shame on us if we don't have businesses ready to take advantage of that."

The MDA encouraged contractors to be patient. Speights said they may not have contracts now, but down the road, they will be asked to help local agencies rebuild after the hurricane.

by Brad Kessie

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