Bell trying to build business diversity

By Justin Boron

Small and minority businesses in Clayton County should always have a spot at the table and if they don't Clayton County Commission Chairman Eldrin Bell said he promises to pull them up one.

An effusive Bell praised the diversity of a crowd of business people who attended a recent meeting geared to bring more disadvantaged, minority business owners into the fold of county construction contracts.

Involving more minority businesses in the county was a pivotal issue for Bell, the county's first African-American chairman, in his election campaign. In the past, the government had taken heat for handing lucrative contracts to large, already well developed companies, most of which were based outside of the county.

Bell said he sees the county's $240 million Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax program as an opportunity for smaller businesses to receive sub-contracts, which can give them the boost they need to apply for larger contracts.

Several of the companies, which already have landed some of the more than $30 million in contracts for construction and engineering work on SPLOST, met at Clayton College & State University last week to shmooze with county leaders and local businesses.

Parsons, Brinckerhoff, Quade & Douglas, Inc. may subcontract out the geo-technical work for the Valley Hill Road widening, said Wendee R. Maxwell, the marketing coordinator the company.

Tucker Trucking Enterprises, a local, minority owned business, has been successful in getting subcontract work.

Velma Tucker, the company's president, did the truck hauling for half of the road resurfacing projects last year.

She got her subcontract from APAC-Southeast, Inc.