ELLICOTT CITY, MD – Howard County and the Howard Hughes Corporation-Columbia today co-hosted a contractor outreach event to connect local, diverse businesses with major organizations offering large contracts and bids. The event featured 21 prime contractors and nearly 250 local businesses. Photos of the event can be found here.  

We’ve heard from our local businesses – and they are looking for more opportunities to access large contracts and bidding opportunities. Today’s event is a great example of our close partnership with prime contractors and our efforts to keep tax dollars here in Howard County. We’re committed to opening more doors for our local, diverse entrepreneurs, and we’re so grateful to Howard Hughes for their close collaboration and efforts to make this fair a success.

Calvin Ball
Howard County Executive

The Local Business Initiative, which works to increase the percentage of county procurement dollars flowing to local businesses, has grown exponentially in the past three years. In 2018, only 100 firms were certified with the Office of Procurement and Contract Administration under the Local Business Initiative. Currently, there are 331 certified firms, with over 100 new businesses added this year. 

In addition to increased participation, Howard County has directed more funding towards local businesses every year since 2018. In Fiscal Year 2019, the county spent $10.5 million with local businesses. In Fiscal Year 2020 and 2021, the county spent more than $16 million - a 55% increase over the previous years. Howard County is on pace to exceed this funding again, with $19 million spent with local businesses for the most recently concluded third quarter of Fiscal Year 2022. Since 2018, Howard County has spent 300% more with local businesses.

The county is also focused on ensuring minority-owned businesses are not left behind. In FY2020, the county awarded more than $59 million in contracts to minority owned businesses. In FY2021, the county awarded $64 million to minority-owned and women businesses, an increase of 9% over FY2020. In the first three quarters of FY2022, the county has spent $55 million on minority-owned and women businesses. Of its total spending thus far, 27% has been spent with EBO vendors.

“The Diverse Contractor Outreach Event is the latest step in our ongoing efforts to connect community to opportunities available in Downtown Columbia’s development, where Columbia’s founding values and good business practices go hand in hand,” said Howard Hughes Corporation-Columbia President Greg Fitchitt. “We are grateful to Howard County Executive Calvin Ball for bringing together people interested in learning more about opportunities to participate in the revitalization underway in Downtown Columbia and throughout Howard County.”

As the investments that enhance our community continue in Downtown Columbia and throughout Howard County, we applaud the outreach to minority contractors to grow business, create jobs and build our economy,” said Howard County Economic Development Authority CEO Larry Twele. “The Howard County Economic Development Authority has a variety of resources to support these businesses such as our Catalyst Loan Program and other technical assistance. Visit hceda.org for more details.”

“The continued redevelopment of Downtown Columbia will be major economic driver for the county. It is only fitting that local, small, and minority firms get a piece of the action whereby revenues and jobs are reinvested back into the local economy,” said Chamber of Commerce President/CEO Leonardo McClarty. “The Chamber commends Howard County Executive Calvin Ball and Howard Hughes on the hosting of today’s minority outreach event.”

“Events like this are critically important to ensure that the developers and general contractors that are building in our communities have a relationship with their future subcontracting partner,” said Jayson Williams, CEO of Mayson Dixon Companies. “That you are not just a piece of paper or a goal but an entrepreneur that deserves investment because often that investment stays in the community and builds wealth.”

“Today’s event brings together the county and builders who really care about growth and engagement of diverse minority businesses,” said Wayne Frazier, President, Maryland Washington Minority Companies Association (MWMCA). “This extraordinary project will increase opportunities on scale that very few others can match.”

The following exhibitors participated in event: 

  • CBG Building Company  
  • Cianbro Corporation  
  • Clark Construction Group  
  • Columbia Association  
  • Commercial Group   
  • Construction Bonds, Inc.  
  • Economic Development Authority  
  • First National Bank  
  • Gilbane Building Company  
  • Hamel Builders  
  • Harvey Cleary  
  • HBW Construction  
  • Howard County Chamber  
  • Howard County Office of Procurement  
  • KasCon, Inc.  
  • M&T Bank  
  • Maryland Live! Casino  
  • MDOT  
  • Plano-Coudon Construction  
  • Wells Fargo  
  • Whiting – Turner  
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