March 2021 Newsletter
“Each time a woman stands up for herself, without knowing it possibly, without claiming it, she stands up for all women.”
Next PBDG Meeting
Wednesday April 21, 2021 • 4pm – 5:30pm
Our monthly meetings are open to PBDG Members and Partners. If you would like to attend as a guest, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Join us for a Member’s Only Virtual Happy Hour in late March for networking and community building!
We will release the date next week.
If you are still having issues using Zoom, please let us know so we can assist you.
From the Desk of the Executive Director
Kenechi Onyeagusi, PBDG Executive Director
Last month, as a community, we grappled with power outages, disrupted business activities and emergency preparedness. Like always, as a community, we demonstrated incredible resilience and flexibility. I am grateful for the ability to serve our membership at such a time as this.
In the month of February, in my role on the Oregon State Racial Justice Council subcommittee on economic development, I had the opportunity to testify alongside Governor Brown in favor of HB 2161. This critical bill is an important vehicle that addresses institutional and social barriers that have made access to capital difficult for communities of color, historically underserved populations as well as businesses in specific industries like construction. Pairing capital with technical assistance will result in stronger businesses and more knowledgeable business owners. We have been working on state level policies that ensures that all businesses, regardless of size in the AEC industry have access to the right capital as this directly impacts a business’ ability to bond, run its operations and grow. We will not relent in our efforts to tackle critical issues like this head on.
As we go into March, and Women’s History Month, we will continue to highlight outstanding business owners in our community. In this newsletter, four women – business owners, mothers, and leaders – have shared their stories. Take this moment with us to celebrate all the glass ceilings that have been shattered in recent months, and the many that are still ahead of us.
The Spring weather births feelings of hope and new beginning – I wish you fruitfulness.
Member of The Month
Partner of The Month
New Member Spotlight
Event & Meeting Details
Invitations to Bid
Member of the Month
Marcela Alcantar, Owner and President
Phone: (503) 810-4582
Alcantar and Associates has been in business for over 21 years; throughout those years, we have performed civil engineering, design, and construction layout. Today we focus on providing construction concrete forming, placing and finish and engineering support services. I am the president and owner of Alcantar and Associates. Our mission is to provide our services with strength, pride, substance, and intelligence.
A significant project for Marcela, one that laid the foundation for considerable growth, was the Portland to Milwaukee Light Rail project for Stacy and Witbeck. This project consisted of laying out all the light rail track, utilities, sidewalk, and performing quality assurance for the Tillamook Bridge. Another significant completed project for us was providing concrete flatwork and garage entrance concrete architecture work for the Seattle Marriott Hotel with Mortenson Construction. We also successfully completed the Coleman Dock project for Hoffman Construction where we performed work on the metal deck concrete subgrade and formed and placed concrete for heavy duty light poles, seawalls, sidewalks, curbs, and commercial dry ways along the Alaska viaduct. Our most recent completed project was the new Multnomah County Courthouse where we provided material and installation of toilet partitions, bathroom accessories, and concrete site work.
My view of the changing construction landscape is that the landscape has significantly improved; more companies, agencies, and project owners are becoming increasingly aware of minority and women-owned firms, and the importance of their inclusion and participation in the local construction industry and economy. However, the Indigenous Mesoamerican community is not being recognized or included in these business opportunities due to the mainstream association of the Mesoamerican demographic with the SBA and federal definition of Hispanic and Native American classifications. In the next 5-10 years, I see an increase of funding and opportunities becoming available due to the new presidential administration and the much-needed upgrades of American infrastructure. My hope is that Indigenous Mesoamerican communities are included in these growing opportunities.
I would like to shout out PBDG’s leadership team because they think outside the box and go beyond the call of duty to challenge the systematic exclusion of minorities and women in construction. I would also like to shout out OLLN for helping Indigenous Mesoamerican voices be heard within Latinx community. I have been a member of PBDG since 2018; I was attracted to PBDG because of the diversity of their members and leadership, their ability to think outside the box, and their devotion to the growth and success of small businesses. The work PBDG does is important PBDG does is important because PBDG’s leadership and staff are industry experts and professionals who truly understand the needs of small businesses based on the company’s size and phase of growth. Alcantar and Associates has not had the opportunity to work with other PBDG members yet, but I look forward to partnering and building relationships with other members.
In my experience as a professional and business owner, I have created two nonprofit organizations. The first nonprofit, Diversified Builders and Engineers Council (DBEC), was created for Latino and Indigenous Mesoamerican contractors. The second nonprofit, which is the most active and meaningful to me, focuses on Indigenous Mesoamericans and achieving restorative justice. This organization is called Ta Yeiyari Te pa’ Ye Xeiyari; this phrase means that “our roots need to exist”. Our goals are to help indigenous small businesses with workforce development and gender based violence prevention while preserving our culture and maternal tongues.
COBID Certification(s): DBE, MBE, and WBE
Partner of the Month
Afton Walsh, Project Manager and Director of Community Engagement
Walsh Construction is a Portland Based General contractor who specializes in affordable housing and community development. Even though we are based in Portland we work throughout the Northwest. I am a Project Manager and Director of Community Engagement.
Traditionally, construction has been an industry slow to change and innovation, but it feels like the tides are beginning to change. We are optimistic about coalitions like Safe From Hate that will hopefully see positive impact in jobsites culture and make construction an industry welcome to women and people of color. We are also enthusiastic about building innovation like penalization, modular, and CLT that could improve efficiencies and decrease the cost to delivery affordable housings. In the next 5-10 years, the construction industry will continue to see stress on our workforce. There is a lot of experience that will be retiring in the near future, but it also means we have the opportunity to open up living wage construction careers to a broader group of young people.
We are so grateful to PBDG to providing critical resources and education to emerging business. We always love working with PBDG members because of their commitment to their craft and dedication to the industry. We are honored to have long standing partnership with many PBDG members like O’Neill Construction Group, Valley Growers, Faison Construction, and Northwest Infrastructure, plus many many more. Walsh is not successful without these great companies. We have been a PGDB member since the beginning and are committed to the work they do. We are also very excited for the future under the leadership of Kenechi Onyeagusi and the rest of their team.
The work PBDG does is important because starting a business is a risky endeavor and construction is a high-risk industry. Organizations like PBDG are critical to provide resource to help companies succeed and navigate the challenges.
A fun fact about myself is that I am the mother of two active toddle boys who keep me on my toys and always laughing. I love when they tell their friends “my mom is a construction worker!”
New Member Spotlight
Tina Semko, Owner
Phone: (971) 998-8867
How did you become interested in doing this kind of work and starting your own business?:
“The funny truth is I never imagined I would be interested in construction. I initially had no interest in it, but find that I am growing to become very good at it. From bidding work to creating relationships, which is my favorite, to actually learning about the many different aspects of construction. The learning curve has also been quite fun, which has helped me grow to love construction. My interest grew when I started noticing the lack of women in the industry and even more so, women of color. I noticed when I would visit my husband Myke at work, I would be the only person who identified as a woman, and even more rare, an Asian (API) woman.
My interest began growing because of my desire to change the industry. In 2018, I started a new consultancy, Health Equity Partners, around the same time Myke and I decided that we would launch Iconic Tile. I not only wanted to drive diversity change in the construction industry, but also teach what it means to bring racial equity into the industry with intention and commitment. Intention to be more diverse in ALL aspects of creating a work environment; a place that is comfortable for everyone, in all their identities.
For me, it’s important that we focus on diversifying our workforce, but we cannot do this without creating more safe workplaces. Not just “safety hat” safe, but emotionally safe. This is the inclusion part. Being thoughtful about how we make BIPOC employees and contractors feel like they belong and can get the job done at work sites is crucial in moving the industry in the right direction.
In the construction industry, we’re far behind other industries when it comes to diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI). This is a popular term right now, for good reason. White people who have historically held power in all industries are realizing the business limitations of sticking with old business paradigms. We’re going to be a majority BIPOC country in a couple decades, and women are not only the future we are here now and present! It starts with engaging one another in conversation. That’s what I am about.
These small but very impactful and intentional steps make a tremendous impact towards the industry being simply, better. I mean, when I stop to look around, I see that we have been working in office spaces and studying in school buildings, and living in homes built with one set of lens, whiteness. We are missing out on so much when we don’t look beyond what we are comfortable with.”
What services does your company provide?:
“Iconic Tile provides high-touch, residential tiling. We are growing and fast! Right now, we are getting our commercial license and bond for commercial spaces. Iconic Tile wants to not only diversify our work portfolio, but also become a leader in DEI in the construction industry. We have learned so much about what the Portland community needs from a residential perspective, but also from a community needs and industry perspective.
Our purpose: Iconic Tile provides high-touch service and products that shine. Our work and our people shine because they are from all walks of life.”
What are some of your notable projects?
“We do mainly residential projects. Most of our projects have been in the Irvington neighborhood with the largest in the Council Crest area.”
What is a defining moment for your firm, one that you knew would have a significant impact?
“Great question! The moment when I realized I was going to have to assimilate to my counterparts, men, white men in particular and even white women, to be able to learn and EARN what I deserve in this industry. I still question this a lot. At times it makes sense so we can grow our company and I can grow in the industry. At the same time, I know that my practice of collusion in this industry is to, at some point, disrupt it for the betterment of the community, particularly for BIPOC communities and women in Portland.”
COBID Certification(s): In progress
IF YOU NEED ASSISTANCE APPLYING FOR ANY GRANTS, PLEASE LET US KNOW
ready to save money on your construction projects?
Join PBDG and the ReBuilding Center to learn how you can make more money and keep Oregon green by learning how to access, use, and donate reclaimed construction materials!
WHO WILL BENEFIT FROM THIS PROGRAM?
‣ Finish Carpenters
HOW TO GET STARTED?
Click HERE to fill out the following survey to sign up for our mandatory virtual pre-training meeting on Friday, March 19th (Time TBD). Spots are limited, sign up early!
Purpose of pre-training meeting: To gather and share experiences working with reclaimed materials, including challenges and successes, and to learn more about the ReBuilding Center and what it has to offer to local contractors in their work!
PARTICIPANT TIME REQUIREMENT:
Full Program: 5 Hours
‣ March 19th Virtual Pre-Training Meeting: 1 hour
‣ May 7th Training: 4 hours with lunch provided
The May 7th training will be COVID friendly and set up to allow social distancing.
MAY 7 TRAINING OVERVIEW:
Participants will receive practical, hands-on training with:
‣ Identifying quality work material, discussing characteristics, and identifying defects
‣ De-nailing via metal detection and hand tools, and readying materials for milling machines
‣ Rough cutting with chop saws and circular saws
‣ Using a jointer to square faces and edges
‣ Using a thickness planer to clean and level alternate faces
‣ Using a table saw to cut to finished widths
‣ Finishing with sanders and stains, polyurethanes, and/or paint
Get a $250 gift card to the ReBuilding Center for completing the program!
Meyer Memorial Trust, Portland, Oregon
PBDG celebrates one of our board members and partners, O’Neill/Walsh Community Builders, for their award-winning project. Congratulations on all your hard work!
Click HERE to view more project information and photos!
Round 2: Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Updates
EXCLUSIVITY PERIOD FOR SMALL BUSINESSES
A 14-day exclusivity period for businesses and nonprofits with fewer than 20 employees will begin on Wednesday, February 24, 2021, at 9 a.m. ET and end on Tuesday, March 9, 2021, at 5 p.m. ET.
All applications already submitted by lenders to SBA before the start of the exclusivity period will still be processed by SBA. During the two-week period, SBA will not accept new applications from lenders for businesses and nonprofits with 20 or more employees, so that lenders can focus on serving smaller companies. Once the exclusivity period ends, lenders will be able to submit PPP loan applications for all eligible businesses and nonprofits again.
PROGRAM CHANGES PROMOTING EQUITABLE RELIEF – EARLY MARCH
SBA also announced four additional changes to open the PPP to more underserved small businesses than ever before. While these changes are being implemented, SBA will work with community partners to improve the emergency relief “digital front door” and conduct extensive stakeholder outreach. And, SBA will strengthen its relationships with lender partners to advance equity goals, deliver funding efficiently, and prevent fraud, waste, and abuse. SBA will:
- Allow sole proprietors, independent contractors, and self-employed individuals to receive more financial support by revising the PPP’s funding formula for these categories of applicants;
- Eliminate an exclusionary restriction on PPP access for small business owners with prior non-fraud felony convictions, consistent with a bipartisan congressional proposal;
- Eliminate PPP access restrictions on small business owners who have struggled to make student loan payments by eliminating student loan debt delinquency as a disqualifier to participating in the PPP; and
- Ensure access for non-citizen small business owners who are lawful U.S. residents by clarifying that they may use Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) to apply for the PPP.
A critical goal from Congress for the latest round of PPP was to reach small and low- and moderate-income (LMI) businesses who have not received the needed relief a forgivable PPP loan provides. Congress set a $15B set-aside for small and LMI first draw borrowers. With existing policies, the current round has only deployed $2.4B to small LMI borrowers, in part because a disproportionate amount of funding in both wealthy and LMI areas is going to firms with more than 20 employees. The less than 20 exclusivity period combined with the changes to expand access for sole proprietors, ITINs, returning citizens, and student loan debt will help us achieve Congressional goals.
Click HERE for more information!
Click HERE to find an eligible lender to apply for the Paycheck Protection Program.
Trimet New general manager feedback survey
TriMet’s General Manager, Doug Kelsey, is retiring and they are beginning the process of searching for our next visionary leader to help keep our region moving in 2021 and beyond. Before TriMet begins the recruitment process, we are reaching out to our community members to include their voices in the process and outcome.
Please share your feedback on what experience, values and priorities are most important to you when it comes to selecting TriMet’s new general manager. Please complete this short survey as soon as possible: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/TM_GMsurvey
With your input, TriMet can ensure their leadership continues to reflect and serve the needs of the diverse small businesses and workforce in our region.
Click HERE for more ways to contribute to this process!
ODOT – Constructability review meeting
Friday, April 2 • 9am-12pm
Provide an overview of the I-205 Improvements: Stafford Road to OR 213 project and solicit input from the construction community on constructability, staging/sequencing, and safety. The project expects to open bids in early 2022.
Advance plans are available for early review; please email email@example.com for a link to the files.
WHO SHOULD ATTEND?
Contractors and subcontractors interested in learning more about the project.
QUESTIONS? PLEASE CONTACT:
Allen Hendy, PE
ODOT Resident Engineer
971-235-3861 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Click HERE for the Zoom meeting information and agenda!
Constructing hope – mentoring event March 16
Northwest Infrastructure Position Opening – Project Engineer
Northwest Infrastructure specializes in heavy civil construction and offers excavation, demolition, underground utilities, and dump trucking services. They are currently looking to hire a Project Engineer that is highly motivated, with a demonstrated passion for excellence and taking initiative, has a strong work ethic, and is willing to do what it takes to get the job done right the first time.
Click here to view the full list of position responsibilities, requirements, and how to apply!
PBDG Receives EPA Grant for Clean Diesel Upgrades
EPA has received a grant of over $540,000 to assist local firms in the construction and trucking industries to replace older diesel trucks and equipment with late model, low emitting trucks and equipment. The EPA program, authorized under the Diesel Emission Reduction Grant or “DERA”, awarded more than $44 million nationally to projects that help diesel fleet and equipment owners to transition to lower emission vehicles, equipment and engines. Diesel exhaust is a known human carcinogen and is also a significant contributor to climate change due to soot emissions.
The PBDG project is partnering with Valley Growers and Nursery Landscape, Cutter Construction Inc., NW Infrastructure and Jet Expedited Transport to scrap and replace three dump trucks, three semi tractors, a Class 8 hydroseeder truck and a skid steer loader with late model diesels that are lower emitting. Each of these companies will scrap older trucks and equipment in return for a federal contribution of 25 percent of the replacement costs.
An announcement for 2021 funding was recently posted by EPA. PBDG is very much interested in assembling a group of fleet owners who want to be part of this next cycle. If successful, funds won’t become available until after October 2021. Even if not successful, we have strategies to help you with additional opportunities. Interested fleets should get in touch with PBDG as soon as possible.
If interested, email email@example.com!
Invitations to Bid
TriMet - Upcoming Bids
Andersen Construction - Benson High School Trade Packages 4.9
Bids Due April 2 at 2pm
Andersen Construction - Benson High School Trade Packages 5
Bids Due March 19 at 2pm
Mortenson - Cedar Mill Sanitary and Regional Stormwater Management Project
Bidding in early March
Walsh Construction - Webster Road Housing Renovation
Bids Due March 16 at 2pm
Washington County - Walnut Seismic Retrofit
Bids Due March 12 at 4pm
City of Hillsboro - Waterline Replacement Hydrant NE 768
Bids Due March 11 at 2pm
ODOT - Upcoming 2021 Projects
Portland Public Schools - BPHS Kenton Swing Site Improvements
Bids Due March 30 at 2pm
Port of Portland - Hillsboro Airport Taxiway A Rehabilitation
Bids Dues March 23 at 2pm
Port of Portland - Headquarters Building Redundant Ups Installation
Bids Dues March 24 at 2pm
Metro - Metro Regional Center Lighting and Controls Upgrades
Bids Due March 25 at 2pm
Metro - Metro South Transfer Station Women's Locker Room Remodel
Bids Due March 9 at 2pm
City of Portland - Pending Bids
Hoffman Skanska - PDX TCORE Western Terminal Expansion
Bids Dues March 17 at 1pm
JW Fowler - Upcoming Bids
Fortis Construction - UO Early Childhood Cares Roof Re-Cover and Mechanical Retrofit
Bids Due March 9 at 11am
Fortis Construction - Canby School District - Eccles Elementary School Renovation
Bids Due March 18 at 12pm
Lease Crutcher Lewis - PCC Sylvania HT Building - Demo & Fire Sprinkler
Bids Due March 9 at 2pm
Lease Crutcher Lewis - North Eugene High School - Bid Set C
Bids Due March 18 at 2pm
PBOT - Street Lighting, Traffic Signal, & Intelligent Transportation System Engineering Services Opportunities
Visit our covid-19 resource page for a more comprehensive list of resources
Do you have to quarantine or isolate because of COVID-19, but don’t have paid time off?
The COVID-19 Temporary Paid Leave Program is available to people who need to quarantine or isolate because of COVID-19 exposure or are experiencing symptoms and need a medical diagnosis, but do not qualify for COVID-19-related paid sick leave (or do not have access to COVID-19-related paid time off).
If you meet all of the eligibility requirements, you will get a $120 per-day payment, up to 10 working days ($1,200 total) for the time you need to quarantine or isolate.