By Barney Blakeney
Officials at Charleston International Airport recently provided information regarding minority business participation. Here’s some of that information.
David Morrow, director of procurement for the airport said in 2019, the airport spent $77,375,260 for procurement of goods and services. Of that, $7,784,882 was spent with Minority and Woman-owned Business Enterprise (MWBE) – equal to 10 percent. The MWBE program was adopted by the airport’s board of directors in May 2019 to increase participation, promote and support minority and women-owned businesses.
Morrow said to be eligible as a Minority and Women-owned firm with the CCAA MWBE Program, a firm must meet one of the following criteria: A. Minority Business Enterprise – an entity that is at least 51 percent owned and controlled by one or more socially and economically disadvantaged individuals. Individuals are presumed to be socially and economically disadvantaged include: 1. Black Americans – which includes persons having origins in any of the Black racial groups of Africa; 2. Hispanic Americans – which includes persons with origins in Mexico, South or Central America, or the Caribbean Islands, regardless of race; 3. Asian Americans – which includes persons having origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia and Asia, the Indian subcontinent or the Pacific Islands; 4. Native Americans – which includes persons having origins in any of the original Indian peoples of North America and 5. Women Business Enterprise – an entity that is at 51 percent owned and controlled on a daily basis by one or more female United States citizens.
Asked what he feels is the economic impact of the airport’s spending with WMBEs, Morrow said, “We track spending for the MWBE program based on the availability of competition. If an MWBE which can compete does not exist, that spend is excluded (for example, Dominion Energy, AT&T, and other large corporations are not included in the spend analysis).
“While it is allowable in State, Federal, and local tracking procedures to include “good faith efforts”, CCAA does not do so. We can only count the dollars that were actually spent with MWBE,” he said.
Charleston County Aviation Authority Board member Jerome Heyward said he expects to see positive changes in minority spending after newly appointed airport Executive Director Elliot Summey takes the helm July 1.