American Builders 2017, the joint venture of four firms selected to oversee construction of the stadium, organized the first of its business outreach seminars at the Riverside Epicenter to help inform local companies about the opportunities available in the $672 million project.
Commissioner Lisa Cupid, who represents the area where the seminar was held, addressed the attendees, saying despite the project’s size, there must be local involvement.
“With the building of the stadium, we all know it’s a significant venture for Cobb County, which has drawn national attention to this deal. However, with that national attention, it is very important that we still have local participation,” she said.
Len Moser, project director for American Builders 2017, said the seminar is one of two the company plans on holding.
“Tonight is our first outreach event. It’s really — the main purpose is an information download. So, anyone from subcontractors, vendors (and) suppliers local to the area, and also minority- and women-owned business enterprises, (can) come learn how to get involved, what our schedule is, when bid packages will be coming out (and how to connect) to our website, Americanbuilders2017.com,” he said.
The program, which lasted about 45 minutes, introduced attendees to American Builders 2017, described the project and the upcoming timeline for bidders and encouraged local companies to pursue the opportunity, even if their size may prevent them from taking on large portions.
After the presentation was over, the crowd of representatives filled the hallway outside the auditorium. Some were dressed in suits, others in polo shirts with their company’s names on them. One woman, who worked for a company that sells reflective safety clothing for construction workers, was decked out in a bright yellow vest.
The attendees mingled, which Moser said was another goal of the seminar: networking. He said large companies will likely receive bids because of the project’s scope, but they must also have a local connection. So, smaller companies are encouraged to apply to help larger firms fulfill the requirement, he said.
“We’re doing what we call ‘best value selection.’ So price is included. We’re asking for local involvement. If you’re not a local firm, can you bring someone to your team that’s local to the area?”
Moser said his company has already awarded bids for the excavation package, which included the building of permanent retaining walls on the site made of rock and earth. The next round of bidding will include mechanical, plumbing, electrical and technology services and is expected to open around Labor Day, he said.
In mid-September, bids will open for a package which will include work on the stadium’s concrete foundations; around the end of the year, a bid package including structural steel work, glass and glazing services and the all-important playing field will open.
The company will contract with hundreds of vendors, suppliers and subcontractors over the course of the project, Moser said, and during the peak of construction, more than 1,000 workers may be on site at once.
Representatives from local companies attended to find out how they could become one of the 1,000.
“You know, it’s a huge project. There’s probably a piece for us,” said conference attendee Jim Parker, a senior project manager for Birmingham, Ala.-based M.J. Harris Construction Services.
M.J. Harris Construction is a general contractor, Parker said, and the company, which has an office in Marietta, is interested in some of the bid packages American Builders 2017 is offering. Parker said because his company is so large, it can take on some of the work smaller companies wouldn’t be able to handle.
“We’re just looking for an opportunity for some work. And here’s an opportunity right here. It’s a large project,” he said.
Donna Brooks and Laura Corpe also attended the seminar to find out how their company, Stone Mountain-based Telecom Network Solutions Inc., could contribute to the new stadium.
Brooks said they heard about the seminar from some of their partners, and they are now waiting for American Builders to open the telecommunications bidding.
Corpe said their company works with Wi-Fi, cabling, security cameras, telephones and other related telecommunication devices. The company only has about 30 employees, Corpe said, so they hope they can work with one of the larger companies.
“It sounded like — in the meeting — that they’re going to try to put different people together. So whoever gets the large portion of the telecommunications, we’ll fill in for them,” Corpe said.
The company is minority-owned, Brooks said, which will increase the chances they will receive a contract.
“As far as being minority (owned), we would fall under one of the … prime bidders to meet the requirement of minority owners,” she said.