Navigating the Complex Landscape of Small, Disadvantaged & Minority Business Goals in Ohio’s Heavy-Highway Industry

Ohio Contractor Magazine

Understanding the complexities of small, disadvantaged, and minority business programs in the heavy highway industry can be a maze. In this article, originally written for the November/December 2024 issue of Ohio Contractor Magazine, Tom Pannett sheds light on the challenges faced by prime contractors, sub-contractors, and owners, sharing insights from over 30 years in the field. Regulations, goals, and nuances shift constantly, making it crucial to grasp the differences between programs like DBE, MBE, VFBE, WBE, SBE, EDGE, and more.

The accompanying chart serves as a foundational guide, attempting to provide some light through this intricate landscape and is designed to help you steer clear of unintended hurdles. Recent changes to Ohio law, like Ohio House Bill 110, seek to streamline certifications across local governments, reducing redundancy for firms certified by the state. However, navigating these waters still demands vigilance and understanding, as policies evolve with every administration change.

While these preference programs aim for fairness, there have been instances where their enforcement led to unintended consequences. Read the full article to see why Tom believes in their value but emphasizes the need for reasonable enforcement, and clarity regarding their similarities and differences.

Tom's article can be found on pages 21-24