Small Business to do business with Hillsborough County Public Schools

The Hillsborough County Schools Office of Suppler Diversity held their FY 2018 Small Business Opportunity Forum at the Dr. Sam Horton Instructional Services Center.  About 100 small businesses attended the one day seminar outlining the new way to do business with the school system.  VendorLink is replacing the old system and June 30th was the last day to register in the new system if you want to be considered as a vendor.  

The morning opened with Bob Morrison, OSD consultant welcomed the businesses and set the stage with the who, what, when where and why, followed by Eric Graham, Supplier Diversity Officer, OSD, introducing himself.  Superintendent of Schools, Jeff Eakins also welcomed us and quite frankly, showed a passion for his job and a passion for the children which was heartwarming to say the least. 

Jason Pepe, Legislative Svcs Mgr talked about House Bill 7069,  where a lot of things are added to before it becomes legislation.  Some of the things added to the bill were the requirement to offer recess and Title 1 funding.  This bill allows more funding towards our Charter Schools, an additional $140 million.  Some of the changes to how we use TItle 1 funding is now money travels with each individual student.  These funds are devoted to kids with reduced lunches or special needs.  A lot of discussion around Charter schools was generated about how the funding is having an impact on public shcools.  

Gen Mgr of Maintenance Bob Wegman briefly spoke on not having the money to do large projects but that $20 million had been alloted for 4 projects involving air conditioning. 

Ben Moore  Mgr Facilities Maintenance Support talked about discretionary spending.  He tracks maintenance done through bids.  As Mgr., he can spend discretionary funds for contracts under $5000 with the OSD database. He advised Architects and Engineers get on continuing contact list for these smaller projects.

Joe Robinson, political activist and engineer by trade, asked about pre-conferences, issues on vendorlink and the need to resolve them.  He suggested to OSD that bundling projects may not be a good idea as it keeps other small vendors from participating.  He advocates unbundling to be a more sensible approach when schools are miles apart.  The OSD representatives promised to get back with him on resolving his issues.  Jenna Vari  of Accounting talked about how to get paid, Net 14, Direct Deposit or pay upon approval and of course when you talk about money, you are sure to generate questions.  Mr. Larry Mason of Mason Building Services, asked why sub contractors are not getting paid as quickly as the primary is and has requested that some type of intervention be done to get quicker payments. Including language in the contracts like some other agency vendor software does could be a start in helping sub-contractors get paid soon after the prime contractor does.

Minerva Spanner-Morrow, Chief Officer of Diversity, briefly spoke about bringing the division into the 21st century.  She wants to facilitate dialog to make things clearf and transparent . Vendor Link is one of the visions that was realized and vendors should continue to have relationships with Eric and Bob as no software can replace the human element in relationship building.  

Corey Murphy, Gen.Mgr Procurement focused on more of the highligts of VendorLink which allows for interaction with other agencies and not just Hillsborough County. She also talked about other Goods and Services offered by the Procurement Dept.  It was recommended that ATS be included in the next business forum.  ATS is Agreement for Technical Services and that's a portion of business that needs to discussed as opportunity in the business forum.

Paul E. Burke of EPIC, Education, Prevention, and Intervention Centers said "often kids that have the most needs don’t have cheerleaders in their life."  (Project Promise) is a support based program that offers and assists businesses that offer different types of prgrams that children can engage with and interact with such as computer work, motivational speaking, the zoo, etc.  These type programs help in the childs development.  He suggests that if you have a program that helps children develop then please submit to him outlining what your program looks like and what is the outcome.  

For more information please contact the Office of Supplier Diversity at 813-635-1243 or visit them at 4901 Dr. MLK Jr. Blvd, Tampa FL


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| 522 views | June, 29th, 2017
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