The National Academies

ACRP 01-25 [Final]

A Guidebook for Increasing Diverse and Small Business Participation in Airport Business Opportunities

  Project Data
Funds: $250,000
Research Agency: Exstare Federal Services Group
Principal Investigator: Nancy West
Effective Date: 8/7/2013
Completion Date: 9/6/2014

Airports serve as transportation gateways and also play important roles as economic drivers in the economy. Many federal, state, and local statutes and regulations require airport operators to promote the participation of minority and small businesses in various types of airport contracts. In addition to the legal requirements, many airport operators choose to take voluntary steps to promote local and disadvantaged business participation. Airports seek guidance for consistent interpretation of requirements implemented by the FAA and the U.S. Department of Transportation through the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) program. While state and local programs may vary with respect to their specific requirements, many of the methods for promoting participation can be applied broadly. Research is needed to develop resources that compile best practices and offer executable solutions for airport operators who wish to increase their local and disadvantaged business participation.
The objective of this research was to develop a guidebook to assist airports with promoting airport opportunities to diverse businesses. For the purpose of this guidebook, airport opportunities include construction, professional services, goods and services, and concessions. Diverse businesses include DBE, Airport Concession Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (ACDBE), minority-owned, women-owned, and small businesses. The guidebook identifies best practices and outlines applicable federal requirements to enable consistent administration of the federal DBE program.
The guidebook includes, at a minimum, the following elements:
  • An overview of federal programs, grant assurances, and enabling legislation;
  • Options for coordinating and integrating local efforts and programs with federal requirements;
  • Methods and steps within sections on outreach, certification, goal setting, procurement, award, compliance, reporting, and auditing;   
  • Various staffing models for administering airport business diversity programs;
  • The roles and responsibilities of DBELO (Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Liaison Officer), including involvement with the airport procurement process;
  • Various contracting models, team structures, and other strategies for obtaining diversity (e.g., joint-ventures, partnerships);    
  • A listing and discussion of impediments to becoming a successful DBE and what airports can do to alleviate them; and  
  • A glossary of terms and an appendix of available industry resources.
STATUS: The research has been published as Report 126.  

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