GAEA

FAQ
What are the advantages of becoming certified?
Certification provides greater exposure for work opportunities on local, state, federal and business programs that are statutorily authorized to provide a vehicle through which business development opportunities. In most cases the names of all certified firms appear in the directories, contractors and to the public. Contractors use the Directory as a basic resource for soliciting certified participation on contracts. If a firm is not certified, one cannot receive credit toward achievement of the certified participation goal by using that firm.
Does participating in the Construction Business Management Institute ensure me a contract?
While contracts are in no way guaranteed, CBMI is empowering businesses directly by providing education and a greater understanding through classroom instruction.
What can I do to get my child in the Construction Skills Development Institute?
If your child is not enrolled in one of the designated schools, please provide CSDI a contact member in your school district that might be interested in their school becoming a CSDI model school.
Can I be certified as an Equal Business Opportunity (EBO) to bid on a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) project?
No, you have to be certified as a DBE.
What is a Equal Business Opportunity Program (EBO)?
The City of Atlanta actively promotes full and equal business opportunities for minority and female business enterprises on City of Atlanta funded projects through the City of Atlanta's Equal Business Opportunity (EBO) and Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Programs. The Minority/Female Business Enterprise (M/FBE) Register will help you locate minority-owned and female-owned firms certified by the Office of Contract Compliance for participation in the EBO Program. If you are a minority or female-owned business, learn how to apply for certification here.
Does the Alliance only accept membership from firms that are minority and/or female owned?
No, all firms are encouraged to join the Alliance regardless of the race and or gender of owners and employees.
Are technical assistance programs for construction companies only? 
No. Technical assistance programs are open to businesses interested in gaining a competitive edge.
When and how did the Alliance originate?
The Greater Atlanta Economic Alliance was created in 2000 to provide a comprehensive outreach effort to increase the business capacity of small, female and minority owned firms and disseminate information about the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport’s $6.2 billion expansion project.
Why does the DBE program require a Personal Net Worth Statement?
Effective fiscal year July 1, 2000 - June 30, 2001, the U. S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) program has added a new requirement for qualifying as a DBE; the personal net worth (PNW) of each minority individual who owns and controls the firm as a part of the 51 % minority ownership must be less than $750,000.00. When an individual's personal net worth exceeds the $750,000.00 threshold, the individual is no longer eligible to participate in the Federal DBE Program. DBE business owners may decide not to provide a PNW and not be considered a DBE for USDOT assisted contracts. The PNW excludes the value of the DBE business and the personal residence of the DBE owner(s).
Can the Alliance assist my company with bonding?
The Alliance can supply a company with best practices to obtain a bond. The Alliance can also refer businesses to firms specializing in the bonding industry.
How does participating in CBMI improve my chances for success?
While contracts are in no way guaranteed, CBMI is empowering businesses directly by providing education and a greater understanding through classroom instruction.
My business is an established Female Business Enterprise seeking only Joint Venture and Prime Contractor opportunities, can the Alliance assist me?
Yes. The Alliance offers several networking forums and conference throughout the year that provide a forum for small business owners to interact with other contractors.
Do firms graduate from the DBE Program?
Yes. As of October 1, 2000, if a certified DBE has a three (3) year annual average of gross receipts (or for retail and manufacturing businesses number of employees) that meets or exceeds the revenue (or employee) totals as specified by the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT), the firm would not be eligible to participate in the DBE program. The first year to be included in the average is 1997. This has existed for federally assisted contracts within the DBE program for many years.
How do Agency’s establish the goals for disadvantaged business participation?
Every attempt is made by the agency to establish realistic and achievable DBE goals. Individual contract goals are set based upon the dollar value of the project, the availability of DBEs to perform the work which is to be subcontracted, and the availability of certified DBEs in the location where the work is to be done. While the established goals may vary on individual contracts, the total of DBE participation in each contract is combined to one report for the agency’s DBE participation year.
What types of work are available?
Opportunities to participate in construction work, construction-related work and the procurement of goods and services are varied. Disadvantaged participation is encouraged on all projects. Although many contracts with DBEs are for sub-contract work in construction fields, certified DBEs have leased concessions, provided consultant services in technical fields and have been awarded projects as prime contractors.
Once certified, can a firm be assured of getting contracts and subcontracts?
No. Certification does not guarantee work to a DBE; however, it does enhance a DBEs exposure to prime contractors and the business community. To be successful, a firm must market itself, its personnel and its services, as any good business should.
What is expected of the DBE once a contract is awarded?
All firms are expected to meet performance standards as established by contract specifications. This relates to the quality of work done, the submission of reports and written information in a timely manner and the firm's compliance with applicable regulations and laws. Once a DBE has been awarded a sub-contract, the DBE is responsible for submitting verification of all payments received to the contracting agency. This includes the amount of payment and date received.
Does the general contractor have any responsibility in the DBE Program?
Does the general contractor have any responsibility in the DBE Program? Yes. The general contractor must first meet the DBE goals established on the contract by seeking out and utilizing certified DBEs. Once work begins, the general contractor is responsible for all project activities including those of subcontractors.

Regular monitoring assures that contractual items are performed in accordance with specifications. Monthly reports must be submitted by the general contractor such as payroll, cost and time estimation and progress reports. When changes are needed, the general contractor must get approval from the agency project manager. Any changes in the DBE participation must be approved.
How does the Alliance assist DBEs who work on transportation contracts and projects?
DBEs can receive technical assistance when experiencing difficulties in business operations. The Alliance will set up an appointment to provide assistance in business management, construction management and/or financial guidance. The Alliance may also assist in resolving problems on the job site such as labor disputes, project scheduling and equipment rental issues.
How does the DBE program assure that "fronts" or "sham" organizations do not benefit from the DBE Program?
The DBE certification process is used to determine if a firm is minority owned and controlled. To qualify as an DBE, the owner must demonstrate that he or she is a minority person and provide documentation establishing at least 51 % ownership of the company.

Once the ownership of a firm is established, the business owner must demonstrate the technical knowledge and experience to make independent business operating and management decisions.

Annual reviews of all certified firms are made to determine if the ownership and control of the DBE has changed. Consideration is given to reports filed by the administrations, which describe how the DBE has managed and performed on projects. Effective contract compliance monitoring procedures also facilitate the identification of "front" or "sham" DBE firms.
How can suspected abuse of the DBE Program be reported?
Suspected abuse should be reported to the State or Federal Department of Transportation’s Office of Equal Opportunity.
What happens to DBEs and general contractors who have abused the DBE Program?
Progressive administrative sanctions can be applied when contractors (DBEs and non-DBEs) have abused the DBE Program. These sanctions include:

• Suspension of work
• Withholding a percentage of progress payment
• Default of the contract
• Referral to the Office of the Attorney General for criminal investigation
• Suspension of the right of the contractor to participate in future MARTA contracts (debarment), and
• Other appropriate administrative actions within the discretion of the Director of the Office of Equal Opportunity