ABL's Billion-Dollar Panel 'Looking Ahead at Business Opportunities'

ABL Dinner
Billions of dollars in possible business contracts were the stars of the Atlanta Business League’s 81st Annual Meeting Dinner at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in downtown Atlanta.
The CEOs and leaders responsible for contracts worth millions of dollars in metro Atlanta and the state of Georgia joined business mogul Thomas W. Dortch, the president of TWD, Inc., as he moderated a rich panel discussion on how to procure million-dollar contracts with state and federal government agencies.
On hand with Dortch were Torre Jessup, the Regional Administrator with the General Services Administration; Dana Lemon, a board member with the Georgia Department of Transportation; Keith Parker, the general manager with Metro Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA); and Miguel Southwell, the general manager for the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.
One of the most compelling issues that the august body of panelists addressed with the audience was that in addition to the skill level and experience that businessmen and women have in their portfolio, it is paramount to build and establish invaluable relationships with the powerful agencies they are trying to do business with.
“The thing that I’ve often said since serving on the board since 2003 is that relationships, and those who build those relationships, not only with the board members, but also with the GDOT staff, not only understand the needs of GDOT, but are also able to meet those needs. [It is critical] that they communicate with those who are in the decision-making positions, on how to best meet the economic needs of the department,” said Lemon. “Just like a film director, I cannot cast someone who I don’t know and cannot verify the quality of work that they say they can provide. It’s the same thing with transportation. If we don’t know who you are and we don’t know the value of the work that you produce, and if we don’t know that you can provide assurances that you can complete the work on time, on budget or under budget, it will be extremely difficult for us to do business with you.
“You are the same way. You are not going to let some vendor come into your business without understanding who they are, what they provide, the value of what they provide and how they can best help you be successful.”
The Atlanta Business League Annual Meeting also served as an opportunity for the ABL and its members to illuminate the gains that have been made during the course of the year. It also recognizes African American owned businesses that have conducted continuous business for over 25 years; and serves as an induction ceremony entering them into the ABL Business Hall of Fame.
The 81st annual meeting dinner highlights also included: Year-end Review by the ABL Board Chair Mary Parker; the election of the 2015 Officers of the Board & Directors At Large; the recognition of partners, sponsors and volunteers; ABL Business Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony—AEE Productions, Standard Landscape, Inc. and WD Lemon and Sons Funeral Home, Inc.; networking opportunities; and the opportunities to bid on silent auction items.
To learn more about the Atlanta Business League, visit atlantabusinessleague.org.

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