African-American companies play key role in building of project
Apex Electric and B.E.T. Plumbing recently added an impressive project to their respective work histories: The two local, black-owned companies played significant roles in the construction of CityCenter, the largest private development in the United States and the world’s newest architectural and cultural landmark.
They were just two of the 200 minority-owned firms that shared in an estimated $700 million for work on the massive Las Vegas project. CityCenter owner MGM Mirage and the general contractor, Perini Building Company, took aggressive steps to ensure that minority-owned firms received maximum opportunity to participate in the construction. Comprised of representatives from both companies, a construction diversity team was established to focus exclusively on promoting significant Minority, Women and Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (MWDBE) involvement in the building of CityCenter. The team also worked to find avenues for greater participation by MWDBE firms by helping develop both their expertise and experience.
“While we had worked on MGM Mirage projects before, the size and scale of CityCenter offered us exposure to Perini and other contractors and allowed us to demonstrate our capabilities,” said Apex President Mel Hawkins. “We feel pretty confident that our performance will lead them to welcome us back to the table, to work with them in the future — no matter what size the project.”
With services valued at approximately $3 million, B.E.T. Plumbing provided plumbing services to both Perini and Quality Mechanical, a subcontractor that also served as B.E.T.’s project mentor. “CityCenter was an opportunity of a lifetime,” said B.E.T. manager Ken Rollins. “Not only were we able to add this well-known and well-regarded project to our company’s work history, but our success has prompted the Nevada State Contractors Board to increase our bid limit license from $50,000 to $5 million — opening the door to future projects that at one time seemed out of reach to us.”
While both Apex and B.E.T. previously had worked on smaller MGM Mirage projects, each had to compete against other larger, better-known subcontractors to land the CityCenter contracts.
“Most minority contractors aren’t made aware of the bid opportunities that exist,” said Rollins. “These folks actively sought us out to ensure we were made aware of the bid opportunity. But at the end of the day, our bid had to be competitive, and we had to demonstrate why we were the best for the job.”