Inside the Tollway
Date 29 Jan 2020
The Illinois Tollway believes the contractors who help build, maintain and operate its 294-mile system of roads should be as diverse as the communities it serves across Northern Illinois—and the Tollway offers training programs to help make that goal a reality.
The Tollway congratulates the leaders of six businesses who recently graduated from its Technical Assistance Program, one of the key initiatives created by the agency to help minority- and women-owned firms gain the opportunity participate in its projects, including the 15-year, $14 billion Move Illinois capital program.
The Technical Assistance Program prepares transportation-related construction firms, including diverse and disadvantaged firms, as well as veteran-owned and small businesses, to work as prime contractors and subcontractors on highway and vertical construction contracts.
“Participating in our Technical Assistance Program provides business owners with comprehensive, customized training that helps them compete for contracts being awarded by the Tollway and other transportation agencies,” said Illinois Tollway Executive Director José Alvarez. “We’re proud of what these graduates accomplished by completing this program and pleased to have expanded the pool of small and diverse businesses that now can contribute their skills and training to assist us with the work we’re doing to improve and expand our system.”
The six graduating firms honored in January are from various industries, including structural steel, information technology, electrical contracting, carpentry and drywall painting, asphalt, painting and flooring.
- Jameel Lunsford Jr., All J Steel Inc. – Darien
- Jose Abrego, Advanced Contractor Solutions Inc. – Chicago
- Joanne E. Szymel, Guepard Group Corp. – Barrington
- Daniel Rojas, Metromex Contractors Inc. – McCook
- Erika Venegas, Pro Nova Contracting LLC – North Aurora
- Kenneth Early, RIMCA Inc. – Melrose Park
This portion of the Technical Assistance Program was administered by the Hispanic American Construction Industry Association (HACIA) Scholarship & Education Foundation, which is one of seven organizations that the Tollway partners with to operate its Technical Assistance Program.
The program is designed to assist businesses gain the experience and expertise to handle more complex projects while increasing the pool of contractors available to perform work on Tollway projects and other transportation-related construction. There are a total of 12 locations providing technical assistance for emerging businesses in Chicago, Cook County, the south suburbs and Rockford.
The Technical Assistance Program means more diverse firms are working for the Tollway. As a result of the Tollway's investment, approximately 1,766 bids have been submitted by clients since 2017, including 377 on Tollway projects.
These bids submitted on Tollway projects have resulted in 26 firms participating in winning bids in 2017 and 59 contracts in 2018. In 2019, 167 of the bids submitted on Tollway projects resulted in 34 firms winning work as primes or subcontractors on 25 contracts.
More information on the Technical Assistance Program can be obtained here.