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Denver International Airport Wins FAA Award for Minority and Small Business Advocacy

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DENVER — Aug. 11, 2015 — For its efforts to promote opportunities for small, minority- and women-owned businesses, Denver International Airport has been selected by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) as the winner of the 2015 Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Advocate and Partner Award.

The award, issued by the FAA’s Office of Civil Rights, recognizes DIA’s partnership with the Denver Office of Economic Development, Division of Small Business Opportunity (DSBO) in promoting opportunities for small businesses and certified minority-owned firms in concessions, construction and professional services at the airport. The award was presented to DIA today during the FAA’s 2015 National External Civil Rights Training Conference for Airports in Washington, DC.

“Denver is building a global economy, and Denver International Airport is linking us with the world,” Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock said. “We have set a high standard for how we conduct business at the city, and this prestigious recognition by our partners at the FAA shows that we are answering the call for inclusivity among business opportunities at DIA.”

The FAA’s Airport Concessions Disadvantaged Business Enterprise program for airport concessions has been a particular success at DIA. Since 2006, the airport has helped grow the percentage of gross concessions revenue earned by certified firms from 27.14 percent ($52.4 million) in FY05-06, to 39.35 percent ($129.9 million) in FY13-14 – exceeding the airport’s annual goal of 33 percent and setting an all-time record for concessions revenue earned by disadvantaged businesses at DIA.

“We are extremely thankful to our partners at the FAA for recognizing our ongoing commitment to ensuring that local, small and minority-owned businesses have access to meaningful opportunities at the airport,” said Ken Greene, DIA’s Chief Operating Officer. “Our close partnership with the Division of Small Business Opportunity has led to an increase in disadvantaged business participation in our construction projects, and our concessions and professional services programs.”

The airport also has grown the percentage of payments for construction work earned by certified firms from 20.21 percent ($8.6 million) in 2009 to 24.86 percent ($72.5 million) in 2014. The percentage of payments for professional services to certified firms has also significantly increased from 3.43 percent ($97,000) in 2009, to 30.21 percent ($9.7 million) in 2014.

For the last two years, DIA has also exceeded its goals for the percentage of work on airport runway pavement and rehabilitation construction projects performed by companies owned by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals. While the FY 2014 FAA-approved goal for DIA was set at 13.25 percent, the airport achieved a participation rate of 17.38 percent via $2.4 million in payments to certified companies.

Some of the programs and support for minority businesses include:

  • In 2011, DIA opened its Commerce Hub as a one-stop facility for small businesses looking to enter the airport marketplace. The Commerce Hub helps entrepreneurs navigate the unique airport operating environment and provide guidance and support. Click here to learn more.
  • DIA works closely with the Division of Small Business Opportunity to help connect businesses with concession, construction and professional service contracts. For more information about business certification programs, visit www.denvergov.org/dsbo.
  • On July 22, 2015, Mayor Hancock announced that the Denver Office of Economic Development is launching a mentor-protégé program to build capacity among minority- and women-owned businesses within the construction and professional services industries. Protégés will receive coaching on public contract applications and contract performance, as well as a wide array of other business-management topics, from strategic planning to financial management and marketing.
  • In February 2014, Mayor Hancock signed landmark legislation designed to improve economic opportunities for minority- and women-owned businesses in Denver. Two ordinances and an executive order work to break down barriers commonly faced by Women and Minority Business Enterprises (M/WBE) seeking to conduct business with the city. The city is also working to increase M/WBEs’ capacity, capability and sophistication as well as to create measurements to track the progress of these businesses.

Denver International Airport is one of the busiest airports in the world. DEN is the primary economic engine for the state of Colorado, generating more than $36 billion for the region annually. For more information visit www.FlyDenver.com, check us out on YouTube and Instagram, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. Sign up for DEN’s monthly newsletter Nonstop News.


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Denver International Airport is one of the busiest airports in the world. DEN is the primary economic engine for the state of Colorado, generating more than $36 billion for the region annually. Follow us on socials!