Senator urges businesses to seek state opportunitiesPublished 3:45pm Tuesday, August 19, 2014
By Charles Molineaux | For The Record
MADISON – Pam Jordon looked to the state of Alabama as the next big potential breakthrough for her business, the Madison-based Jordon SPD courier and valet service.
“It’s a vast audience,” she exclaimed. “We’re hopeful. City, state, municipalities, they’re a great market.”
Jordon joined dozens of area small business leaders looking for opportunities to do business with the state in a state contracting workshop held by State Senator Bill Holtzclaw.
“This poses a great opportunity,” said Jordon.
As chairman of the pivotal Legislative Contract Review Oversight Committee, Holtzclaw told the assembled entrepreneurs he was dissatisfied to see a large share of state contracts, sometimes more than half, awarded to companies outside the state of Alabama. As the senator from north Alabama’s District 2, he said some of that business, routinely around $20 million a month, could be going to companies around his home.
“While what’s good for Alabama is good for the state as a whole, I’m aware that we have great capability here in north Alabama. We’ve got to connect the folks who have the capability with the opportunities,” Holtzclaw said.
Murtha Ruiz, a franchisee with the La Quinta Inn and Suites in Madison, said the potential was obvious. “The state has quite a few employees who go from town to town,” she pointed out. “We are hoping to see how we can help people stay in town.”
In his committee chairmanship, Holtzclaw said he has worked to crack open what he called a “good old boy network” while also trying to awaken Madison area businesses to state opportunities.
“Our local businesses are focused on what I call ‘the federal sandbox’ but if they’ll redirect just a little bit of their business development to the state sandbox, I think they’ll see opportunities there,” he said.
Holtzclaw appeared at the invitation of the Madison Chamber of Commerce but warned that he will be encouraging businesses to step up to the state elsewhere.
“There is already interest in other parts of the state for me to present this,” he said. “But this is the first time we’ve done it. It doesn’t hurt to start at home.”
Charles Molineaux is an anchor and investigative reporter with WAFF 48 News.