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KCI developer awards work to 100-plus women, minority businesses

Fahteema Parrish KCI contracts
Posted at 11:51 AM, Oct 06, 2020

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City leaders on Tuesday hailed a "significant milestone" on the Kansas City International Airport project that has resulted in $220 million worth of work awarded to minority and women-owned businesses.

Geoffrey Stricker, Edgemoor managing director, said Tuesday that the company has awarded contracts on the single-terminal project to more than 100 minority and women-owned businesses.

According to Edgemoor, every one of the businesses is located in the metro, with 51 headquartered in Kansas City, Missouri.

"We are 100 strong and still growing," Stricker said. "We know of no other project that has created this level of opportunity and capacity building for minority and women-owned businesses in Kansas City."

Stricker also said that Edgemoor, the developer of the KCI project, was on track to meet its goal that 35% of the work on the project go toward minority and women-owned businesses, which includes work on both the construction and design phases.

Of the $950 million available to contractors, $220 million has gone to MWBEs, the Clark Weitz Clarkson team said. Another $50 million is in the process of being approved.

"Although I know sometimes the controversies, the conflicts, the debates get all of the attention, every now and then it's good to say job well done," Mayor Quinton Lucas said Tuesday.

Some groups have raised concerns that Edgemoor is not going far enough to ensure diversity among its subcontractors. Last month, a woman-owned business based in Kansas City filed a federal complaint against the city claiming discrimination after losing a contract.

Aviation Director Pat Klein said Tuesday he has not seen a copy of the complaint and does not have any concerns about it impacting federal funding for the project.

For its part, the Edgemoor team has developed the KC Strategic Partnership Program, which teaches small firms about topics that include accounting, insurance and project management.

One of those graduates of the program, Fahteema Parrish, credited the program with helping to grow her business, Parrish and Sons Construction. Her company was awarded a contract for excavation and grading work on the KCI single terminal.

"My team is thrilled to play a role in such a significant project in our city's history and honored to be one of more than 100 strong Kansas City small businesses helping make the terminal take flight," Parrish said.

Parrish and Sons Construction is among 12 companies that have graduated from the Strategic Partnership Program and been awarded contracts on the airport project, Stricker said.

Another is Hartline Construction, a Kansas City-based women-owned business that secured several contracts at the new terminal.

"We just don't want to be underestimated. We can do the same thing," owner Jennifer Hart said. "We're on maybe a smaller scale, but this type of project is helping us grow."

The new terminal remains on schedule to open in March 2023 ahead of the NFL Draft in Kansas City.

Klein said that despite sharp decreases in air traffic because of the COVID-19 pandemic, KCI remains on budget and "in good shape" financially.

The last tranche of bonds, worth $500 million, will be issued later this month.

"We've got enough money right now to work through the middle of 2021," Klein added. "We're going to take advantage of the better rates."