Tom Pannett, in an article for the November/December 2024 Ohio Contractor Magazine, highlights the challenges in small, disadvantaged, and minority business programs in the heavy highway industry. With over 30 years of experience, he explores the ever-shifting landscape of regulations and nuances, emphasizing the importance of understanding programs like DBE, MBE, VFBE, WBE, SBE, EDGE, and more.

The accompanying chart is a foundational guide to navigate this complex terrain and avoid unintended hurdles. Recent changes, such as Ohio House Bill 110, aim to streamline certifications across local governments, reducing redundancy for state-certified firms. However, ongoing vigilance and understanding are crucial as policies evolve with each administration change.

Despite the fairness goals of preference programs, instances of unintended consequences from enforcement are acknowledged. Tom advocates for the value of these programs but stresses the need for reasonable enforcement and clarity on their similarities and differences. Read the full article for a comprehensive insight.

Tom’s article can be found on pages 21-24.