Forum: Metra aids minority businesses
September 11, 2013 10:34PM
Updated: October 15, 2013 6:50AM
The Alliance of Business Leaders and Entrepreneurs (ABLE), an organization made up of the leading black-owned businesses in the Chicago region, advocates for equality and parity of procurement opportunities in the public and private sector for black businesses.
In recent weeks, there has been a great deal of discussion about Metra’s leadership at both the staff and board levels. Lost in all this finger-pointing is the work and leadership provided by those who advocated and championed issues that are of great importance to the African-American business community.
Stan Rakestraw, president of SCR Transportation and a board member of ABLE, has worked tirelessly to ensure that minority companies are afforded fair and equal procurement opportunities with the commuter rail agency.
Since January 2012, when Mr. Rakestraw joined the Metra Board, he, along with former Metra vice chairman Larry Huggins, worked to ensure that there is parity and equality in the bidding process and in the awarding of contracts to minority-owned businesses. Because of that work, thousands of Chicago-area residents have been able to buy their first homes, pay college tuition and provide for their families.
Metra’s Englewood Flyover project on Chicago’s South Side is a recent example of where their leadership proved invaluable. On a project worth hundreds of millions of dollars, minority companies are being given the opportunity to bid and are showing they can be competitive and win many contracts.
Mr. Rakestraw’s and Mr. Huggins’ advocacy for equal access and opportunity for minority vendors and suppliers at Metra should be not be overlooked or forgotten.
Stephen Davis, chairman of ABLE
John Roberson, president
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