The Metropolitan Nashville Airport Authority completed a disparity study of diversity efforts at Nashville International (BNA) and plans to make several changes to its local Small, Minority, and Women Business Enterprise Program (SMWBE).
The study revealed that between 2004 and 2007 BNA awarded only 8% of its contract work to companies not owned by white men, substantially underutilizing qualified minority-owned firms.
Airport staff and the consulting firm Griffin & Strong P.C. recently made a presentation to the MNAA board, which operates BNA, in which they made several recommendations. Those recommendations include developing a program with race- and gender-participation goals for each contract opportunity, coordinating an ongoing outreach and financial assistance program, and providing greater resources and more oversight and accountability toward the Office of Business Diversity Development.
Airport officials acknowledge that participation from minority and women-owned companies has lagged in recent years and are committed to creating a solid, representative, and legally-defensible program, says Amber Gooding, director for business diversity development at BNA.
“You’ve got to get people to the table. The door has got to be open for people to win a contract,” she says. “That is what we are trying to do.”