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Smart Girls Go to Washington!


Marian Selvaggio and Kathlynn Smith

It might be something in the crisp Washington air, but we just came back from the Women Construction Owners and Executives (WCOE) Annual Congressional and Leadership Conference with an new pep in our step. As usual, the WCOE put together an amazing array of speakers (almost 30, including our very own Kathlynn), events, and VIP receptions over four days that knocked our socks off!

Some of the highlights included a seminar by federal contracting officers on how to effectively manage government contracts, a riveting update on the economy by ABC Chief Economist Anirban Basu (who knew economic forecasts could be so hilarious), and a sobering discussion by Jeni Klugman of the World Bank on how the United States stacks up in the Global Gender Gap (not very good news we’re afraid).

WCOE also arranged for Marian to attended an intimate breakfast with some bigwigs on Capitol Hill, including Congresspersons Sam Graves (R-MO), Renee Ellmers (R-NC), Joe Heck (R-NV) and Judy Chu (D-CA) as well as a representative from Senator Mary Landrieu’s office (D-LA), to share their thoughts about how to support small businesses. Congressman Graves, the new Chairman of the House Committee on Small Business, discussed nine bills his committee will be introducing this month – all designed to help small businesses. If passed, these new pieces of legislation will be very beneficial to all of you who are trying to grow your companies. You can keep track of these bills on the Congressman’s website.

If that wasn’t enough, Marian then went to Capitol Hill to meet lawmakers from California, including representatives from Senators Feinstein and Boxer’s offices, to present the WCOE’s 2012 Policy Priorities – as well as answer questions about issues facing women- owned construction businesses. Some of the hot topics included:

  • the need for a mid-tier contracting pilot program to fill the gap that currently exists between small contractors and very large contractors;
  • the challenges of bonding small companies;
  • the release of retention by federal agencies when a contractor or subcontractor’s work is accepted as complete; and
  • abolishing the limits on eligible contracts for the Women Owned Small Business Procurement Program.

All the details of this great event are too numerous to describe in this e-mail, but if you would like more information about this conference or find out about upcoming WCOE events, please feel free to contact us.

SAVE THE DATE: After our trip to the Nation’s capital and experiencing the power of what women can do when we band together, we thought it was high time for another Smart Girls’ networking event! In celebration of National Women In Construction Week, on March 20, 2012, the Smart Girls along with the Los Angeles Chapter of NAWIC and the new referral service for construction professionals, Industry Speaks, will host a networking event. Look out for the invitation in the next week or so with more details. Hope to see you then!

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