CBE Stories
Broward County Convention Center Expansion and Hotel Project

Are you one of our certified firms that are currently participating in the County's procurement process? We want to hear from you! Share your story​ with us and let's continue to inspire each other to thrive and succeed.  ​

Dawn Watts

​DW Consultants Inc.
After 20 years as an Executive in the Corporate Sector, my career didn't allow the time I needed for networking or connecting with the community. I felt an overwhelming obligation to contribute. I wanted to make a difference in my community. In February 2020, I started DW Consultants Inc. to pursue my passion for supporting small business enterprises and non-profit organizations. ​​

Advocating for small businesses, diversity, equality, and community progress inspires me. I worked diligently to apply for every certification that was available for my business. Through extensive research, and networking with key supplier diversity contact leads, I realized the enormous opportunities for my business through government contracting.

I learned about the Office of Economic and Small Business Development (OESBD) Certification Programs through a Supplier Diversity contact at Broward County Public Schools. I started attending all the workshops/training available through OESBD and registered on Periscope, the County's bidding system. I began searching for open bids that matched by NAICS code and when I saw the opportunities available, specifically for my business, I understood the importance of becoming CBE/SBE certified.

​The process of becoming a CBE/SBE has been extremely beneficial to my business. I utilize my experience of completing the certification process to train, educate and encourage other small business owners to work toward obtaining certification. I've also submitted two Proposals for Solicitations in Broward County since becoming certified! The work you put in before submitting a bid is very important. It is paramount to read every single page of the solicitation very carefully. I highlight important areas, pay very close attention to the details related to the Scope of Work, and make sure to include all the required documents.

I encourage other small businesses to educate and familiarize themselves with the certification process. Attend every workshop available with OESBD and utilize their resource partners to get additional assistance with completing the certification process.

I can honestly say that my journey as a CBE/SBE has been very exciting. More importantly, the OESBD staff was very helpful throughout my certification process. Now that I'm certified, I'm excited about all the opportunities available for CBE/SBE's.

​​​​​​I am very grateful for the opportunity to grow and scale my business in Broward County. Thank you to the entire OESBD Team for making it such a great experience!

Diannette Rivera and John Hendriks​ 

H84 Exports, LLC
We started our business to get out of the rat race. We wanted to spend time with our family when and how we wanted and to be there for the big and little moments of life. We looked around at how customers were being treated and felt that they deserved better and that we could do better. We knew we could bring a fresh approach to our industry and make a difference doing it.

"Our philosophy is to "Treat others the way you want to be treated." We believe in providing our customers, employees, and the community with the best service possible, to go above and beyond no matter the size of the project and where it is located. We want to be the Ritz-Carlton of building materials supply and export services. 

​In 2018 we started to learn more about government contracting. We truly did not understand how a small minority-owned business like ours could truly compete with the “big dawgs” until we met with some small business owners who were doing business with the government and started to attend the Office of Economic and Small Business Development (OESBD) workshops and outreach programs. However, it was not until we won our first bid with Miami-Dade College and the City of Hialeah that we believed government contracting was a viable option.

We first learned about Broward County's certification process through the Florida Women’s Business Center (Victoria Hughes) during their State of Florida certification workshop series. She encouraged us to get certified with OESBD and to go after government contracts. Once we connected with OESBD and got over our self-doubt we submitted our application to Cheryl Roberts. She really helped us through the process and anytime we had questions, she was available to assist us. The entire team at OESBD has been really helpful and a resource for us.

Like the rest of the world, we were forced to reexamine and pivot our operations to save our business due to the COVID-19 pandemic, our biggest challenge to date. Since we had been catering to the hospitality business and building projects within that space overseas, we lost a significant amount of revenue. However, we never gave up. Our family kept us striving for more and when things got tough we looked at our three daughters and remembered we are doing this for them.  We looked at all operations and cut back where we could, and eliminated any spending that was not essential to business operations. We stayed in constant communication with our clients to let them know that we were here to help them. Additionally, we started selling online to new market segments, applied for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan and any available recovery funds, and were contacted by a Balfour Beatty Senior PM first and then a Matthew Southwest PM, who we previously met at an OESBD Meet & Greet event. These meetings led to new opportunities that generated much-needed revenue.​

We secured a contract to move the iconic Sailfish at the Broward County Convention Center as part of the center's expansion and hotel project. Working on this major project in our community is AMAZING! We are proud to be part of such a historic project. To be the small minority-owned business that crated and moved the iconic Fort Lauderdale Convention Center Sailfish makes us proud. In addition to that large project, the other opportunities we have worked on throughout the convention center project have allowed us to stretch and grow our business and learn more about working on government projects. We are confident that we can successfully supply large-scale government projects because of the work we have performed on this project.

We subscribe to the BAW newsletter and make sure to read it when we receive them. Staying engaged is how we find out about upcoming events and opportunities. It was through the attendance of events prior to the start of the convention center project demolition phase where we met with Balfour Beatty and Matthew Southwest project managers and estimators who would later call us to provide goods and services on the project. It's all about making connections, growing relationships, and making sure we knock it out of the park when we get an opportunity no matter how big or small​."​

Kaola King

King Intelligence and Security Services, Inc.
I enjoyed working at the Sheriff's Office in the finance field. However, I was inspired by my Deputy coworkers to consider a business in the security guard industry, which I started in 2008. Now 13 years later, we are thriving and remain dedicated to creating a safer environment for all.

"As a minority-owned firm, King Intelligence and Security Services, Inc. (KISSI) employs approximately 75 people. Since starting the business, our biggest challenge was facing companies in the security industry longer than King. However, I started attending events hosted by the Office of Economic and Small Business Development (OESBD), where I learned about their certification programs and other business resources. I decided to get certified to help overcome our challenge as well as to have an opportunity to obtain government contracts and grow my business.

Getting certified has impacted my business positively. We were able to obtain the Unarmed Security Services contract at the Broward County Convention Center Expansion and Hotel Project with Balfour Beatty Construction. This experience has been amazing; all I wanted was an opportunity to show the quality services that King Intelligence and Security Services, Inc. provides.

Being certified allowed KISSI to be awarded a contract for the Super Bowl LIV in Miami. As we continue to grow our business, we have secured other major contracts with Turner Construction, Stiles,​ the School District of Palm Beach County, and Turner-Kiewit.​

I remain engaged with OESBD by attending their ZOOM webinars and reading their weekly eNewsletter, the Business Assistance Weekly." ​​

​​ Dudly Pauletienne 

Dudly Pauletie​nne

Dudly's Professional Services, LLC
We provide Community Outreach, Administrative Support, Project Control, Permitting, and Technical Services. We've been in business for over 10 years.

"After being laid off, I moved back to South Florida and decided to start my own business. I started my business with just a laptop and printer. My company's philosophy is to help bridge the disconnect between large organizations/businesses and small businesses. Results inspire me!

I attended an OESBD event (pre-COVID) and there stood Sandy-Michael McDonald telling the crowd that there's opportunity out there and that it's up to you to go after them. I went up to him, asked to meet with him, and he agreed. The rest was history! I also met the rest of the Office of Economic and Small Business Development (OESBD) team, who are always willing to help. Their doors are always open for CBE firms who want to learn more about opportunities.

I landed a contract for the Broward County Convention Center Expansion and Hotel Project with Balfour Beatty Construction; what I learned on that project was mind-blowing. The assistance and guidance I received from OESBD and the Balfour Beatty team were endless. My expertise and ideas were also welcomed throughout my time ​on the project.

During, and even after, my contract ended, I remained engaged with OESBD. I look forward to the BAW once a week and my favorite feature is the direct workshops with various cities that have upcoming Surtax projects. Staying engaged with OESBD has helped me tremendously." ​​

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Rhonda Dave Rosenof

Big Dog Construction Services
After beginning with residential renovations, we created opportunities for commercial and public work, and now also build exclusive homes.

"We had always dreamed of starting a business founded on the values and culture that were important to us. Adversity brings opportunity and in 2013, Dave was laid off from his corporate job and the reliability of weekly paychecks and benefits. We realized that “job security” is an illusion and that the only way to gain control over our future was to take charge of it ourselves. Armed with a General Contractor’s license that he had received a year earlier as part of his professional development, we knew that this was our “It’s Now or Never” moment.

We sincerely care about every employee, project, and client. Most importantly, we do what we say we will do. We follow the spirit of George Bernard Shaw who said “Don’t wait for the right opportunity – create it”.

Once we received our Broward Business License it's hard to avoid Sandy’s emails! The certification process was relatively simple, only requiring us to provide some basic information. The yearly renewal is similarly easy.

In 2016 we were asked to provide up to 15 workers for the FLL Terminal 1 project to help meet SBE goals. At the time, we employed one carpenter and one project manager. This seemed beyond our capabilities. Dave posted a quote on Rhonda’s wall – “If somebody offers you an amazing opportunity but you are not sure you can do it, say yes—then learn how to do it later!” Working with Career Source Broward, our hires lead to over 2½ years of work. This opened the door to similar work at the airport, courthouse, and convention center.

We continue to share with OESBD issues related to doing business as an SBE/CBE. Our hope is that sharing our concerns and suggestions will lead to improvements in the program which will benefit us all."​