In 2012, Progress Energy Florida, Inc. began planning construction for a new operation center in Madison, Florida. The utility’s Real Estate and Sourcing personnel approached the Supplier Diversity & Business Development business unit and asked for recommendations on local. minority, small business contractors in North Florida that might be interested in bidding on the project. April Harley, Supplier Diversity Coordinator, sought and received a recommendation from the local Florida A&M University Small Business Development Center – Pinnacle Construction Support Group, Inc., a minority owned construction management firm based in Tallahassee, Florida, with offices in Orlando and Coral Gables.

During the year that Pinnacle awaited the opportunity to bid on the project, the company strengthened its value proposition, including safety, subcontractor management, technology and branding. Once the proposals were submitted and reviewed, Pinnacle was identified as the winning bidder based on technical expertise and commercial value offered. Pinnacle, however was not satisfied with simply accepting and performing the job. The principals of Pinnacle, Harold Knowles, Cory McFarlane and Spencer Shepard agreed with Progress Energy that it was important to utilize local subcontractors in the economically challenged area in North Florida to help complete the project.

Through coordination with Progress Energy’s Supplier Diversity, Community Relations and Corporate Communications, the company conducted a vendor fair in Madison, Florida on September 7, 2011 and provided information to prospective trade professionals on registration for bids and then offered assistance to ensure that those who were interested in participating were given fair opportunity. As a result, local vendors from Leon, Taylor, Madison, Gadsden, Jefferson, Suwannee and Lowndes counties were awarded subcontracts for work such as surveying, site-work, electrical, flooring, fencing, concrete plumbing, sanitation and finishing, totaling approximately $500,000.

Through the application of innovative technology solutions the Pinnacle team was able to deliver cost savings and efficiencies, as promised at the start-up. To date, they have returned all cost savings to Progress Energy.

The Madison Operation Center building was completed on schedule and under their initial budget through the active engagement of local contractors and Pinnacle’s superior project management and oversight. Progress Energy and Pinnacle believe their efforts offered a boost to the local economy and built relationships for future participation by local businesses.