Can you help rebuild Lake Pontchartrain Elementary?

Published 12:10 am Wednesday, January 20, 2016

(Editor’s note: This story has changed from its original format to clarify the expo is designed to benefit work taking place at Lake Pontchartrain Elementary School.)

Small Business Expo Jan. 27 targets sub-contract opportunities

RESERVE — In an effort to put local businesses and craftsmen to work helping rebuild the storm-damaged Lake Pontchartrain Elementary School, a consortium of community and school leaders will hold a Small Business Expo from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Jan. 27 at the Regala Park Gym in Reserve.

Sponsored by the St. John the Baptist Parish School System, St. John Parish Government, EME Consulting and Lincoln Builders, the expo is inviting businesses seeking sub-contract opportunities and individual job seekers to attend the free event.

In particular, organizers are hoping to find local businesses and craftspeople such as equipment operators, rebar installers, masons, plumbers, HVAC technicians, sheet metal mechanics, truckers, concrete finishers, drywall finishers, general laborers, electricians, acoustical ceiling mechanics, painters and ceramic tile installers.

They could be put to work repairing Lake Pontchartrain Elementary, which has been unused by students in its original location on U.S. 51 since Hurricane Isaac struck the region in 2012.

The program complies with the School Board’s Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Policy, which is designed to create opportunities for disadvantaged businesses to participate in construction contracts.

A DBE is described as a “for-profit small business concern that is at least 51 percent owned by one or more individuals who are socially and economically disadvantaged or, in the case of a corporation, in which 51 percent of the stock is owned by one or more such individuals and whose management and daily business operations are controlled by one or more of the socially and economically disadvantaged individuals who own it.”

“It’s a win-win and a benefit to anybody involved,” said Pamela Watson, the DBE/Business Coordinator for EME Consulting.

“The goal is to ensure that the businesses and individuals in the parish benefit because, as a whole, the parish will benefit.”

St. John Parish Schools spokeswoman Jennifer Boquet said school leaders feel it’s important to reach out to small businesses to make them aware of the opportunities that exist in St. John the Baptist Parish.

“Any time we can provide a project that’s beneficial to our school district, as well as to our local businesses, it’s a win-win for our community,” she said.