HAMPTON, Va. — Small business owners and subcontractors want a seat at the table.

Hundreds are hoping to connect with key decision-makers on contract opportunities for the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel expansion project, like Michael Gordon. Gordon represents Gordon's Welding in Brodnax, Virginia.

“We shouldn't be spending taxpayer money on hiring companies out of state. We have companies that can do the job here,” Gordon said.

Gordon joined other Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) and Small, Women-owned, and Minority-owned (SWaM) subcontractors in Hampton on Wednesday morning.

“With SWaM and DBE we have some assurance we will get a part of these contacts,” Gordon said. “We have employees and families to feed.”

Governor Ralph Northam said they want everybody to have a seat at the table, including small businesses.

“There are a number of inequities in business opportunities, and to be able to come in and have everyone working together and leveling the playing field is a big deal,” Northam said.

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Governor Northam signed an executive order in July, directing state agencies to place a deliberate focus on the participation of DBE and SWaM businesses in the Commonwealth’s contracts, to create a more transparent, equitable, and inclusive state contracting process.

“Virginia is inclusive, we welcome everyone especially with business opportunities,” Northam said.

Gordon said this governor is doing a great job making small businesses, like his, feel welcome.

“The governor we have now is pushing everything in the right direction,” Gordon said.

VDOT hopes the expansion project is finished by November 2025 or earlier.

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