WISDOT Pilot Project-Proves Success!

HWy 47 Award Receipiants

L: Brooks Big John, TERO Officer Lac du Flambeau Tribe; Aggo Akyea, Director-Office of Business Opportunity and Equity Compliance WISDOT; Ruth Geier, Vice President / Equal Rights Officer Integrity Grading and Excavating, Inc.

Tribal Award

Wisconsin Department of Transportation Award of Excellence.

In May 2013 Integrity Grading and Excavating, Inc. was low bidder on the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WISDOT) Hwy 47 Road Reconstruction Project [9231-07-70].   This project is located on the Lac du Flambeau Tribal reservation located in Vilas County Wisconsin.

As part of a new provision that was put in place in March 2013 by WISDOT, this project was the first project under way since the newly enacted provision.   Kelly Jackson, WISDOT Statewide Tribal Liaison, was instrumental in working with the tribes, and keeping the communication open with the State to bring this provision full circle.  The provision states special consideration is given to hiring Native Americans, for WISDOT construction projects that are on or near a reservation.   Lac du Flambeau TERO officer, Brooks Big John, provided the company with many applications for potential workers on the project.   These applications were distributed to the eight subcontractors, creating exposure of applicants to a pool of contractors.   Most applicants were recent graduates of a WISDOT funded “Transportation Alliance for New Solutions” (TrANS) program.  This program educates minority and disadvantaged workers. http://www.dot.state.wi.us/business/civilrights/laborwages/trans.htm

The communication and efforts that were under taken by the Lac du Flambeau TERO officer, Brooks Big John, months before the project was let, to the day of the mandatory prebid, right through the end of the project are to be commended.  Ruth Geier of Integrity Grading and Excavating, Inc. remained in communication from the onset of the pre bid meeting throughout the entire project.  Hurdles were encountered along the way, but exceptional communication prevailed creating substantial employment of Native Americans on the project.

Project Manager, Kurt Seubert and Foreman, Michael Metz maintained the operations on a daily basis with the field crews on the Integrity Team along with eight new faces from the Lac du Flambeau tribal members.   The majority of subcontractors also hired many Native Americans.

The project promoted the ability to utilize Native American employment, as the “pilot project” for WISDOT, all entities involved were pleased with the overall hiring provision, and the result of 17.2% employment of Native Americans with  lessons learned by everyone.

In December 2013 both Brooks Big John and Ruth Geier received the Wisconsin Department of Transportation Excellence Award while attending the Wisconsin Department of Transportation Tribal Conference at the HoChunk Convention Center in Baraboo, WI.