Connections – October 24, 2016

message from the president

Dear AMAC Members and Friends:

National Minority Enterprise Development Week (MED Week) starts today!  This national event celebrates organizations dedicated to encouraging and supporting entrepreneurial success for women and men of every faith, background, and race.  AMAC salutes all of our partners in this mission, with special recognition to the U.S. Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) and the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC).  NMSDC is holding its National Conference and Business Opportunity Exchange in Chicago this week.

Planning has begun for our 2017 AMAC Airport Business Diversity Conference which will be held June 16th – 20th in Houston. TX.  Recently I visited the city to discuss the Conference with Local Committee Chair Rhonda Arnold, who is Chief Municipal and Community Affairs Officer for the Houston Airport System.  They will be our hosts next year and with your help, I am sure the event will be fantastic!

I’m issuing a call for volunteers to assist with the planning of our 2017 Conference.  If you are interested, please email me at  I promise volunteers special small perks and benefits, along with the warm feeling that comes from a job well done!

While in Houston, I attended AMAC member Goodwille Pierre’s monthly “Business Talk” networking event to promote AMAC and the upcoming Conference.  And, I had the honor of attending the Greater Houston Black Chamber’s 22nd Annual Pinnacle Awards reception and dinner honoring excellence, tenacity and dedication of entrepreneurial spirit in the African-American business community.

I also visited San Antonio, TX, where I met with that city’s mayor, Ivy Taylor.  Ivy is the first African American and the second woman to be elected to the position.  She and I discussed the continued need to advance a pipeline for diverse young men and women into the aviation industry. To that end, I would like to encourage our members to make a tax-deductible contribution to the AMAC Foundation Scholarship Fund

Finally, in this issue of Connections we announce and congratulate three AMAC members who have received national recognition for excellence.  Visit our Membership Corner section to read about the awards received by Oscar Lewis, Miami International Airport, and Indianapolis International Airport.  You make us proud!


Krystal J. Brumfield


catalyst Award winner Erin Zwiercan

For more than six years, Philadelphia International Airport restaurant owner Erin Hurley Zwiercan has been quietly and persistently helping to grow membership for AMAC in the Philadelphia area.  Recently, her successful efforts were recognized when she received an AMAC Catalyst Award at the 2016 AMAC Business Diversity Conference.

“I joined AMAC in 2010 because my partners and I were interested in learning more about how to expand our women-owned ACDBE business,” Zwiercan recalls.  “I not only got the education and information I needed, but I gained so many new friends!  I made the time to join and be active in the Membership Committee.”

In that role, she has coordinated and hosted membership events in and around Philadelphia and overcome innate shyness to speak on behalf of AMAC to potential member groups.  “I’m still a nervous speaker,” she says with a smile, “But the more friends I make, the easier it gets.”

The business started in 2001 when Zwiercan, who is now majority owner of Jack Duggan's Phl, Inc., joined forces with her father, Ed Hurley, family friend Tracey Adams and her father, Ken Adams. The team bid on and won a food concession contract at the Airport and opened a small 1,100 square foot bar and deli in Terminal E.  In 2004 they expanded to a second location (bar only) also in Terminal E.  Both were closed in 2009 due to airport renovations.

Quiet and steady persistence paid off, however, when, later in 2009, the company was able to open a full service bar/restaurant in Terminal A East.

“I was brought up in a restaurant-owning family,” Zwiercan notes, “I knew the food business from the ground up.”  When her father died in 2008, she took on a major role in the running of the restaurant enterprise.

“We have recently expanded into the gate hold seating area of American Airlines adding an additional 70 seats to our plan,” Zwiercan says.  Just this month they opened a Geno's Steaks – offering a well-known Philadelphia brand of cheesesteaks-- in the Terminal B/C food court.

Zwiercan was presented with the AMAC Strategic Partner Catalyst Award.  This award honors an AMAC corporation that has demonstrated diversity inclusion within its corporate structure of procurement and employment.

“Her company is viewed within the industry as a leader for supplier diversity and best practices,” says AMAC President Krystal Brumfield. “She has clearly demonstrated support of AMAC’s goals and mission.”


Pictured are, from left, AMAC Catalyst Awards Committee Chair Bridget Biagas, former AMAC Board Chairman Darryl Daniels, Erin Zwiercan, and AMAC President and CEO Krystal Brumfield.

In Memoriam

In Memoriam:  Mrs. Carolyn Denson

The AMAC family mourns the loss of Ms. Carolyn Denson, wife of former AMAC board member Mr. Alfonso Denson.  Mr. Denson,President and CEO of the Birmingham (AL) Airport Authority, created the AMAC Scholarship Fund and was presented with the AMAC Award of Excellence in June 1994.  He lost his wife of 45 years last week after her courageous, year-long battle with cancer.

Funeral services were held at First Baptist Church of Fairfield, AL, on Saturday, October 22.

Cards may be sent to the family at the address below.  Please mark them to the attention of Mr. Alfonso Denson (Personal).

Johnson Memorial Funeral Home
2601 9th Avenue, North
Bessemer, AL 35020

youth focus

DOT offers 2017 Summer Internships

The Summer Transportation Internship Program for Diverse Groups (STIPDG) is a paid internship program open to all qualified college student candidates.  The internship period is from June 5th through August 11th, 2017. The application period is now open. To apply, please click here. Applications will be accepted through January 20, 2017.  For more information about STIPDG, please visit

aviation news

columbus-airport-terminalNew $1.3B Airport Terminal Being Considered in Columbus

Representatives from the John Glenn Columbus International Airport (CMH) have announced that the next steps are being taken to study the development of  a new main terminal facility.



Clinton National Airport Announces $20.6M Concourse Renovation

The Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport in Little Rock,Arkansas has announced a $20.6 million renovation project that will include replacing 44-year-old gate seating and swapping out rusted jet bridges for new heated and cooled bridges.


AMAC news

AMAC Issues Request for Examples or Documents Used to Pre-Qualify Contractors

AMAC is seeking examples and/or documents used for a pre-qualification process from both airports and contractors.

We are looking for documents that can assist us in developing the language for a pre-proposal process.  Please either forward documents or links to documents that can assist our efforts to

In an effort to identify the most responsive and qualified contractor or service provider to bid or propose on airport projects, some of the airports have used a pre-qualification process.

In the early days of the DBE/ACDBE (formerly M/WBE) program, the pre-qualification process was one method airport management used to assess the completeness and quality of the prime proposer’s response to inclusion of women and minorities in their proposal.  The method of pre-qualifying addressed the airport’s concern that a lower bidder may not be selected if their response to participation of women and minorities was incomplete or poorly structured.

In effect, the two-step process permitted the airport to affirm that all those approved in the first phase, an acceptable DBE/ACDBE plan, would be permitted to propose in the second phase – the dollar amount.

From time-to-time airports also use a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) process. The RFQ process has permitted the airport to assess which proposers are qualified to propose on certain projects.

Thank you in advance for your assistance with this urgent matter!

IAA issues RFQ and RFI for Services

The Indianapolis Airport Authority (IAA) has announced a Request for Qualifications for On-Call Professional Services for Planning and Development at the Indianapolis International Airport.

The IAA has also issued Request For Information (RFI) for Flight Information Display Cloud Based Refresh.

The timeline and requirements for submitting questions, submissions, and other details for these requests are specified in the documents at the following link to the IAA website:


Paradies Lagardère Opens New Concepts in Austin Airport

AMAC member Paradies Lagardère, the travel retail and restaurateur leader in North America, opened two new food concession concepts near Austin–Bergstrom International Airport’s (AUS) Gate 18. ThunderCloud Subs and Ruta Maya are beloved local brands that will introduce a bit of Austin’s flavor and culture to visitors at the city’s airport. The restaurant and coffee shop are the first of seven new dining spots Paradies Lagardère will open in AUS. Local favorites such as Second Bar + Kitchen, Departure Lounge and Berry Austin will also be offered to passengers.

Upcoming Events

DOT Holds Small Business Summit October 26th

DBE owners and stakeholders are invited to join Secretary of Transportation  Anthony  Foxx for a summit on Access to Opportunity for the DBE/Small Business Community . 

The event will be held Wednesday, October 26, 2016  from 8:30 am to 4:00 pm at the US DOT Headquarters West Atrium, 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE.


SFO Holds Town Hall Meetings for Small Businesses

Interested business owners are invited to attend San Francisco International Airport’s  (SFO) Town Hall Meetings scheduled for November 7th and 8th.

Guests will join the Airport Director, SFO Staff, and representatives from our City partners for a discussion on strategies and resources to support small businesses.

RSVPs are required by October 28, 2016 to: Indicate your name, company name, and which Town Hall Focus you would like to attend. Light Lunch Provided. Parking will be validated – Please bring your parking ticket with you.

November 7, 2016 (10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.)
Airport Museum (Use International Terminal Parking Garage A)

November 7, 2016 (12:30 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.)
Airport Museum (Use International Terminal Parking Garage A)

November 8, 2016 (12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.)
Terminal 2 Partnering Room (Use Domestic Hourly Garage, Section D; Take Tunnel to Terminal 2)

Diverse Small Business Matchmaking Event Planned in Indy

The Diverse Small Business Champions (DSBC) are hosting a business Matchmaking Event for Monday, November 21st.

Companies and agencies scheduled to participate include SBA, The City of Indianapolis, Eli Lilly and Company, IUPUI/IU, the State of Indiana, Zimmer Biomet, Citizens Energy Group, Duke Realty, Cummins, Federal Agencies, National Government Services, Wright Patterson Air Force Base, Crane, Indianapolis Airport Authority (IAA), Allison Transmissions, AES Corporation, Roche, Hill-Rom, Indianapolis Public Library, and OMWBD.

The event will be held in the Clearwater Ballroom, Sheraton Indianapolis Hotel at Keystone Crossing, 8787 Keystone Crossing, Indianapolis, IN 46240 from noon until 5 pm, EST

Register online: or register by Email:


membership corner

Insurance Coverage Programs Exclusively for AMAC Members

AMAC has engaged Affinity Group Underwriters (AGU), a leading national association benefits consultant and administrator, to create and manage a portfolio of group and individual insurance coverages exclusively for our members.   

Benefit programs offered:

  • AffinityChoice - voluntary employee benefits (life, dental, vision & disability)
  • Gap Insurance – supplementary coverage for high deductible health plans
  • Government Contractor health & welfare group benefit plans
  • MEC Plus – low cost solution for compliance with the Affordable Care Act
  • Individual & Family Dental & Vision insurance
  • Healthcare Discount Program – savings on dental, vision, telemedicine, lab tests, chiropractic care and more

For all AMAC members, families and employees of members:
WellCardRx pharmacy savings card.  Save up to 65% on prescriptions.
Download to your smart phone.

For more information, visit our program website:

AMAC’s Oscar Lewis Honored by NBMBAA


AMAC member Oscar Lewis, president and founder of North Carolina-based The Lewis Company, a global transportation and airport engineering firm, was recently honored by the National Black MBA Association (NBMBAA).  He received the Outstanding MBA of the Year Award at the organization’s 38th Annual NBMBAA Conference and Expo held this month in New Orleans.  Lewis is pictured here (front row, center) with organization leaders and other award winners.

Condé Nast Names Indy Airport Best in the Nation

For the third year in a row, travelers have selected AMAC member Indianapolis International Airport (IND) as the top U.S. domestic airport in the Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards.

Condé Nast announced the news, after more than 300,000 dedicated readers—nearly twice as many as last year—participated in the online awards survey, selecting winners based on their direct experiences with hotels, resorts, airports and travel destinations around the world.

“It's one thing to earn travelers' recognition via this prestigious honor as top U.S. airport," said Kelly Flynn, Indianapolis Airport Authoirty  board president. "Yet earning it three years in a row demonstrates a consistent culture, one that is not driven by gimmick or program, but by thoughtful decisions that put the traveler at the center of it all.”

miami-medweek_awardMIA Receives Minority Enterprise Development Awards

The Miami-Dade Aviation Department (MDAD) was recognized with two awards for supporting small, minority- and women-owned businesses at the 34th Annual Florida Minority Enterprise Development Week (MEDWeek) awards program, held at Florida International University’s Koven’s Conference Center on October 14.

MDAD Associate Director for Minority Affairs Milton Collins received the Outstanding Support to Small/Minority and Women Enterprises Award, and MDAD Contract Compliance Specialist Caridad Corrales was honored with the Outstanding Customer Service Award.

MDAD’s Minority Affairs Division is responsible for assuring that local small businesses and disadvantaged business enterprises (DBEs) are provided every opportunity to participate in contracting opportunities at MIA, and is also responsible for increasing awareness of the airport’s minority participation opportunities.


A Diverse Look at Aviation History

300px-bessie_coleman_first_african_american_pilot_-_gpn-2004-00027The Persistence of Bessie Coleman

By Kadijah Hall, J.D., PPL

Aviator Bessie Coleman’s persistence and determination to succeed were key factors in her ultimate achievement of a hard-won goal: to be the first African American and Native American woman to earn a pilot’s license

Coleman was born on January 26, 1892 in Atlanta, TX, in a one -room home, the tenth of thirteen children to sharecroppers George, who was part Cherokee, and Susan, an African American. In 1910, Coleman enrolled in the Agricultural Normal University in Langston, Oklahoma, but her money ran out after one semester.

She returned to Texas and worked as a laundress until 1916, when, at the age of 23, she moved to Chicago, IL, with her brother, Walter.  There she enrolled in a beauty school and completed a course in manicuring.

Coleman worked as a manicurist at the White Sox Barber Shop where she heard stories about flying from pilots returning home from World War I.   Her dream to become a pilot was born then.  She took a second job at a chili parlor to raise money faster for flight training.

With money in hand, Coleman looked into different flight schools near her. All of them rejected her requests for training, but rejection only made Coleman more tenacious and resilient in the face of adversity.

Too often, people give up on their dreams when they cannot see light at the end of the tunnel, but the light is always there.  It was for Coleman.  On the advice of Robert S. Abbott, founder and publisher of the Chicago Defender and with financial backing from banker Jesse Binga and the Defender, she took her dreams to France where the cultural climate was kinder to people of color

In 1921, Coleman earned her pilot’s license from the Federation Aeronautique Internationale.  She traveled defiantly back to America to eventually launch a high profile career as a “barnstorming” stunt flyer.

Coleman’s journey to becoming a pilot was fraught with obstacles, but she made a way by being creative and determined and by believing in herself.

Her accomplishment led the way for other women and minorities to become pilots.  Today, a public library in Chicago is named in Coleman's honor, as are roads at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago, Oakland International Airport in Oakland, California, Tampa International Airport in Florida, and at Frankfurt International Airport in Germany. 

Her perseverance is a fine example for anyone who cannot see a clear path to success.  We can look to history when we need inspiration.

jobs board

The AMAC Job Board is a nationwide listing of active and upcoming job openings at governments and contractors across the country. If you represent a public or private organization that would like to post an open position, please contact us at

For job postings click here.

bid board

The AMAC Bid Board is a nationwide listing of active and upcoming bid opportunities at governments across the country. If you represent a government organization that would like to post opportunities, please contact us at

For bid opportunities click here.