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Business owners receive crash-course on government bidding process

Dave Jenkins, of Crystal Lake School District 47, speaks with a resident during the business to government plug-in event. (Lawerence Synett/Tribune)

Dave Jenkins, of Crystal Lake School District 47, speaks with a resident during the business to government plug-in event. (Lawerence Synett/Tribune)

Business owners from throughout the far northwest suburbs recently received a crash-course about potential government vendor opportunities available in McHenry County.

More than 100 residents attended the business to government plug-in event at McHenry County College in Crystal Lake to learn everything from how to bid on a government project to prevailing wage requirements.

The event was designed to provide local businesses owners’ insight as to how the government bidding process works with entities such as school districts and municipalities, as well as inform them about upcoming projects.

The county itself bought more than $70 million in goods and services last year, according to Adam Lehman, assistant to the county administrator. Although local units of government cannot have a local preference during the bidding process, the event served as an educational tool for businesses looking for work.

“It’s hard for local businesses to bid on government projects because you have to cold call people and go through different layers,” Lehman said. “This was a firsthand experience for them to talk with those people directly who handle the decision making process.”

Representatives from more than 20 county departments and local governments were on hand to answer questions during the event, including Crystal Lake School District 47, the City of Crystal Lake, Village of Huntley and McHenry County Sheriff’s Office.

The event was advantageous for all parties involved, according to McHenry County Board Member Donna Kurtz.

“We’ve got an economy where businesses are suffering, and at the same time, we have a government that needs to find ways to reinvest in the local economy,” she said. “When you put those two together, the equation is one that government needs to reach out to local businesses and let them know how to get their hands on local tax dollars that they have basically contributed to.”

Dave Jenkins of District 47 agreed.

“This was an opportunity to connect with local business owners,” he said. “Sometimes the bidding process and list of qualifications can be hard to understand, and frightens people away.”

Richmond resident David Kielpinski attended the seminar to learn more about promoting his new display stands.

“This was a no-lose situation,” the longtime business owner said. “If I stopped learning, then I really am too old. This really helped because we are all in the same boat.”

A similar event took place in July 2010, but only featured county departments, Lehman said.

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