US Army Vet to Help African Americans Gear Up for Infrastructure Windfall

 

MLK Reception at Florida Governor’s Mansion, Tallahassee, Florida - From left to right: Paul Curtis, Curtoom Companies and Transportation Research Board Appointee, Honorable Rick Scott, Governor of Florida, Attorney Wilhelmina Curtis, Florida First Lady Ann Scott
MLK Reception at Florida Governor’s Mansion, Tallahassee, Florida – From left to right: Paul Curtis, Curtoom Companies and Transportation Research Board Appointee, Honorable Rick Scott, Governor of Florida, Attorney Wilhelmina Curtis, Florida First Lady Ann Scott (Photo credit: Curtoom Companies)

South Florida businessman and Gubernatorial appointee Paul Curtis, President of Curtoom Companies, an engineering, construction services and facilities management firm is on his legacy mission. Curtoom created a partnership with Haitian shipping vanguard, Vincent & Sons Transport to build a SIP (Structural Insulated Panel) plant to manufacture steel framed roofs for commercial buildings outside Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Curtis was recently appointed to the Transportation Research Board Disadvantage Business Enterprise Committee that provides expertise to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. His committee makes recommendations to U.S. DOT and FHWA on issues relating to State DBE programs.

Curtis says he had a minor epiphany last month after attending several public meetings in Miami about efforts to revive minority business programs. The County is about to begin a $15 billion infrastructure program and no licensed African American underground utility contractors announced their presence in crowds numbering over 1,000 citizens. Curtis said, people will not invest into licensure if there is the perception of limited or no opportunity. Curtis believes businesses established for two decades should establish a legacy project.

Curtis expressed his concerns that African Americans firms may have been over-looked and unprepared for the coming infrastructure tidal wave happening in Dade County. Curtis says his firm will finance, train and mentor African Americans to become licensed in engineering and as contractors.

“The Governor’s initiatives towards STEM in education are played out in real life. There is a direct impact on job availability,” Curtis said. “Perhaps certifications and licensing should be more connected to the education systems or vice versa. At the end of the day we’re both talking about jobs.”  I think the Governor and I are in reasonable agreement on this issue, he added.

Curtis says, though he has been in the engineering profession for over 20 years, he seldom finds black professional engineers or mechanical contractors when seeking to fill vacancies in his business.

Curtis, a 1979 Civil Engineering Technology Alumnus at Florida A& M University and past Adjunct Professor holds more construction contractor licenses than any other African American in Florida. 

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