Kathy Liebler
                        Director of Public Information

C   O   M   M   I   S   S   I   O   N                N   E   W   S             R   E   L   E   A   S   E   

  Contact:   Carl DeFebo, 717-939-9551, ext. 2934

November 1, 1999


PITTSBURGH — The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission was recognized last week for ongoing efforts to award construction and engineering contracts to minority and women owned businesses. As part of a voluntary initiative begun almost 10 years ago, the Turnpike has awarded more than $200 million to minority and women entrepreneurs.

Jeff Bortz, Director of Operations at the Turnpike’s Western Regional Office in New Stanton, accepted a Special Recognition Award from the Minority Business Opportunity Committee of the Department of Veterans Affairs during an Oct. 29 luncheon in Pittsburgh.

"It is an honor for me to accept this on behalf of all the people at the Pennsylvania Turnpike, especially those who are dedicated to ensuring fairness in awarding contracts," Bortz said during the event at the Allegheny Club in Three Rivers Stadium.

Bortz talked about the Turnpike’s history of equality in contract-awarding practices. "Since May 1990, we’ve awarded more than $104 million in minority-business enterprise contracts and more than $97 million in women-business enterprise contracts in non-federally funded projects," he said.

He added that, two years ago, the Turnpike launched another voluntary initiative to encourage minority, women and disadvantaged firms to participate in non-federally funded engineering consulting contracts.

"I know that I speak for the commissioners when I say that the Pennsylvania Turnpike is proud of our track record in encouraging diversity in contractors," he said.

Bortz thanked the "competent, hard-working minority and women-owned businesses" that have stepped up to the challenge of numerous Turnpike projects over the past decade. "They are running successful enterprises and providing good, solid products and services — not to mention employment opportunities," he said.

"Here in the southwestern part of the state, these companies are hard at work on projects like the Mon-Fayette Expressway and the Southern Beltway that will link Morgantown, West Virginia to the Pittsburgh International Airport," Bortz added.

The awards ceremony was part of the Minority Business Opportunity Committee’s celebration of Minority Enterprise Development Week. The U.S. Small Business Administration and the U.S. Department of Commerce also took part in the program.


 P.O. Box 67676, Harrisburg, PA 17106-7676         Phone: (717) 939-9551         Fax: (717) 986-9649