Thursday, December 05, 2013 3:20 AM
Photo by Tauren Dyson. “One of the things we wanted to do was to give the vendors an opportunity to understand how to do business with MGM,” said Lorenzo Creighton, MGM National Harbor president.
Published on: Thursday, October 03, 2013
By Tauren Dyson
Hundreds of vendors attended two information sessions held by MGM Resorts International officials at Camelot of Upper Marlboro on Friday.
While the Las Vegas-based company has not won the bid for the license to build a casino at National Harbor — the Maryland gaming commission plans to meet at the end of the year to select one of three gaming companies, including MGM — it does have joint ventures or sole propriety of 44 properties throughout the world. If MGM does win the bid, many expect there to be heavy minority involvement in the construction process.
In 2000, the company adopted a policy requiring minority participation in all construction bids, according to MGM.
Carl Brown, the executive director of the Center for Minority Business Development at Prince George’s County, is encouraged by MGM’s commitment to diversity.
“I think what they (MGM) are trying to do is recruit qualified minority contractors out at the National Harbor,” Brown said.
The center is made up of architectural, construction and electrical companies among others, all with a goal of receiving a fair shot at receiving bids within Prince George’s County.
“We need to make sure that their giving out the prime contractors the best numbers that they can possibly get,” Brown said.
In addition to 3,000 slot machines and 250 table games, the MGM project would also have hotels, high-end retail clothiers and entertainment venues, which would total more than an estimated $800 million.
But, the event was not limited to just minority companies. Shane Carmadella is the business development manager with Ruppert Landscape, which is not a minority-owned business but employs 50 employees at his Forestville location. He stood in line with approximately 30 other vendors in order to meet with representatives MGM.
“I’m here to maximize my opportunities,” Carmadella said.
Over the past five years, he estimates Ruppert has worked on 30 separate projects within Prince George’s County.
“One of the things we wanted to do was to give the vendors an opportunity to understand how to do business with MGM,” said Lorenzo Creighton, MGM National Harbor president.
While MGM has not said what percentage of its vendors will be minority owned, Creighton said the company will make strides for wide minority inclusion.
“We do have a percentage in mind, but we don’t want to be presumptuous and put that out there,” Creighton said. “We’re going to get that percentage through a collaboration with the state of Maryland and Prince George’s County.”
Caroline Cuff owns High Tech Minds, a proposal and grant writing training company with an office at the National Harbor. As a minority business owner, she hopes to win a contract with MGM, which would allow her to expand her company from four employees to 50.
“I want to be a part of all this energy, inspiration, business development and everything that’s going on with diversity within the county,” Cuff said.
If MGM does win the bid for a license to open a casino at the National Harbor, it would be Maryland’s sixth casino. Planners anticipate the project will be completed in the middle of 2016.