CEO Comments

Bonding Across America Effort with U.S. SBA Underway in 2018 

NASBP is again pleased to partner with the U.S. Small Business Administration in 2018 on hosting four bonding awareness programs around the country. The first two programs, one in Las Vegas and one in Cary, NC just outside of Raleigh, have occurred. Larry LeClair, Director, Government Relations, attended both events in-person and has coordinated volunteers and acted as the staff point person to ensure that NASBP is fulfilling its responsibilities under the partnership.

At the most recent program in Cary, NC, on April 3, nearly 20 attendees from various businesses in construction and service fields gathered to hear presentations by bond producers, government officials, a small contractor, and an attorney on the proper path to take to position for surety bond credit. Three bond producers from NASBP-member firms, Adam Pfanmiller of the Durham office of BB&T Insurance, Robert Coon of Scott Insurance in Greensboro, and Jessica Griffin of The Bond Exchange in Charlotte conducted a session on bonding and insurance, imparting information about the different kinds of contract surety bonds and how small, emerging contractors can begin the process of obtaining bonding. That session also included basic information on accounting principles and on financial systems. The lively interaction among the producer presenters created an engaging session in which many questions were asked by attendees.

In another session, attorney Caroline Trautman of the Raleigh-based law firm of Anderson Jones offered her insights and comments on how small contractors should manage performance risks, focusing on contracting issues, especially those surrounding change orders. The attendees also were treated to a contractor success story where Producer Tyler Turnbull of Catalyst Surety Partners and his client, George Harris of Reliance Construction, related the critical importance of developing a trusting relationship between the small business principal and the bond producer. Harris told of his personal journey as a former veteran starting his business and getting it to the point where Reliance Construction has completed in excess of $840 million in federal construction projects in the last 20 years. Jessica Griffin concluded the half-day program by reiterating the importance of small businesses selecting the right professional advisors, such as a construction-oriented CPA and attorney and a producer knowledgeable in surety, not just insurance.

On March 19, the first program of the 2018 Bonding Across America programs occurred. Lourdes Landa of member firm BB&T Insurance Services of California and Larry Holden of NASBP-member firm Assurance Ltd. in Las Vegas anchored the producer presence at the Las Vegas program. Though the small business turnout was not at the level that was hoped for, all of the volunteer presenters provided excellent information and insights to those in attendance.

Planning is well underway for the next Bonding Across America programs; Milwaukee is slated to happen on June 20 at the Global Water Center Auditorium, and Baltimore is scheduled for August 1 in the Dundalk area at the Sollers Point Multi-Purpose Center. Additional information about those programs, including speakers and links to registration, will be posted on the website, www.bondingacrossamerica.org. My sincere thanks to the Office of Surety Guarantees of the U.S. Small Business Administration, to Larry LeClair, and to all the volunteers who are making these bonding awareness and outreach programs possible. Be sure to say hello and thanks to Peter Gibbs, Acting Director of the Office Surety Guarantees, who will be in attendance at the NASBP Annual Meeting & Expo in Scottsdale, AZ.