Pinellas selects Black US Army veteran for infrastructure projects

Curtoom Companies, Inc., CEO and Founder Paul Curtis (right) son Tomikel Curtis (center) and nephew Kenley Vincent

Clearwater – Last month, the Pinellas County Board of County Commissioners awarded an engineering and construction management contract to Black-owned Curtoom Companies, Inc. to oversee up to $25 million in construction projects over a –five year period. The contract is for oversight, scheduling, observation, value engineering, estimating, quality control, bid documents preparation and overall administration of multiple infrastructure projects.

This is the largest contract ever awarded to a Black-owned business by Pinellas County government. Pinellas County is the most densely populated of the 67 counties in Florida, with Florida being the third largest state in America.

“We are honored to be selected. We are humbled Pinellas County recognizes our depth and expertise,” said Curtoom CEO Paul Curtis. “They should be saluted for their foresight and wisdom. We are thankful for their equitable approach to the selection process.”

Curtis said this is a big moment for their family and our small business team.

“Talk is cheap about diversity in public contracting with Black-owned business,” he said. “Pinellas County has put their money where their mouth is. It is good business practice to hire businesses owned by U.S. Military Veterans and underutilized businesses for significant opportunities.

A commitment up to $25 million in a prime contractor role is seldom made to Black-owned business, Curtis said,

“Many agencies may profit from following the lead of Pinellas County. Pinellas County has had the audacity to raise the bar for diversity in public contracting in this region.”

Curtoom Companies, Inc., an established construction and engineering services firm, was founded in Tampa more than 20 years ago. Curtoom was ranked as number 30 in the Minority-Owned Business list published this year by the Tampa Bay Business Journal.

Curtis, a U.S. Army veteran, is a three-term former Florida Affordable Housing Commissioner and a 15-time gubernatorial appointee. He has been appointed by five of six previous Florida governors over the past 25 years, regardless of political affiliation. He is also a member of the American Legion Veteran Small Business Task Force in Washington, D.C.

Curtis earned a Bachelor of Civil Engineering Technology at Florida A& M University, where he was once an adjunct professor. He earned an MBA from La Salle University and is presently a small business research analyst for the Transportation Research Board, where he trains federal, state, and local transportation officials in techniques related to the Competitive Selection (Qualification Based Selection).

This is the process used to select engineers, architects and construction managers for public construction projects. Last Year, Curtis published a research paper, “Earthquakes don’t kill people as much as buildings falling down on people kill people,” a parody he uses to teach important aspects of the topic.

Curtis was elected as a Hillsborough County Precinct Committeeman in 2000. He is the only African American ever elected to any public office in the eight-county Tampa Bay Region as a Republican in history.

He is the president of the Suncoast Minority Contractors Alliance, Inc., a statewide construction trade association providing political advocacy, governmental relations and training to its members. They represent 22 local small business owners statewide. Some members are U.S. military Veterans. The mission and goal are to assist members and citizens like their members in gaining access to and understanding of public construction processes.

The membership consists of general contractors, subcontractors, manufacturers, suppliers, local minority construction associations, technical assistance organizations, state and local government agencies, engineers, architects, attorneys and accountants.

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