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Rail News: Railroading Supplier Spotlight

Long Island economic development organization lands federal grant for rail suppliers alliance


The Long Island Forum for Technology (LIFT) recently received a second grant from the U.S. Small Business Administration for a pilot program designed to help small businesses work collectively to more effectively compete for federal contracts. The $454,545 grant covers a one-year period from Sep. 30, 2012, through Sept. 29, 2013.

As it did a year ago, LIFT — a nonprofit economic development organization — will use the grant to help fund its Long Island Rail Suppliers Alliance program, which aims to help small businesses that supply parts and services to the rail industry.

The initial grant received last year enabled the alliance to develop a web site, database and program meetings, establish partners and stakeholders, and conduct training programs for participating small businesses. In addition, two teams were created to compete for rail contracts, said LIFT Executive Director Bill Wahlig in a prepared statement.

"Currently, we have over 80 suppliers and 16 partners established in the Long Island Rail Suppliers Alliance," he said. "We expect the number of small business engaged in the alliance to exceed 250 as LIFT expands the program."

The alliance will focus on helping small businesses find firms that might be interested in teaming up for larger federal procurements, said Long Island Rail Suppliers Alliance Chairman Ken Bauer, a former MTA Long Island Rail Road president.

"We will facilitate this goal through a more robust supply chain web site and searchable supply chain database, consulting services, market research and various meetings and events to promote teaming introduction and opportunities," he said.

The alliance plans to convene a trade show in spring 2013 at which small businesses will be able to showcase their products to prime manufacturers and government agencies. Smaller, more focused meetings also will be held throughout the contract year, said Bauer.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 10/8/2012