Images from March 31 MWRTBA forum and networking event at the Mayflower Hotel. Speakers at left are, clockwise: Federal Highway Administration Division Director Chris Lawson; Maryland State Highway Administrator Greg Johnson; Virginia Chief Engineer and Deputy Commissioner Garret Moore; and District Department of Transportation Deputy Director Greer Gillis.

By Eileen Houlihan, senior writer/editor, ARTBA

Members of the Metropolitan Washington Road & Transportation Builders Association (MWRTBA) heard about upcoming projects and initiatives from local transportation leaders during the March 31 “DBE Forum and Networking Event.”  Both prime contractors and Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (DBEs) from the Capital area region learned about future market opportunities and explored potential business relationships during the presentations and networking sessions at the Mayflower Hotel.

The Federal Highway Administration’s DC Division Administrator Chris Lawson led a panel of state DOT officials from the region that included Maryland State Highway Administrator Greg Johnson, Virginia Department of Transportation Chief Engineer and Deputy Commissioner Garret Moore and District of Columbia Department of Transportation Deputy Director Greer Gillis.

Maryland’s Johnson noted the state’s 2015 gas tax increase is generating more money for local roads, though officials are carefully monitoring the spending.  “We are still focused on practical design. We’re not going to put a Cadillac out there when a Chevy will do,” Johnson said. He also added that the state is using e-Construction to reduce paperwork and improve efficiency.

Virginia’s Moore said the commonwealth is “open for business and open for DBE business.” He said the state DOT is striving to reach a goal of 42 percent of its business coming from DBE firms. DDOT’s Gillis said the District’s upcoming DBE opportunities will come through a work program totaling about $1 billion, including larger projects such as the Anacostia Waterfront Initiative.

D.C.-based DBE Advance, LLC co-sponsored the event.

To find out more about MWRTBA networking and learning opportunities, contact Executive Director Mike Sakata, or visit