Educating the public on P3s.

We have talk previously about the benefits and problems of Public Private Partnerships

But, the efficacy of P3 projects’; effects and promotion of project benefits to the people they would serve before such projects are awarded is essential to addressing stakeholders’ concerns and forestalling attempts to delay, change or even cancel the projects. Failure to anticipate negative public reactions has hindered the progress of major infrastructure projects in three states, making them difficult or even impossible to pursue.

In North Carolina, for example, although the House of Representatives failed to cancel the Interstate 77 managed lanes project, protests over the project caused the governor to recommend changes in an attempt to appease opponents.

Meanwhile, progress on the Maryland Purple Line light rail project is hindered by fallout from another area rail line’s poor performance.

A judge decided Aug. 3 to delay the start of construction to update a ridership analysis in light of declining ridership and safety issues plaguing the metropolitan Washington Metrorail system.

The Court noted “serious questions” about the “future viability” of the Purple Line. (See: The Washington Post). More than one-quarter of the new system’s passengers are expected to use both rail systems during their daily commutes, reported radio station WTOP-FM. The delay could complicate the project’s logistics and financing enough to jeopardize the entire project, some experts have warned, according to the Washington Business Journal. The state plans to appeal the judge’s ruling.

Maryland canceled plans to hold an Aug. 8 signing of a $900 million dollar federal funding agreement with the Federal Transit Administration because a Court stayed federal funding until the Purple Line ridership issue is settled.  This federal contribution would have covered nearly half of the $2 billion dollar project’s construction funding.

In New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo changed the scope of the LaGuardia Airport redevelopment project after bids had been solicited, opting for a more ambitious and far-reaching design for the airport’s main terminal, adding to its expense, reported The Wall Street Journal. The change was motivated, in part, by community complaints about the project’s design.

The terminal’s redesign contributed to a hike in the project’s cost from $3.25 billion to up to $5 billion.

The importance of early, persistent and strong grassroots efforts to educate the public on the efficacy of Public Private Partnership projects therefore cannot be prevaricated.

 

 

Knights of Columbus Breaks Charitable Records 17th Year in a Row

Knights of Columbus pic
Knights of Columbus
Image: kofc.org

Martin Milita has served as a senior director at Duane Morris Government Strategies in Trenton, New Jersey, since 2012. A committed philanthropist, Martin Milita supports the charitable faith-based organization Knights of Columbus.

A fraternal benefit society dedicated to helping people who are poor, ill, or disabled, Knights of Columbus maintains more than 1.9 million members worldwide. In a recent press release, the society announced its success in attaining record-breaking charitable efforts for the 17th consecutive year. As with previous years, 2015 witnessed steady gains in both donations and service hours. Last year’s totals reached $175,079,192 in contributions and 73.4 million service hours—up $1.5 million and more than a million hours in 2014. As expounded in the Knights’ Annual Survey of Fraternal Activity, 2015’s most magnanimous jurisdictions included Texas, California, Illinois, Michigan, and Ontario.

For the 2016-2017 fraternal year, Knights hopes to continue to expand its number of financial gifts and volunteer hours.

Knights of Columbus Recognized as a World’s Most Ethical Company

Knights of Columbus pic
Knights of Columbus
Image: kofc.org

Since 2012, Martin Milita has served as senior director at Duane Morris Government Strategies (DMGS) in New Jersey, where he provides public affairs and government relations services. Martin Milita complements his professional endeavors with support for various nonprofit groups and charities, including the fraternal service organization Knights of Columbus.

In a recent press release, the Knight of Columbus announced that it was recognized as a 2016 World’s Most Ethical Company by the Ethisphere Institute, one of the top groups in the world dedicated to advancing ethical business practices. Ethisphere has named the Knights of Columbus as one the world’s most ethical companies for three consecutive years, and it is one of just two life insurance companies included on the list. According to the CEO of Knights of Columbus, the company applies Catholic values and ethical standards across all of its business activities, from investments to daily operations.

Ethisphere has been identifying ethical companies for a decade based on their ability to foster corporate trust, align ethical standards with action, and model innovative best practices. By upholding ethical standards, Ethisphere explains that companies generate more value for stakeholders and establish a sustainable business advantage.

Procurement Lobbying

There are two main types of lobbying, the exact legal definitions of which vary from state to state. The first type of lobbying is direct lobbying. In general terms, direct lobbying involves a person or entity attempting to influence legislation in a way that favors the client. Direct lobbyists typically interact with legislators or government employees involved in creating legislation.

The other main type of lobbying is known as grassroots lobbying. Grassroots lobbying focuses on influencing public opinion in favor of  or opposition to particular legislation. This type of lobbying also encourages members of the public to take action themselves in a variety of ways, such as by contacting their elected officials or signing petitions.

Often ignored by the vendor community is Procurement lobbying. This is of particular importance as federal, state, and local governments purchase trillions of dollars in goods and services.

Procurement lobbying involves appreciating:

  • all procurement lobbying laws in the 50 states, the federal government, and more than 230 municipal jurisdictions, along with common-language descriptions of these same ordinances and statutes.
  • advisory opinions interpreting lobbying laws
  • pay-to-play laws on every government level
  • full descriptions of registration and reporting requirements
  • jurisdictions requiring registration as a lobbyist for procurement activities
  • contingent lobbying prohibitions by jurisdiction
  • summaries of gift laws;

and pre-RFP pursuit, meaning shaping upcoming procurements in conformity with the above points.

It can be difficult to find the right person to talk to in Government Agencies and companies. That’s a major reason why people don’t do pre-RFP pursuit. It’s also why many companies are in perpetual sales mode.

Before you can influence the RFP or gain pre-RFP customer insight, you have to make contact with the right people at the customer. Here are some ways to do that:

  1. Past contracts. Sometimes the best source of data about future purchases starts by identifying who the buyers were for similar purchases in the past. So start with mining the data and looking up past contracts through online databases. The points of contact may not always be up to date, but it’s a good place to start.
  2. Associations. What associations might the customer belong to? Do they publish their membership or attendee lists? Do they hold meetings where you might meet face to face? Do they publish presentations or documents that might mention names?
  3. Councils, standards setting organizations, and committees. Are there any other organizations the customer might participate in? In addition to their membership list, do they publish minutes or other documents that might provide insight or contacts?
  4. LinkedIn profiles. Can you find your points of contact on LinkedIn? If you do, can you find their co-workers and business partners? In addition to searching by demographics, you can also search by acronyms, technical terminology, program names, functional terminology, etc.
  5. LinkedIn groups. Look up what groups on LinkedIn your customers have joined. If they post, see what you can learn. If they read, you have an opportunity to put words in front of them. Just simply knowing what groups they are in can provide insight. If you can’t find your customers’ profiles on LinkedIn, maybe you can find them in a relevant group.
  6. Trade shows and events. What trade shows and events do they host or participate in? Can you get introduced? Can you meet face to face? What can you learn? What can you demonstrate?
  7. Websites and org charts. Does the customer have a website? Does it name names? Does it have an org chart that can help you navigate? Can you do an image search for a relevant org chart?
  8. Publishers. There are companies that research, aggregate, and publish databases that include customer contact information. Some can save you a huge amount of time.
  9. Google. Learn how to use Boolean search operators. Then combine fragments of names, email addresses, titles, projects, technology, locations, etc. to see if you can find the needle in the haystack.
  10. Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).  If it’s a Government customer, you can try doing a FOIA for rosters, staff directories, points of contact, organization charts, committee memberships, attendance lists, etc.
  11. Teaming partners. Who do your subs or primes know? Can you get a referral or introduction?
  12. Alumni. Not yours. Theirs. Where did they go to school? Can you track them down through Alumni organizations or discover someone else who knows them?
  13. Certification registries. If their job requires specific certifications, are there lists or registries of people with that certification?
  14. Look for coordination points. Where does the customer’s organization need to coordinate with the outside world? That’s where people will be visible.
  15. Look for common interests, platforms, tools, and requirements. Show interest in their interests. Be where they will be. Then be helpful when they arrive.

Procurement Lobbyists can assist with all 15 approaches but most importantly they bring years of personal networking: a wide cast of personal relations to allow you to expand your network. Because it’s not about selling. It’s about getting to know each other and working together. It’s about professional development

Preservation Efforts for the Gettysburg Civil War Battlefield

Civil War pic
Civil War
Image: civilwar.org

The senior director of Duane Morris Government Strategies LLC, Martin Milita is a public affairs professional based in New Jersey. Outside of his professional life, Martin Milita is a supporter of the Civil War Trust’s Gettysburg preservation efforts.

The Civil War Trust and its partner organizations have devoted time and effort to preserving 927 acres of the land upon which the iconic Battle of Gettysburg was fought. Though large, central sections of the battlefield are protected within the boundaries of the Gettysburg National Military Park and the Eisenhower National Historic site, various additional tracts of historic lands on the outskirts of the main battlefield have been purchased by the Civil War Trust. Upon purchase, the lands are shielded from new development via conservation easements or transfer to the National Park Service or other preservation groups.

Many of the protected sites were once the locations of family farms and antebellum houses, where field hospitals and cavalry staging areas were set up by both armies. To learn more about the history behind the Gettysburg Battlefield and related conservation efforts, visit the Civil War Trust’s website at www.civilwar.org.