Business Elevated Podcast (Episode 43)
This podcast series features business and government leaders discussing what it’s like to live and work in the great state of Utah. This episode includes a conversation between Chuck Spence, director of the Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) at GOED, and Raymond Christy, senior planner and disadvantaged business enterprise coordinator for the Salt Lake City Department of Airports.
Welcome to the Business Elevated Podcast, where we discuss what it’s like to live and work in the great state of Utah. Did you know Utah is frequently ranked the best state for business by Forbes? This podcast is a production of the Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development. Thanks for joining the conversation.
Chuck Spence: (0:22) Welcome to the Business Elevated podcast today. I’m Chuck Spence, the director of the Procurement Technical Assistance Center or better known as PTAC. PTAC is a government contract team and a business development tool within the Governor’s Office of Economic Development.
Today, my guest is Raymond Christy, or among his friends, he’s better known as ‘Dapper Dan’ for his flashy business suits, and flashy ties. Raymond, it’s great to have you with us today. Welcome.
Raymond Christy: (0:59) Well, thank you. I appreciate that Chuck and I noticed you’re not wearing a tie today, so I guess I can’t steal that tie.
Chuck Spence: (1:05) That’s all right. I should point out that Raymond is the senior planner and disadvantaged business enterprise coordinator for the Salt Lake City Department of Airports. Again, welcome. And we’re so thrilled to have you with us today.
Raymond Christy: (1:20) It is a pleasure for the number of years that I’ve been working with you hand-in-hand, the opportunity of working with some of your managers and how the clients that they work with can help with some of the contracting opportunities out here at the airport.
Chuck Spence: (1:37) Absolutely, right, and as Raymond mentioned, he is no stranger to PTAC. We’ve known each other for a number of years. He has participated and is almost like a constant part of our annual symposium and has been a past presenter and does a great job. We are honored to have you with us today. Before we jump in with all the details of the PTAC symposium, Raymond tell us a little bit about yourself. Tell us where you’re from and how you joined the Salt Lake City Department of Airports.
Raymond Christy: (2:12) It’s one of those stories that you share over a fireside chat with smores and hotdogs. I’m originally from Brooklyn, New York.
Chuck Spence: (2:22) I didn’t know that you’re from Brooklyn.
Raymond Christy: (2:26) Yes, I’m straight out of Brooklyn. I knew that I didn’t want to stay in New York City. I wanted to get out and see the world. I wound up attending college in Atlanta, Georgia, and finished in Rensselaer, Indiana. I got a chance as far as my college days between the South and the Midwest and then wound up working in many places on the West Coast, in California, at which point I just decided after getting a degree to go into the military.
At that time, the United States Air Force was looking at how they track bombs and bullets. The only location that they were doing this test site was Hill Air Force Base. So that’s how I got here from Brooklyn, New York. After being in the military for four years, I wound up getting jobs with the Salt Lake Golden Eagles and the Utah Jazz basketball team. At that time, it was called the Delta Center, and I became the purchasing agent. As a purchasing agent, that was the opportunity for me to use the skills that I had learned in the military as far as logistics. I also happened to be a salesman. So I had an opportunity to be on the other side of the desk.
My background is a little varied between similar products, sales, logistics, program coordinating and now compliance. Over the years, the last 17 and a half years, I have been working in transportation, assisting small businesses with contracting opportunities where there was transit. I was at the Utah Transit Authority for 12 and a half years. And now in about four days, it’s going to be five years that I’ve been out here at the airport. The Salt Lake City Department of Airports operates three airports: Salt Lake City International and what was known as Airport #2, Still, now it’s called South Valley Regional Airport and the airport in Tooele.
Chuck Spence: (4:35) I did not know that. Do you have responsibility for all three airports?
Raymond Christy: (4:40) Yes, when it comes to federally funded projects. Most of the South Valley Regional Airport and Tooele Regional Airport projects are construction-related rehabilitation of runways or rehabilitation of taxiways.
Those are the main things that happen and that we use federal funds at those two different airports. At Salt Lake International, not only the rehabilitation of taxiways and runways, but also the concessions program, whether it’s food and beverage, retail, or car rental. The other thing that we now have is a convenience store gas station.
Chuck Spence: (5:22) I did not know that. You are full of surprises. I’ve got to ask you, you’re from Brooklyn, and you’ve been in California and Utah and places in between. Is Utah now your permanent home, or do you want to, once you retire from your illustrious career, do you want to move on and go back to your roots back in New York?
Raymond Christy: (5:45) No, after living out here where life is elevated, you can see beyond the horizon. You know, it’s strange. When I first moved here to Utah, I happened to go back to New York City, and I was in Manhattan, and I looked down to find the sun and the horizon was down this row of buildings.
When I got back out here, I realized when I stood there and looked out amongst the horizon, I could see from my left to this wide vision. When we talk about Utah Life ElevatedⓇ and seeing the whole horizon, it’s beautiful. Whether it’s in Salt Lake City or up in Ogden or down in Provo, or if you go to Southern Utah, it’s just spectacular.
It’s kind of hard to leave here. After I have had my illustrious career here in Utah to go back to the concrete jungle. I’d stay here months, the mountains and the fishing and hunting,
Chuck Spence: (6:49) I remember, he’s since passed away, but we all remember John Huntsman, Sr. Back in the 80s when he had his corporate offices here. He commented that he hoped to live long enough to see Utah become known as a destination for something rather than skiing. I think that came to fruition. As we have become one of the hottest economies in the nation. We have Silicon Slopes, we have aerospace. I think his dream came true for him before he passed a few years ago.
Raymond Christy: (7:27) I’ll give you an example. At the airport, they say the Salt Lake City International Airport is a destination hub. It’s a destination hub, and a hub airport for Delta Airlines, but you’re finding that there are many people that come here.
Not only for business, not only for skiing but come here for husbandry activities as well. The great outdoors. There are a lot of businesses that have relocated here over the years. People come through our little port of Salt Lake City International Airport, which for the most part, whenever I’m traveling around the country, is a well-kept secret.
Not that we’re trying to keep it secret, right? The folks that travel here will tell you they enjoy it whether they have to be out here on business, education, or even recreation. They enjoy coming to the airport, and it has grown beyond just skiing and just beyond passing through for passengers as an actual destination.
Chuck Spence: (8:31) Well said. You’re absolutely right. You hit it right on the head. Utah is not so much a well-known secret anymore. I remember going to school back in the 80s, and people knew that we would educate our children here, and then have to go out to other states and cities for jobs.
I’m excited about this opportunity to talk about our symposium with you. What I’d like to do, Raymond is give the listeners of this podcast a sense of the agenda, what we’re trying to do with the symposium, and then turn some time afterward, over to you to talk about what you’re going to be talking about on October 15th as one of our presenters. So if that’s okay with you, I’ll go ahead and jump into some of the details here.
As I mentioned, the PTAC Symposium is an annual event. We hold it every year. Like everyone else, this year because of COVID-19, it’s going to have to be virtual, but I think next to physically being present, we have a dynamic, outstanding agenda. This year, it’s called our Procurement Opportunities Preview or POP.
Let me give you some of the logistics here. Oct. 15th is when it’s going to be held. It’s going to go from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., and we have 26 presenters, Raymond included, who are going to take 5 to 10 minutes each. They’re going to talk about real business opportunities within their organizations. That’s why I think that our PTAC clients and listeners to this podcast and others who might see our advertisements should participate. You don’t have to be a PTAC client. After the event, I will follow up with you to see if you’d like to learn more about our services.
But if you’re a business in Utah and you think that there are opportunities that your business could participate in and provide. In that case, we invite you to this, Procurement Opportunities Preview, or POP session with our symposium. Now, let me give you a sense of what the agenda is.
Like I mentioned, we go from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., and I do realize that you’re probably thinking to yourself, ‘Do I have to sit through six hours of presenters?’ No, you don’t, the speakers will run consecutively so that you can tune in and tune out according to what is of interest to you.
For example, if you are in construction and there is a speaker at 10:45 a.m., you can tune in right at 10:45, listen to him or her, and then if you want to come back at say, you know, 2:00 p.m. You’re welcome to do so. It’s designed to kind of come in and come out of what is important to you. At 9:00 a.m. on October 15th, we’re going to start with a plenary session.
There’s going to be some introductory remarks by Ryan Starks, who is my boss, and he’s the managing director for Business Services at GOED. I’ll say a few things. And then we jump right into Chris Hughes, who is the director of the state Division of Purchasing. Chris and his staff have been very busy the last several months with purchasing these personal protective products, and equipment for obvious reasons. He’s going to be talking about that. He’s going to be talking about the other forecasted opportunities at purchasing and how you can participate in that. Once he’s finished, we’re going to hear from Connor McClintock, and he is with FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency. As you well know, FEMA has been very, very busy, unfortunately, with all these natural disasters along the West Coast and California, Oregon and Washington. And of course, right here in Utah, where we’ve had hundreds, if not thousands of fires in the western U.S. If that isn’t unfortunate enough, we’ve also had all those hurricanes along the Gulf Coast. So, FEMA has been very busy, and no doubt they are interested in your products and services.
We’ll be talking about how to contract with them after Connor finishes up. We will hear from a representative from HUD, the Department of Housing and Urban Development. They’ll be followed up by James Dean, the Small Business director at Hill Air Force Base, who will talk about how to do business at Hill and opportunities at Hill in the near future.
We’ll then conclude the plenary session from hearing from Dr. Ric Daza, the managing director with RD Risk Advisors. They deal with information technology problems and cybersecurity challenges. And then we’ll have a Q&A, a little bit of a break, and then we’ll come back around 10:20 a.m. for our next section, which is construction and engineering.
And people will be able to hear from the 75th Civil Engineering Group at Hill Air Force Base, the Army Corps of Engineers, Utah Department of Transportation, General Services Administration, Then of course, our guest, Raymond Christy, will talk about opportunities at the Salt Lake City Airport Authority.
They have Hensel Phelps, a large prime defense contractor who specializes in construction for government agencies. And then we’ll conclude by hearing from Darrell Hunting, who was the assistant director of capital improvements with the Utah Department of Construction and Facilities Management, better known as DFCM.
Then we will take a break and have a Q&A, and then take a break. We’ll come back around about noontime and hear from our next section, which is the information technology and professional services. Our speakers and presenters for that section include the Idaho National Laboratory, Northrop Grumman, Boeing and Conrac Solutions. Conrac Solutions is a liaison that’s kind of between the airports and the car rental industry. Raymond, have you heard of Conrac Solutions? And do you deal with them at the Salt Lake City Airport?
Raymond Christy: (15:27) Yes. Conrac Solutions is in an unique niche around the country. What airports are finding is that by hiring Conrac Solutions to maintain their quick turnaround facilities for car rentals. These quick turnaround facilities where the car comes in after it’s been rented and vacuumed, washed, oil checked, air and tire pressure and changed the bulbs.
Now it’s available to be out to be rented, and that type of facility is becoming crucial to airports across the country. They also purchase goods and services to make that quick turnaround happen. That’s one of those fountains of contracting opportunities that folks need to basque in, and people like myself have that in their position. We are encouraging those third-party contracted services that this program exists as far as small businesses operate, providing goods and services through the disadvantaged business enterprise certification. We get to motivate them to find the firms they can do business with to help them meet their contract goals to the airport. It’s one of those good secrets to those folks attending this symposium would want to hear about.
Chuck Spence: (16:52) Excellent, and as Raymond stated, it sounds like they play a vital role at our own Salt Lake City Airport. So you’ll have an opportunity to hear from them. At that point, we’ll take a Q&A session followed by a break and then reconvene about 1:00 p.m., where we will hear from our next section, which is personal protective equipment or PPEs, as we know them by.
And we’ll hear from Justin Anthony, and he’s the director of business outreach for Sen. Mike Lee. He has been very involved in PPEs throughout the last five or six months. We’ll follow up with the veterans’ affairs hospital and who’s over the Colorado district. Including the veteran presence here in Utah Again, a Q&A session, a break.
Then we will conclude with our last section of government agency and with government agencies, we have a plethora of them for you starting at around 1:45 p.m. We’ll hear from Dugway Proving Ground, the 309th Maintenance Wing at Hill Air Force Base also at Hill will be the 748 Supply Chain Management Group, Nellis and Creech Air Force Base located in Nevada. The Defense Logistics Agency, the Bureau of Reclamation, and we will conclude with the National Park Service and then questions and answers. Then we’ll wrap up the day around 3:00 p.m.
Raymond Christy: (18:30) I have a question for you. With all of those, a lot of those military and government agencies, what kind of contracting opportunities are out there for small businesses?
Chuck Spence: (18:43) Great question. As you can imagine, we had Dugway come and do a virtual event for us in June. And they have with the other agencies, they have promised us that they will have what they call forecasted opportunities. These are literally on their radar screen to things that they know that they need to purchase in the next month or two and even as far out as a year to 18 months. These are real opportunities that they know that they will need. If they purchase these goods and services from companies here in Utah, they’ll be talking about those to our attendees. Great question. So with that in mind, as I mentioned earlier, you will be one of our presenters talking.
What about everything from the vendors at the airport? I want to turn some time over to you, Raymond, to talk about, what’s happening at the airport, the terminal, which just opened last week if you can kind of give us a little bit of a preview of what you’ll be discussing as a presenter on October 15th.
Raymond Christy: (19:55) Well, thank you, Chuck. One of the things that I always want to remind folks that are a part of my presentation is that the airport is an end-user. We utilize a lot of goods and services from consulting material, supplying to operating, whatever. But we use a lot of different goods and services to provide the operation report and quality passenger experience in the airport.
When they’re spending money on buying goods to take to wherever they’re going. If they’re on the way home or getting that bite to eat. It’s a hub. But it’s a destination as well. As a transfer point, we have to offer goods and services that are either local, regional or national because we’re trying to appeal to a larger base of a customer that’s passing through or come here as a destination, or a person that’s getting on for origin to go somewhere else. And then to come back because of that. It provides a lot of opportunities.
The airport has a convenience store gas station. We have our food and beverage, which are retail concessions programs inside the airport on the security side. We also have rental car concessions. And each of us has so many different opportunities. Here’s an example that I’ll be getting into at the presentation.
ATMs have to be provided with fiber optics to that ATMs that then have to be divided. Cell phone towers, the installation of a cell phone tower, and the maintenance of a cell phone tower have to be provided. There are various goods like Utah made products sold in the airport, on the stores for those locally sold items.
That’s another opportunity as well. When you come into the airport, the different restaurants that you’re stopping to get a bite to eat on the way out or coming back and you’re just tired. You can’t wait, you must eat something here.
Those opportunities all translated to someone providing whether it’s chemical, cooking supplies, security consulting, materials consulting on the type of materials, and all the types of things. Venues that we need to have this show many different opportunities out there. And between Salt Lake City purchasing the apartment in downtown Salt Lake, and the purchasing manager out here at the airport, as well as the engineering services the small businesses connect to finding out what those opportunities are.
Chuck Spence: (22:52) You said something that a lot of people didn’t even think about, that’s the supply chain. For everything that you do out there, there are many, many suppliers in the background that know about, but those are services and products that the airport needs.
Raymond Christy: (23:12) It’s a great opportunity for our economy and for the vendors that are supplying these goods and services come right from Utah because those are dollars that those vendors are now spending back into our local economies, our local cities, our local municipalities that help restructure. This help resurface our city, our counties, our places. I’m on a personal quest to find those businesses that are local, that can provide goods and services.
When the airport spends money with you or the prime concessionaires or the prime contractors to spend dollars with you, you’re spending it back in the counties, in the cities, in the state to help build our economy. And that’s why our economy does so well.
Chuck Spence: (24:01) Boy, you have whetted everyone’s appetite to listen to you come October 15th. So let’s give them a little bit of a leg up. How can they get in contact with you, Raymond?
Raymond Christy: (24:13) Well, about a week and a half ago, we have this brand spanking new airport, and I’m located on the third floor. So when you’re dropping someone off to depart, come to our offices located on the third floor, but my phone number is 801-575-2945. And my email address happens to be a part of my name, which is firstname.lastname@example.org. And yes, I am from the government, and I’m here to help you.
Chuck Spence: (25:08) Well, there you go. You have no excuse not to reach out to Raymond, so thank you for that. Now, as we conclude, let me give some information on where to find the event. I know I covered a great deal, and again, it goes from nine to three. If you want to find out that time slot a speaker that you’re interested in is simply go to our website, which is business.utah.gov/ptac/. Let me repeat that business.utah.gov/ptac. When you get to our website, scroll down to a page that says events, and there you’ll be able to click the link.
It brings up our agenda. And another link that brings up the registration link and the best part of all is that this symposium is free. There’s no cost for you to attend virtually. We’ll save that for next year or when you can come, and we’ll provide lunch for you. But until then, again, business.utah.gov is our agenda and the registration link. And it’s again, the symposium is on October 15th from nine to three. So we look forward to at least hearing from you and seeing you perhaps, at least virtually on October 15th. And we want to thank our special guests, Raymond Christy, from the Salt Lake City Airport, who has entertained and given us a lot of information today.
So thank you all. Thank you, Raymond. And we’ll see and hear from you on October 15th. Thank you.
Thanks for listening to the Business Elevated podcast, a production of the Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development. Listen to other episodes where you get your podcasts or at business.utah.gov.