This is a call to action on behalf of the Pine Bluff Construction and Trade Alliance (PBCTA) to all leading executives and project managers in Pine Bluff. We as a community of business leaders must immediately become intentional about using the local workforce on construction projects.

On April 20, 2017, 67 tradesmen and women, along with subcontractors from various companies in Pine Bluff and Jefferson County, met to discuss a plan that will create more access to large commercial projects.

The PBCTA has since developed working principles and facilitation mechanisms to overcome many hurdles of the past, exemplified by the approximately 115 percent local participation on the Dollarway football stadium project.

This equated to approximately $710,000 circulated into the local economy. In addition to hiring local subcontractors, this is a call to purchase materials from within Pine Bluff and Jefferson County.

The PBCTA was formed out of necessity. Far too many commercial subcontracts have been awarded to small enterprises outside of Pine Bluff and Jefferson County, primarily Little Rock. The local subcontractors have assembled to dispel the belief that quality construction work is not available in Pine Bluff.

It is a fact that our subcontractors have varying capacity limits. However, their increased capacity, business expansion, retention, and hiring of more employees depends on their ability to obtain consistent work. In addition to this call to action, we will be working with policymakers to ensure local subcontractors are given special consideration on public projects.

The mission of the PBCTA is to increase the number of certified subcontractors capable of successfully bidding larger construction contracts within the city of Pine Bluff and other public and private projects throughout the state of Arkansas.

Reputable subcontractors stimulate the circulation of public/private dollars amongst local business enterprises. The objective is to facilitate formal working relationships between major firms and participating contractors complimented with facilitation of administrative support and professional development per individual subcontractor. The alliance seeks to improve subcontractor's management, organization, and construction jobsite skills by instructing best practices that will spur their personal business growth.

There is no charge for membership and application information can be received by emailing info@goforwardpb.org.

As the Chief Executive Office of Go Forward Pine Bluff, Inc., my goal is to operate within the parameters of the plan citizens worked voted for on June 13, 2017. This is best accomplished by assembling strategic partnerships that ensure the desired outcomes of the planning committees.

Attempting to increase the tax base is the primary goal. We can all increase the tax base by using local contractors, subcontractors and suppliers. Go Forward Pine Bluff will then continue to implement the quality of life pillar recommendations that aim to improve dining, shopping, and entertainment experiences, thus the circulation of dollars.

Overall, an expanded tax base will result in the ability to increase the salaries of first responders and teachers, provide more responsive city services and create a philanthropic population that supports our growing number of nonprofit organizations. We as a community must have a steadfast mindset about finding our needs in Pine Bluff and Jefferson County.

Be One Pine Bluff! We are Stronger Together!

Ryan Watley, Ph.D.

CEO, Go Forward Pine Bluff