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News release from Conservation Connects

Sheila Hess, owner of the Alexander-based environmental resource firm Conservation Connects, addressed over 1,800 Minority- and Women-Owned Business Enterprise (MWBE) owners on the first day of the New York State’s MWBE Forum. The forum, an annual event, was held on October 3rd and 4th at the Empire State Plaza Convention Center. Hess was one of four MWBE owners selected to participate in the discussion and to share her thoughts on the “secrets to successful business growth in public sector procurement.” She was also presented with a “Success Story” certificate of recognition.

PHOTO: Sheila Hess from Alexander accepts "Success Story" certificate from Minority-Women-Owned Business Enterprise

This year’s forum was another well-attended event for MWBE firms and contractors. Governor Cuomo touted that over 20 percent utilization of MWBEs in state contracting was achieved for the first time in program history. According to the Governor’s press release, over $1.4 billion in contracts from 97 public agencies and authorities were awarded to MWBE firms in the FY 2012-2013.

“I attended last year’s MWBE forum to network with other successful business owners and to gain insight on new market opportunities,” said Hess. “I was pleased to be nominated and recognized as an MWBE success story and I hope that my experience will inspire other business owners to make the most of MWBE resources and map their own personal success stories.”

Hess, whose consulting practice is considered a leading MWBE company, spoke about growing her public sector portfolio and firm in a challenging business climate. Two years after opening the doors of Conservation Connects, Hess was encouraged by the Development Authority of the North Country, a public authority, to pursue MWBE status. Her public sector business has been growing ever since. In the last two years, her business has grown by over 65% and she continues to embrace the growth.

Hess plans to expand her business and offer consulting services to other New York State agencies and public authorities to promote environmental conservation, sustainability, and compliance in the development of infrastructure projects.

Conservation Connects is engaged in many projects here in western New York and beyond including habitat assessment in the Niagara River Watershed; development of the Green Genesee Road Map (sustainability planning); environmental review and permitting at the Buffalo East Technology Park and the WNY STAMP (Science, Technology and Advanced Manufacturing Park, both in Genesee County; streambank remediation in Livingston County; environmental review and natural resources planning in Jefferson County; and Great Lakes coastal marsh mitigation in Monroe County, Michigan.

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