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LIFT receives $455G SBA grant for rails program

Long Island Forum for Technology executive director Bill

Long Island Forum for Technology executive director Bill Wahlig. Credit: Steven Sunshine, 2011

The Long Island Forum for Technology was awarded a grant from the Small Business Administration to continue developing the Long Island Rail Suppliers Alliances. The program, which is barely a year old, is being spearheaded by LIFT and designed to help local small businesses come together to compete for federal contracts on rail and transportation projects.

The grant award this year was $454,545. It is the second year LIFT has been awarded funding from the SBA for the LI Rail Suppliers Alliance -- the organization received $250,000 last year.

So far, LIFT has already taken steps to establish a foundation for the program by holding meetings, setting up two "teams" of small businesses to compete for contracts, implementing a training program, and building a website, executive director Bill Wahlig said in a news release.

There are currently 80 local suppliers and 16 partners in the rails program, and Wahlig said he expects the number of suppliers to increase to 250 as the program goes through its second year.

One of the events planned for the second year is a showcase that will allow small businesses and manufacturers to put their products before larger prime contractors and government officials, said Ken Bauer, chairman of the Long Island Rail Suppliers Alliance.

Photo: Bill Wahlig, executive director of the Long Island Forum for Technology.

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