For the past 15 years, the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority has ensured that local and small companies, including all women- and minority-owned and disabled-veteran businesses in San Diego County, have every opportunity to do business with the airport.
They have played key roles in capital projects including the Green Build Terminal 2 expansion – the largest improvement project in the airport’s history – and the consolidated Rental Car Center.
The Airport Authority awarded $415 million in Green Build contracts to local businesses (90 percent of the contracts) and $118 million to small businesses.
For the Rental Car Center, local businesses received more than $186.2 million in construction contracts, amounting to nearly 60 percent of the total project cost. Of the contracts that went to local businesses, $70.4 million – or 38 percent – went to small businesses. Also noteworthy is that $70.4 million represented nearly the entire amount ($73 million) that was available for small businesses.
Our small business strategy begins with this philosophy: “There’s room at the inn for everybody.”
Ever since the Airport Authority began operating the airport in 2003, the goal has been to create a level playing field that attracts businesses of all sizes; and that provides opportunities for workers of all genders and ethnicities.
That philosophy has grown into a firm commitment from the Board and a passionate belief by staff that everyone can benefit from being a part of the work we provide.
Across the country, airports look to San Diego International Airport as a model for engaging small and local businesses. The Airport Authority works closely with contractors to split projects into small packages, when possible, to allow small businesses the opportunity to bid on them.
The Airport Authority also holds small business outreach events on an ongoing basis to help local companies get involved in projects at the airport. As a result of this commitment, the Airport Authority has established a strong track record of inclusiveness.
Most recently, the Small Business Development program:
The Airport Authority is committed to the growth of the San Diego region. Small Business Development was established to ensure that Local, Small, Historically Underutilized, Service-Disabled Veteran and Emerging Businesses have every opportunity to do business with the Airport Authority. The San Diego County Regional Airport Authority is an avenue of support to San Diego County’s small business community, conducting outreach and providing business development services for contracting, professional services and procurement opportunities at San Diego International Airport. Small Business Development acts as a resource for all the departments within the San Diego International Airport to foster opportunities for small businesses.
Our Mission is to build relationships between the Airport and the small business community by providing valuable resources that exceed expectations and increase diversity.
Chicago native Sarah Imberman developed a passion for all things sweet at an early age. In 2004, her passion became her profession when she launched Sarah’s Pastries & Candies, making chocolates out of her mother’s kitchen.
Sarah opened her first retail store on Oak Street near Chicago’s Magnificent Mile in 2005 and soon expanded her offerings to include morning pastries, specialty and wedding cakes, cookies, chocolate gift baskets and other delectable pastries. She later moved her shop to a larger location nearby and opened a second store inside Macy’s on State Street in 2007.
Sarah showcases many of her bakery’s popular recipes in her cookbook Sweetness: Delicious Baked Treats for Every Occasion (Surrey Books) – the second edition was released in the summer of 2016. In 2011, she competed on Food Network Challenge and won the show’s $10,000 prize for her 3-feet tall moving dinosaur-shaped cake.
Sarah expanded her business beyond pastry and entered the airport food concession space in 2011, when she rebranded her company S. Levy Foods. Sarah’s passion for food thrives as she helps to bring “real food” that reflects the local market to airports. Sarah has since grown to operating restaurants in five airports – John F. Kennedy (JFK), San Diego, Sacramento, Phoenix Sky Harbor, and Chicago Midway airports – and is a proud joint-venture partner of SSP America. Sarah is thrilled to bring back her Sarah’s Candies brand through her partnership with Hudson Group at O’Hare International Airport - Terminal 2.
Sarah was featured in the Entrepreneurship section of the New York Times in March, 2017. Sarah’s Pastries & Candies was named one of the nation’s Top Ten Candy Stores by USA Today and was the only Chicago bakery to be featured in BRIDES magazine’s Most Beautiful Wedding Cakes issue. Sarah’s has also been featured on numerous television shows including ABC7’s Windy City Live and 190 North, WGN’s Lunch Break, NBC5’s News Today and CBS2’s Eye On Chicago, as well as in print publications such as Better Homes and Gardens, Elegant Bride, Complete Woman Magazine, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Magazine and Time Out Chicago, among others.
Sarah was honored with the YWCA Promise Award in 2007 and in 2010 she was nominated for a Jean Banchet Award for Celebrity Pastry Chef. She has trained at several of the country's top restaurants and bakeries, including Spago Beverly Hills, where she apprenticed under the James Beard award-winning pastry chef Sherry Yard, and Bittersweet Bakery in Chicago. Sarah is a graduate of Northwestern University and the French Pastry School of Chicago.
S Levy Foods is a certified ACDBE (Airport Concession Disadvantaged Business Enterprise).
Small Business Development offers a regular series of monthly workshops in the evenings from 6 – 8 p.m. Check the calendar to find a workshop that interests you.
Below are descriptions on some of the workshops offered throughout the year. Class sizes are small to allow for more personalized instruction, therefore pre-registration is a requirement.
Recognizing that the main barriers for small businesses have been a lack of access to bonding and financing, the airport's Bonding and Contract Financing Assistance Program assists small contractors in establishing first time bonding or increasing their current bonding capacity and financing for airport contract work.
Enrollment Information - The San Diego County Regional Airport Authority Bonding and Contract Financing Assistance Program is open to all experienced and licensed small businesses interested in participating.
To obtain more information, please contact the Bonding Office at (619) 400-2571 or send an appointment request.
The San Diego County Regional Airport Authority (Authority) has received Federal financial assistance from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), and as a condition of receiving this assistance, the Authority has established a:
Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Program Information and Goals
Airport Concession Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (ACDBE) Program Information and Goals