FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) --The California High-Speed Rail Authority intends to contract with small businesses, or minority-owned businesses, for a third of the work on its massive project.
The owner of Outback Materials didn't think his company would be part of the mix when it came to the High-Speed Rail project. But now, the foothill-based company is set for a major expansion into Fresno-- so it is also hiring.
Cement work around the Tuolumne Street Bridge in downtown Fresno has begun. For outback materials, the High-Speed Rail project has allowed the company to expand. This new plant along Highway 99 will be able to produce 32 loads of concrete an hour. Owner Curtis Lovett said his company was among seven which bid for the first stretch of the High-Speed Rail project. "I didn't think my chances were that great honestly because I was competing with the global elite. Multi-billion dollar foreign-owned companies and I didn't think a small business like myself would have much of a chance."
Now sand, gravel, and cement mix are being loaded into tanks to get production started.
Outback Materials set its foundation in the foothills with five smaller plants. "We'll do small bridges. We do work in Yosemite National Park and up in Sierra National Forest. We do mainly residential work and homeowner backyards," said Lovett.
But now the company is pouring cement to fill in bridge columns in Madera and working on replacing the Tuolumne Street Bridge.
Lovett is thrilled to be working with High-Speed Rail contractors Tutor Perini, Zachry, Parsons. "Feel very fortunate to work with a company that values small business and entrepreneurs and gives us the opportunity to compete with these people, because we know we can."
Lovett also looks forward to working with small contractors and preparing early deliveries for Fresno homeowners.
With the new plant, Outback Materials still needs to fill 18 more positions ranging from quality control engineer to office assistants and drivers.