It always amazes me as I travel around the world how different our cultures and life can be--and yet how much is still the same. As a small business that has worked in the transportation industry in Arizona, I found an amazing similarity when I met a woman from Afghanistan that builds roads. See Video.
My experience with the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) was primarily as the Communications Manager for the State Route 179 project. I also worked (an am working) on some smaller projects, such as the study on Interstate 17 north of Sedona and south of Flagstaff, and several projects for the City of Sedona. I am always a sub-contractor to the primary business that won the contract award.
There are great people/companies to sub for, such as Katherine Bush at URS in Phoenix and DMJM+Harris (now AECOMM) in Phoenix, there are some that are good and there are others that are terrible--which I am so tempted to name, but probably better not. The worst offender was a woman in Phoenix who used another colleague and myself to win the award, and then brought our services in-house (so she would get more of the $$$$). We wrote and designed the proposal.
But when I talk to a woman in Afghanistan about building roads--I expect to hear all kinds of problems -- about security, about funding, about working conditions, lack of supplies, etc. Yet what was her main complaint? About being a small business sub-contractor. She said the large firms get the $3-$5 million contracts and then contract with her to do the work at just a fraction of that price, keeping all of the profits. Well, its best left to hear in her words: See Video