APRIL 9, 2020
More federal funding?

Not today. A Congressional vote failed that would have added $250B to the Payroll Protection Program. The Democrats want more funding for state, cities and hospitals. Talks continue.

As for funding for infrastructure. While there is expected for be funding for states to help address reduced gas tax revenue to keep current projects funded, a long term, multi-year recovery plan - such as re-authorization of FAST Act and Water funding - is not expected until May at the earliest. This kind of program is expected to require a 'pay-for' unlike the emergency programs that increased the debt.

New Payroll Protection Program FAQ released

The Treasury Department released Q&A guidance yesterday on the Paycheck Protection Act, and made further updates which were just released. Paycheck Protection Loans: Frequently Asked Questions

Main Street Lending Program
This program will enhance support for small and mid-sized businesses that were in good financial standing before the crisis by offering 4-year loans to companies employing up to 10,000 workers or with revenues of less than $2.5 billion. Principal and interest payments will be deferred for one year. Eligible banks may originate new Main Street loans or use Main Street loans to increase the size of existing loans to businesses. Banks will retain a 5 percent share, selling the remaining 95 percent to the Main Street facility, which will purchase up to $600 billion of loans. Firms seeking Main Street loans must commit to make reasonable efforts to maintain payroll and retain workers. Borrowers must also follow compensation, stock repurchase, and dividend restrictions that apply to direct loan programs under the CARES Act. Firms that have taken advantage of the PPP may also take out Main Street loan s.

To hear more about what's happening in Congress, tune in to today's ACEC Federal Affairs Update Podcast .
At the urging of ACECL, the Governor's office issued guidance clarifying the intent in Proclamation JBE 2020-41 extending COVID19 emergency provisions relative to Section 3E - Title 38 Public Bid Law provisions. This clarification was sent to the La. Municipal Association which in turn issued its own new guidance to its members. The importance of this effort was to ensure that state and local construction projects continue during the state of emergency. See below for the proclamation, the Administration's memo and the LMA guidance. This has been provided to all mayors.
Tips for Responding to Requests for Qualifications (RFQs) Webinar

The MOVEBR Small Business Outreach Team will host a webinar on

"How to Be A Good Teaming Partner" and "How to Respond to Requests for Qualifications (RFQs)."

This webinar seeks to provide interested businesses with best practices on responding to RFQs and how to develop a Statement of Qualification. The presentation will also include updates on recent City-Parish procurement changes.
The webinar will be held via Zoom and in order to participate you must pre-register .
When: Wednesday, April 15, 2020
Time: 10:30 am

ACECL members are urged to participate in this webinar!! We have been working with MOVEBR to create opportunities for increased small business participation.
A benefit of membership in ACECL is having access to a wide network of other engineering firms and their experiences and perspectives on a variety of business issues. As you all contemplate and begin applying for some of the new federal assistance, we would like to hear how it is going and any tips or suggestions you have for others. Below is a recent experience of an ACECL firm relative to their PPP application:

"We filed for the PPP loans through our local bank. Loan application was not too cumbersome. Similar to the SBA application that we filed a month or so ago. More detailed questions on the loan total and requested backup for payroll, revenue, taxes, etc. I asked my banker how it works and he said they have some internal approvals that have to be done first then they send to SBA and await approval. No one seems to have a timeline for approval or when money will be disbursed.

For the SBA loans, we applied for the economic injury ones and the “quick pay” $10,000 ones. Website says received and processing but it has said that for a few weeks now. I tried to call them Monday and was on hold for 45 minutes, then rang and went to someone’s VM and a beep, and then disconnected before I could leave a message."
ACEC is scheduling additional webinars including Small and Medium Firm Roundtables to be scheduled for next. To help firms navigate through the COVID19 response and recovery, ACEC is also developing a series of webinars that will extend through summer. These will be free webinars for members.

Zoom is a very popular video conferencing app, and in this new “work from home” normal that we are all experiencing, lots of us are using Zoom to have meetings. Be aware that there are some security concerns with Zoom, but if you change just a few settings, you can increase your security as much as allowed.

Most of these settings can be found at Zoom on the web ( ). Go to and log in using your Zoom account information (Note that meeting creators have to have a Zoom account; meeting participants do not.) The Zoom app has some of these settings, but not all. So go to Zoom online, log in, and you can access these settings! (Be aware that if you go to settings in the Zoom app, instead of online, you won’t see some of these features.)

Meeting Creators:
1.       Let Zoom generate a random meeting ID . When you launch or schedule a meeting, the options panel lets you generate a random ID for the meeting rather than using your personal one. Using a random ID is another way to avoid trolls, though if you've got an office team who always meet with the same ID, you might not consider the extra inconvenience worth it. By default, Zoom generates a random meeting ID. You can find the meeting ID by clicking on the i in the upper left corner of the screen.
2.       Make sure your meetings require a password . In Zoom on the web, click on Settings , Meeting , then Require a password when scheduling new meetings , then make sure the toggle is set to ON. Attendees will then have to use the password you send them before you allow them into the meeting. You can find the meeting password by clicking on the i in the upper left corner of the screen. As of April 5 th , Zoom has made this a default feature!
3.       Send your own email to attendees instead of using Zoom’s. Meeting creators, try this, which is a lot safer for your participants, because Zoom links could be suspect. When you create a meeting, don’t use Zoom’s email feature to send a meeting invite. Instead, jot down the meeting ID and the password (make sure to use a password!), and include it in an email from you with a personal note so they know it’s really from you!
4.     Enable the “Waiting Room” option. If the meeting creator enables this feature, participants are held in a virtual “waiting room” until the creator “admits” them. Just one more security feature to keep zoombombers out of your meeting! In Zoom on the web, click Settings , Meeting , then turn the toggle to ON for Waiting Room . Then once the meeting starts, click Manage Participants at the bottom of the screen, and you’ll see the participants in the virtual holding area on the right side of your screen. Hover over a waiting participant’s name, then click Admit . (The participant will see a message that says “Please wait, the meeting host will let you in soon.”) As of April 5 th , Zoom has made this a default feature!
5.     Disable Screen Sharing. Zoom has a feature that lets you share your screen with the meeting. This has caused hackers to start crashing Zoom meetings and causing disruption… a new thing called “zoombombing.” Better to be safe than sorry, and disable this feature! In Zoom on the web, click Settings , Meeting , then turn the toggle for Screen sharing to OFF. (You’ll then have to confirm this setting.)
Meeting Attendees:
1.       Be wary of links. When someone creates/hosts a Zoom meeting, they send you a link through email for you to connect to the meeting. But that can look just like fake links that are often sent in phishing emails designed to either steal your personal information or load bad software (Malware) on your computer. Try to get the meeting creator to send you the meeting ID and password in a regular (non-Zoom) email, so you’ll know it’s valid.
2.       Keep the meeting ID private. , Be sure to keep the meeting ID PRIVATE ! Don’t share it in email or on social media! This is especially important if your meeting creator uses the same meeting ID for every meeting.
3.       Zoom meetings can be recorded. Hosts can record audio and video from meetings, in full, so be very careful about what you say in a meeting, or make sure you trust the meeting creator. J
4.       Meeting Waiting Rooms. If your meeting creator enabled Waiting Rooms (see above), you will have to wait for them to “Admit” you into the meeting. You will see a message that says, “Please wait, the meeting host will let you in soon.” Be patient, you’ll be Zooming with them before you know it!