WASHINGTON - Christina Schneider, CFO of Watertown, N.Y.-based Purcell Construction Corp., testified at a March 30 U.S. House hearing on changes to the Small Business Act.

Schneider, a member of the Associated General Contractors of America, testified before the Committee on Small Business, Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform and Oversight. She discussed the importance of changes to the HUB Zone program, which stands for historically underutilized business zone. The program aims to stimulate economic development and create jobs by providing federal contracting preferences to small businesses.

The contractor also discussed the impact of contract "bundling," a process by which small contracts are being put together, which results in large-dollar solicitations that small businesses are not able to compete for unless they partner with larger firms.

"Contract bundling, combined with pressure on agencies to meet their small-business utilization goals, is leaving firms like mine with no opportunity to grow our businesses beyond the ‘graduate' level," said Schneider.

AGC officials offered suggestions to improve the effectiveness of the HUB Zone program and called on Congress to examine the impact of contract bundling on the construction industry.