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  • Writer's pictureMatthew Costabile

Delta Navigates ARDOT's New CMGC Program with Two Shortlists

Jonesboro, AR – In their first move into the Alternative Project Delivery (APD) arena, Delta Companies, Inc. (Delta), supported by the expertise of Mission Critical, earned successive shortlists in the Arkansas Department of Transportation's (ARDOT) pioneering CMGC On-Call program. 

Delta's success in navigating this multi-step procurement represents two important "firsts":

  • First CMGC submission for Delta and first shortlist in each phase of the procurement

  • The first project between Delta and Mission Critical

First announced in 2021, ARDOT's On-Call CMGC Program adopts a three-step procurement process, starting with a Statement of Qualifications (SOQ) to shortlist qualified firms, followed by project-specific Statements of Proposals (SOP) from these firms, and concluding with competitive team interviews to determine the final award. 

Although Delta has a strong portfolio of ARDOT experience, the company faced the new challenge of adapting this knowledge and success to meet ARDOT's goals under the On-Call CMGC program without prior Alternative Project Delivery experience. 

Step 1 - Laying the Groundwork with Qualifications 

In response to ARDOT's 2022 call for Qualifications, Mission Critical stepped in to help Delta bridge this gap, harnessing our expertise and successful history with similar programs across the US. Through strategic SOQ development workshops held at Delta's office in Paragould, AR, we crafted a response highlighting Delta's strengths: firm experience, key personnel, and a strong correlation between Delta's experience and CMGC delivery.

Our technical writing team translated Delta's experience into the CMGC framework, aligning Delta's approach to public works with ARDOT's CMGC program goals. This strategic alignment, coupled with Delta's strong record of collaboration and innovation, resulted in a successful ranking on the qualified shortlist, advancing the company to the next phase of the procurement process.

Step 2 - Focusing on Technical Approaches

In 2023, the spotlight shifted to the $20M Caraway Road – I-555 project in Jonesboro, a critical roadway rehabilitation that broadened the Highway 1 corridor from a 3-lane to a 4-lane facility. Mission Critical and Delta dove into the SOP phase, engaging in multiple workshops to develop a technical response encompassing sequencing, phasing, and the critical path for preconstruction and construction services. 

Mission Critical then worked with Delta to narrate a technical strategy that paired ARDOT's goals with Delta's proven experience in roadway rehabilitations with similar constraints. In response, ARDOT ranked Delta as one of two firms for final interviews—a testament to the effectiveness of Mission Critical's collaborative preparation and strategic insights.

Step 3 - Connecting with the Interview Panel

With three weeks between shortlisting and the interview, Mission Critical transitioned to focusing on interview preparation—working remotely and at Delta's Paragould office with individuals and the team. Using the Mission Critical Peak Preparation™ program, we led deep dives into Delta's project strategy. Our avoidance of written memorization in favor of identifying individual and group knowledge and our work to emphasize connection over "marketing presentations" ensured we prepared each team member to authentically discuss the project's vision with conviction and clarity.

Ultimately, ARDOT awarded the project to Delta's competitor, who possessed a significant portfolio of experience directly within the project's corridor and region. 

Why is this project a "win"?

Acknowledging wins and losses in civil APD highlights Mission Critical's transparency and real-world experience. Along with a hands-on, all-hour approach to our work as Proposal Consultants, we believe that only delivering the "pretty news" is a role best left to AEC Marketing Firms. To both Delta and the Mission Critical teams, this project represents a number of "wins":

  • In debriefing with the Agency, the team learned that Delta ranked within a 4% range of the selected firm. This margin and the comments received from ARDOT highlight Delta's strong position in providing technical solutions to manage the constraints and risks of the project.

  • The effort also marks two significant milestones: Delta's first CMGC submission and subsequent shortlisting at each phase, alongside the pioneering project partnership with Mission Critical.

  • The project signifies a strategic pivot towards embracing and excelling within the ARDOT on-call model, and this experience sets the stage for Delta's future pursuits and wins in the increasingly competitive Alternative Project Delivery market. 


Agency and Team Members

Arkansas Department of Transportation

Delta Asphalt of Arkansas, Inc.




We are Mission Critical  

Mission Critical partners with firms new to writing or developing Alternative Project Delivery pursuits and Top 400 firms focusing on their next big infrastructure project.


To discuss your Alternative Project Delivery pursuit goals with Mission Critical, please contact RoAnn Thorne, Principal. 

RoAnn Thorne, STP, ENV SP
(602) 833-8673

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