Software Helps Asheville Regional Track Project Funding and Payments

Author: 
Jodi Richards
Published in: 
May-June
2008

Managing the many components of capital projects is a task airports work through daily. Asheville Regional Airport (AVL) in North Carolina is using a new software application to streamline and simplify the tracking of one key aspect — funding.

 

For about a year, AVL has been using Capital-Vision™, a web-based product from The Solution Design Group (SDG) designed to track funding sources and fund disbursement for capital projects. And in Asheville, there’s plenty to track: A $7 million terminal renovation, an $8 million rental car facility project, a $1.5 million security project and a $3 million general aviation site development project.

Asheville Regional Airport

Asheville Regional Airport

Previously the airport tracked its capital projects through spreadsheets, which became cumbersome and often required double entry, says airport director David Edwards Jr., A.A.E. The CapitalVision program allows the airport to track funding sources, disadvantaged business enterprise participation and payment/invoicing information, he says.

Tom Strange, president and CEO of SDG, explains that CapitalVision is designed to:

  • Illustrate the relationships between funding sources, projects and related contracts

  • Provide an executive view of the overall airport capital program

  • Provide monthly and quarterly reports needed to satisfy airport management and fund providers

  • Provide current project information related to budgets, estimates, change orders and fund availability SDG’s information technology (IT) consulting led to the development of the software.

Tom Strange
Tom Strange

Through its consulting work, Strange noticed that many airports struggle with the financial aspects of capital programs. “Not how they manage construction, but how they manage the relationships between the projects within the capital improvement program, the contracts from the contractors who are doing work on those projects [and] matching up the funding to all of those different elements,” he explains.

For example, offers Strange, an airport might have a runway paving project financed with different fund sources, including Airport Improvement Program (AIP), bonds and operating cash. Being able to tie specific aspects of a project to the exact funding source is a valuable tool, he says.

David Edwards Jr.
David Edwards Jr.

Asheville was one of two partner airports that worked with SDG on the development and the implementation of the software; the other was Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport. Strange’s team involved the airports to ensure it was listening to and meeting the requirements of users.

“We saw an exciting opportunity to develop some needed software,” Edwards says of AVL’s involvement.

According to Edwards, he and his team provided input about the development of the data to be stored, the layout of the screens, the reporting functions and other aspects of the software. He says things are still being “tweaked” as the airport uses the product, but he already sees its benefits.

“It’s been a good relationship, and it has created a much more efficient way of tracking our projects, project funding, invoicing and payments,” Edwards says. “It’s all in one location, easily accessible by project, by contractor, by subcontractor, etc.”

One of the biggest benefits of using CapitalVision at Asheville, says Edwards, is the reporting features. The system can create the reports (in PDF, Microsoft Excel or HTML format) required for filing with the Federal Aviation Administration and the state of North Carolina, if the project has state funding associated with it. “It’s really streamlined the entire process for us,” he adds. “It’s much more efficient for our development manager to have all the information related to projects in one place.”

The finance department, says Edwards, is able to note what has already been paid and set reminders for upcoming payments that are critical to cash flow. “It’s really benefited the finance department,” he says, “in having better information about a project at a glance instead of having to cull through other accounting reports in our financial system which are more general ledger in nature and more accounting-based, rather than project management-based.”

In the future, Edwards would like to have the software tied to the airport’s financial system — to eliminate one more step.

CapitalVision is available in two different formats: Airports can purchase a subscription to the system or they can purchase an enterprise license to the software. In the first instance, SDG provides all the hardware and operating systems software. The airport only needs a computer with an Internet browser. Subscription prices range from $14,000 to $60,000 per year and are based on the number of users with access to the system. SDG handles software administration, backup, restoration, telephone support, maintenance and upgrades.

Facts and Figures

Project: Software to track funding and payments of capital improvement projects

Developed by: The Solution Design Group

Beta Site: Asheville (NC) Regional Airport

Cost: $14,000 - $60,000 for annual subscription or $100,000 annually for enterprise licensing
.

With an enterprise license, airports provide the hardware and SDG provides support, maintenance and upgrades to the web-based software for about $100,000 annually.

At Asheville, the development manager is responsible for entering information and maintaining the data in the system on a day-to-day basis, says Edwards. Additionally, Edwards and AVL’s finance department have access to the system; operations and public safety departments also have limited access.

Subcategory: 
IT/Communications

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