Mea Culpa ~ Merry Holidays & Glad Tidings!

The plan has always been to make at least two posts a month, but time has raced away with all of our good intentions and 2011 is just days away from its final expiration. It wasn’t wasted time that disappeared into this black hole, because many of our state customers have begun adding significant MWBE participation requirements in their requests for proposals. As a WBE with several MBE, WBE and MWBE teaming partners, we’re thrilled to have spent the last six weeks estimating and writing responses for 2012 opportunities.

In 2010, a MWBE participation study announced that “minority- and women-owned businesses in New York are discriminated against in the private sector and in the state’s contracting process” and its “economic development officials intend to use the study … to force better compliance with the state’s MWBE contracting requirements”.  Given recent RFP requirements in our industry segment,  we’ve seen New York making very public efforts toward including certified MWBEs in major procurements. Of our last three New York proposals, MWBE participation requirements were:

  • 19.6% MBE and 17.44% WBE;
  • 11% MBE and 9% WBE; and
  • 15% MBE and 5% WBE.

The first one, wow!  That is some very serious commitment.  Two of these three agencies held mandatory pre-bid meetings which required prime bidders to attend MWBE meet and greet sessions.  We heard one procurement professional urge us (primes and subs alike) to make sure we connected with at least two new potential teaming partners.  Given this small sample, we believe the next New York MWBE participation survey will show radically different results.

There has been good news in many regions:

  • Wake County, NC public schools saw MWBE participation on school construction projects jump 10 percent over a two year period to a 39% record.
  • Kansas City, MO reported that between 2003 and 2009, “… the City’s spend with minority firms increased by more than 132%”.
  • In Indianapolis, The Indiana Stadium and Convention Building Authority reported exceeding its MWBE program goals. MWBE participation was 19.3% for the Lucas Oil Stadium project and 30% for the Convention Center Expansion project.
  • Pima County reported significant increases in MWBE utilization between 2000 and 2006.
  • In 2008, Massachusetts reported a 20% increase in MWBE spending over 2007, when it had already achieved a 55% increase over 2006.

While the MWBE community often decries the lack of opporunities, it is important to note that progress is being made in many areas and take advantage of these programs in 2012. Happy holidays!