The Point: Program will enlarge and diversify pool of eligible firms

RCTC has joined a growing list of public agencies that are lending their support for the BuildOUT California “100 in 100 Days” program, a statewide effort to encourage LGBT-owned and certified firms to take part in competitive contracting processes.

The program, which launched June 4, aims to identify, engage, and empower 100 LGBT construction contractors, architects, engineers, material suppliers, and related industry professionals in 100 days. No public funds are being used for this program.

BuildOUT California is working to connect LGBT firms and allies with key decision makers in the procurement process, to advocate for economic equality at the local, state, and national levels for LGBT businesses in the construction services industries, and to provide one-on-one technical assistance so that LGBT businesses and supporters can more effectively compete for contracting opportunities, both pre-award and post-award.

“The Riverside County Transportation Commission strongly supports the BuildOUT California initiative to expand contracting opportunities to LGBT-owned firms.  We stand committed to ensuring equity for the business community and are proud to be part of this outreach effort,” said RCTC Executive Director Anne Mayer.

There are more than 500 LGBT-certified firms listed in the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) Supplier Clearinghouse, a public-facing database of firms that meet CPUC certification criteria. LGBT-owned firms can also become California Small Business Enterprise certified through the state’s Department of General Services if they meet the approved criteria for that program. In addition, some LGBT-owned firms can become certified as Disadvantaged Business Enterprises if they meet the criteria set by the California Unified Certification Program administered by Caltrans.

“The support of RCTC in this effort is incredibly significant,” said Marcy Szarama, CEO of Destination Enterprises, a Los Angeles-based LGBT-owned/certified firm, which specializes in providing construction and project management services to public agencies statewide.  “RCTC is a key agency within the state’s transportation network, and they oversee hundreds of transportation projects that keep Riverside County and southern California moving. Thank you, Executive Director Mayer, for this heightened level of inclusion,” Szarama added.

BuildOUT California’s Co-Founder and President Paul Pendergast said, “At a time when our nation’s, and California’s, infrastructure needs immediate attention, it is important that the pool of firms participating in the competitive procurement process is as large as possible.  All elements of California’s diverse business community need to be actively engaged and LGBT businesses need to step up, step forward, and be a part of design and construction of these critical infrastructure development projects.”

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