WPB is Putting People to Work with Small-Business, Minority- and Women-Owned Enterprises Programs
WEST PALM BEACH, FLA. (March 6, 2019) --
Look across the landscape of the City of West Palm Beach, and witness the numerous marks being made by business owners who are proudly taking care of their hometown. A growing number of small-business enterprises and minority- and women-owned companies are contributing to the growth, improvement and beautification of the City – from caring for trees and renovating landmarks to training employees and building fire stations.
The City’s Procurement Department wants more of this activity and has launched a new Minority- and Women-Owned Business Enterprise (M/WBE) Program. The new initiative is in addition to the Small Business Enterprise (SBE) Program, and the Living Wage and Local Workforce programs the City has in effect. The collective goal of these programs is to build a more diversified pool of vendors and to encourage greater equity among subcontractors and vendors’ workforces.
Contracting with More People from the Community
“The City wants to do more work with businesses and residents who live and play here and have a real stake in the future of West Palm Beach,” said Procurement Director Frank Hayden. “Our programs are deliberately designed to ensure that small-business owners, and minority-owned and women-owned businesses have a real opportunity to compete for City contracts. We want our contractors to reflect the demographics of our City.”
The Living Wage program states that city contractors must pay their on-site labor at least $14an hour, and the Local Workforce program states that a portion of contractors’ on-site labor must be city residents. These programs are promoted at quarterly outreach events, where City representatives share business-oriented opportunities with entrepreneurs from all industries. The next Procurement outreach event is April 18, 2019.
How Businesses Are Benefiting
Jackie and Veronica Cooper, the president and vice president/husband-wife team of Cooper Construction Management & Consulting (CCMC), were selected as the construction managers to renovate the iconic Sunset Lounge – a historical marker of African-American culture in South Florida. Veronica said her firm, which is SBE-certified, responded to the City’s Request for Qualifications, alongside subconsultant Hedrick Brothers, which is lending historical preservation expertise.
“We are extremely honored to be the construction management lead for the Sunset Lounge,” Jackie said. “This project is very significant to the community, and something we wanted to be a part of, now that we are in the City and a part of the City. It is a tremendous opportunity for others to see our capabilities and what kind of work we can do.”
D. Stephenson Construction is building the City’s new Fire Station 8. A $5.5 million, LEED project, the new station will contain three bays, house living and working quarters for two crews, and contain an exercise room, workshop, decontamination room and other facilities associated with fire stations.
Joseph Sanches, president of D. Stephenson, said one of the greatest advantages of working with the City is the ability to meet SBE-certified subcontractors through networking programs sponsored by the Procurement Department.
“We don’t want firms that are good at everything. We want firms that are good, established, and focused on providing high-quality, reliable services, goods and assistance in their areas of expertise,” Sanches said.
D. Stephenson has successful subcontracting relationships with Almazan Construction, which it awarded a contract in excess of $457,000, and Hatcher Construction, which performed the fire station’s concrete work – a $245,000 job.
Ready to Leave Your Mark?
To learn more about how to do work with the City of West Palm Beach, how to become SBE and/or M/WBE-certified, and how to bid on upcoming contracts, visit www.wpb.org/procurement or call 561-822-1273