Harris County, TX— During his first year in office, Harris County Precinct 2 Commissioner, Adrian Garcia set a goal to create additional opportunities for minority, women, small and disadvantaged businesses (MWSDBEs). With that goal in mind, the Precinct 2 Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO) was established to create a competitive and diverse environment to promote the growth and success of historically underutilized businesses through meaningful participation in the county procurement process.
“When I came in to office, I wanted to strengthen the local economy of Precinct 2. One of the best ways, is to make sure ALL businesses get an opportunity to do work with the county. Being a MWSDBE is a strength, not a weakness, and when we empower local businesses to compete for county contracts, we create a better Precinct 2 for everyone,” said Commissioner Garcia.
In calendar year 2019, Precinct 2 dramatically increased MWSDBE participation. Over the total of more than $60 million paid out to all firms doing work in Precinct 2, more than $23 million of that business went to MWSDBE-certified firms (38.6%).
Commissioner Garcia has tasked the Precinct 2 Purchasing Department to develop aggressive internal vendor outreach efforts on all contract, including small purchases under $50,000. Those efforts include training sessions for businesses to learn how to get certified as MWSDBEs, social media outreach, to cold calling already certified MWSDBEs and other businesses located within Precinct 2.
“I don’t want our MWSDBE efforts to be ‘business-as-usual’ so I tasked my team to track payments to contractors, rather than just commitments. All too often, I’ve seen these commitments left unfulfilled, and I believe the true measure of success for a program like this is in the actual funds being paid to certified firms,” Commissioner Garcia said.
Precinct 2 personnel implemented the new vendor outreach efforts on March 1, 2019 for the start of Fiscal Year 2020. Thus far, these efforts have far exceeded all expectations.
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