Supplier Diversity Targets are a Topic at HSD Board Meeting
Supplier diversity not only pertains to minority businesses but also women-owned business. Plus, Board members are sworn in and new leadership positions filled.
The target goals are the same, for operating funds to have at least:
- 15 percent of contracts be awarded to minority business enterprises (MBE)
- 5 percent be awarded to women-owned businesses (WBE)
For supplies procurement, HSD's goals include to have at least:
- 25 percent go to minority-owned businesses
- 5 percent to women-owned businesses
Although those goals remain the same, something that is evolving is the process for reaching out to potential MBE and WBE’s. Kevin Cross, HSD’s director of purchasing, said his department is now arranging what he termed “mini opportunity forums” with vendors in an effort to increase the amount of these business that express interest in the district.
"For the fiscal year 2011-2012, the district has spent approximately $20.4 million. $7.5 million of that was spent on professional services, and $12.9 was spent on supplies and equipment," he said.
Through the forums, Cross said the goal is to make potential MBE vendors aware of the district's standards and processes for bid proposals, which can help some of those that many not have experience with submitting proposals or may have improperly bid in the past.
Tom Mangongna, construction project manager for HSD, gave an update on software the district announced it would begin using a few months ago to track the amount of minorities and women that work on HSD construction projects.
"We are preparing for our workforce diversity program, and in all candor, I would expect to have some glitches in the new technology we have, but I'm very hopeful," Mangongna said. "(Prime Contractors) know our goal is achievable and they know we do expect it to be achieved."
Mangongna also spoke on the construction side of district spending, which includes Phase III Proposition H.
"The goal for the district for MBE (contract award) is 25 percent and we are currently at 37.4 percent, and for WBE our goal is 5 percent and we are currently at 2.5 percent," he said. "MBE dollars spent thus far on Phase III is $4.3 million and percent of contract paid to date is almost 70 percent.
"WBE dollars spent $202,000 and contract amount paid to date for WBE is 48.3 percent."
Board president Cheryl Latham asked about the low WBE figures to which Mangongna said improvement should be noted by the next update report.
"On the construction side we are doing very well on the MBE (award amounts)," he said. "On the WBE side we are lagging as we were before, but I must say we haven't done much construction since the last report."
"We are now entering the construction season, and we are seeing more WBE participation."
Mangongna said those contracts are of a higher dollar figure.
Cross also mentioned the district was invited to join a Construction Task Force, which focuses on workforce and business development initiatives targeting minorities and women. The Association for General Contractors along with the St Louis Minority Supplier Development Council and the St. Louis Council of Construction Consumers are sponsoring the task force which includes industry leaders, as well ad individuals of the public, private, political, community, education and labor sectors, Cross said.
"The task force was based on a study of the St. Louis construction industry," Cross said. "The study is a cumulative impact of workforce and business development for minority and women-owned businesses.
"The goal of this task force is to determine a priority of action areas, to articulate a desired industry outcome and to explore possible corrective actions that can be undertaken in the near long-term."
Cross said the first interaction was an initial meeting and an opportunity for dialogue and said there will be subsequent meetings in which HSD will take part.
Following swearing in the board held elections for positions with the following results:
- Cheryl Latham was re-elected president.
- Ann Gibbons was re-elected treasurer.
- Carlton Thornton was elected vice-president.
- Brenda Youngblood was elected secretary.