Making Connections Matter

The City’s Race and Social Justice Initiative (RSJI) is a citywide effort to end institutionalized racism and race-based disparities in City government. In the month of February, SDOT will be sharing stories of some of the projects and programs we are working on to achieve racial equity in our community.

Mayor McGinn addressing the participants

As part of the City’s commitment to providing equal access to jobs and contracting opportunities, the Elliott Bay Seawall Project team hosted an information and networking luncheon on February 1 to provide information on the upcoming Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for final design and to help women and minority business enterprises (WMBEs), disadvantaged business enterprises (DBEs) and disabled veterans’ businesses connect with potential prime consultants. The City defines WMBEs as a “business that is at least 51 percent owned by women and/or minority (including, but not limited to, African Americans, Native Americans, Asians, and Hispanics) group members” (SMC 20.42.020). Teams of prime consultants and smaller firms are starting to form in anticipation of the RFQ. By forming these partnerships, WMBEs, DBEs and small businesses gain opportunities to potentially work on large public works projects where they may not traditionally be able to meet requirements, such as insurance thresholds.

Sign in table

The event was an overwhelming success. There were over 250 attendees, including representatives from eight potential prime consultants (AECOM, BergerABAM, CH2M HILL, Collins Engineers, HDR Engineering, KPFF Consulting Engineers, Parsons Corporation, and Reid Middleton) and many WMBEs, DBEs, and disabled veterans’ businesses, as well as other sub-consultants. Lunch was provided by In Style Catering, a WMBE business.

One of the strategies under the RSJI initiative over the next three years is partnering with other institutions and the community to achieve racial equity. The success of this luncheon was partly due to collaborating with other agencies, such as Washington State Office of Minority and Women Business Enterprises (OMWBE), Tabor 100, Minority Business Enterprise Center (MBEC), and Northwest Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC) to help spread the word about this networking opportunity. This is a great example of how SDOT is implementing strategies to achieve contracting equity in Seattle city government.

The RFQ for final design for the Seawall project is expected to be released in late February, with a goal of having a new design team under contract by early May.

To learn more about the project, visit the Elliott Bay Seawall website at: http://www.seattle.gov/transportation/seawall.htm.