Transportation Research Board
2014 Annual Meeting
Disadvantaged Business Enterprise
Committee
Identifying Successful Practices in the
FHWA DBE Program
National Cooperative Highway Research Project 20-95
Colette Holt & Associates
13 January 2014
Colette Holt
& Associates
Research Team
 Colette Holt & Associates (certified DBE & MWBE)
 Colette Holt, JD – Project Manager & Legal Counsel
 Nationally recognized expert, educator & author on D/S/M/WBE
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issues
Conducted court-approved disparity studies & designed courtapproved D/S/M/WBE programs for over 20 years
Expert for USDOJ in defense of the SBA 8(a) program
Expert for SDOTs & other agencies in defense of D/M/WBE
programs
Co-authored National Academy of Sciences Transportation
Research Board’s “Guidelines for Conducting a Disparity and
Availability Study for the Federal DBE Program”
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& Associates
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Research Team
 Colette Holt & Associates
 Robert Ashby, JD – Legal &Program Analysis,
Stakeholder Outreach & Community Education
 Deputy General Counsel for Regulations & Enforcement for the
USDOT; counseled the Department for over 37 years
 Responsible for all DOT DBE regulations; advising state, local
and federal officials concerning DBE certification, goal setting
and other DBE issues; and serving as liaison with the
Department of Justice on DBE matters
 Qualified expert witness; has offered testimony in federal courts
on issues related to the USDOT DBE Program
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& Associates
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Research Team
 Colette Holt & Associates
 Steven Pitts, Ph.D. – Economist & Statistician
 Nationally recognized expert, educator & author on market
issues regarding minorities for over 20 years
 Associate Chair of the University of California at Berkeley’s
Center for Labor Research & Education
 Extensive experience using large databases, including Census
Bureau files, to perform statistical analyses of labor &
employment issues
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& Associates
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Research Team
 Abaci Research & Consulting, LLC
 Kim Stewart, MS – Quantitative &qualitative data
collection
 Most experienced researcher in the country on identifying,
collecting & preparing data for statistical analysis specifically for
Disparity Studies & D/M/WBE program analysis
 Extensive experience identifying & collecting data from agencies,
prime contractors & subcontractors
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& Associates
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Research Objectives
 Identify Best Practices in the DBE Program to
Facilitate
 Broad participation of DBEs in SDOT contracts
 Successful “graduation” from the program
 Survivability outside the program
 Address RFP Questions Concerning Graduates
 What are the numbers & percentage of DBEs who have
graduated in the last 5-10 years?
 What were the industry distributions of graduates?
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& Associates
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Research Objectives, cont.
 How many have graduated for exceeding the PNW vs.
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the size cap?
How many graduates appealed decertification?
What are successful graduates’ key characteristics?
What has been firms’ experiences since graduation?
What are the most important supportive services & what
additional services would be helpful?s
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& Associates
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Research Objectives, cont.
 Address RFP Questions Concerning All DBEs
 What are the numbers & distribution of successful
awardees by industry; size; minorities versus white
females?
 What are impediments & disincentives to graduate?
 What are the characteristics & performance measures of
successful non-graduated DBEs?
 What supportive services are most important & what
additional services would be helpful?
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& Associates
8
Research Objectives, cont.
 Address RFP Questions Concerning Primes
 What are the most commonly subcontracted items?
 Are primes aware of the SDOT’s DBE goal?
 How many different DBEs are used?
 How are subs selected?
 What information, methods & incentives would encourage
them to use new subs?
 Does the use of DBEs vary by the prime’s size &
industry?
 What is the effect of graduation on the use of DBEs?
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& Associates
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RFP Recommendation Topics
 Best practices to expand the participation of DBEs
 Effective supportive services
 Effective management practices & approaches to
support program success
 DBE performance measures
 Effective data management practices to support
programs
 Further research to facilitate program
improvements
Colette Holt
& Associates
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Research Plan
 Survey SDOTs to Obtain:
 Information about all DBEs
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Distribution across industries
Information about gross receipts
Racial, ethnic & gender breakdown of DBEs
Likely DBE subcontracting industries
Average DBE’s length of time in the program
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& Associates
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Research Plan, cont.
 Information about graduated DBEs
 Number & percentage who have graduated
 Basis for graduation: gross receipts &/or PNW
 Number & rate of appeals
 Information about supportive services
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Types of services
Mentor-protégé programs
Participation rates
Effectiveness of approaches
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& Associates
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Research Plan, cont.
 Information about successful DBEs
 Graduated DBEs & still eligible firms
 Entrepreneurial success factors
 Industry networks
 Supportive services programs
 Bonding & capital access
 Access to prime contract opportunities
 Mentor-protégé programs
 Suggestions for enhancing DBE opportunities &
graduation rates
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& Associates
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Research Plan, cont.
 Survey DBEs to Obtain:
 Information about the firm
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Industry
Size
Location
Years in business
Racial, ethnic & gender ownership
Work as prime, sub or both
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& Associates
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Research Plan, cont.
 Information about graduation status
 Has it graduated
 NAICS codes
 Basis: gross receipts or PNW
 Appealed the decision
 Experiences since graduation
 If it still eligible, what factors impede graduation
 Experiences with supportive services
 Types of services
 Types of service providers
 Most & least helpful
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& Associates
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Research Plan, cont.
 Program suggestions
 Impediments to graduation
 Impediments to success
 Suggestions for SDOTs to:
 Increase opportunities
 Encourage primes to use DBEs, unfamiliar DBEs &
graduated firms
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& Associates
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Research Plan, cont.
 Survey Prime Contractors & Consultants to Obtain:
 Information about the firm
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Industry
Size
Location
Years in business
Racial, ethnic & gender ownership
Work as prime, sub or both
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& Associates
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Research Plan, cont.
 Utilization of subcontractors
 DBEs & non-DBEs
 Scopes of work
 Size of contracts
 Criteria for subcontractor selection
 Experiences with the DBE program
 Awareness of SDOT’s overall goal
 Utilization of graduated DBEs
 Solicitation factors for DBEs, unfamiliar DBEs & graduated
firms
 Market forces affecting DBEs, small firms & new market
entrants
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& Associates
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Research Plan, cont.
 Survey Supportive Services Consultants to Obtain:
 DBEs served
 Number/year
 Distribution by size, industry & years in business
 Number that have graduated during last 5 years
 Services offered
 Types
 Most utilized
 Most helpful
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& Associates
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Research Plan, cont.
 Gather Data from Disparity Studies
 Summarize DBE utilization by industries & race, ethnicity
& gender
 Review qualitative evidence
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Traits of successful DBEs
Effects of graduation
Barriers to graduation
Access to prime contracting opportunities
Barriers to using new or unfamiliar DBEs
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& Associates
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Research Plan, cont.
 Review DBE program best practices
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Management structures
Race-neutral measures
Data collection & monitoring systems
Program success measures
 Gather data from other sources
 TRB reports
 Literature on entrepreneurial success
 USDOT guidance, handbooks, etc.
 Industry presentations & reports
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& Associates
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Research Plan, cont.
 Produce Interim Report
 Interview DBEs
 Selected for industry, location, race, ethnicity & gender
 Questions similar to surveys
 Interview Prime Contractors
 Selected for industry & location
 Questions similar to surveys
 Interview SDOT Personnel
 Questions similar to surveys
 Draft Preliminary & Final Reports
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& Associates
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Anticipated Research Results
 Best Practices
 Expanding the industries & disadvantaged subgroups in
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the DBE program
Enhancing the factors supporting DBEs’ success
Program design, structure, resources & management
Effective Business Development services
Performance measures for DBE growth & success in the
program & external markets
 Suggestions for Additional Research & Program
Data Collection
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& Associates
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Implementation Plan
 Identify the Specific Audience
 Assess Potential Impediments to Successful
Adoption
 Identify Potential Leaders
 Determine Activities Necessary for Successful
Implementation
 Develop Criteria for Measuring Progress & Success
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& Associates
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Research Challenges
 Obtaining Data from SDOTs
 Who has “graduated” & on what basis?
 Who has accessed supportive services & what was the
outcome?
 How to determine primes’ use of “new” firms, “graduated”
DBEs & make comparisons with non-DBEs?
 Obtaining Data from DBEs
 How to identify firms no longer in the programs?
 How to create pools of firms across industries, locations,
size, age, etc.?
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& Associates
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Research Challenges
 Obtaining Data from Primes
 How to increase cooperation (“what’s in it for them?”)?
 How to gather data on primes’ use of “new” firms,
“graduated” DBEs & comparisons with non-DBE
subcontractors?
 How to create pools of firms across industries, locations,
size, age, etc.?
 Obtaining Data from Supportive Services Providers
 What have been the SDOT’s record keeping
requirements?
 What, if any, success rubrics have been applied?
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& Associates
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Colette Holt
3350 Brunell Drive
Oakland, CA 94602
773.255.6844
[email protected]
www.mwbelaw.com
Colette Holt
& Associates
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Colette Holt & Associates