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Enterprise Services receives National Association of Minority Contractors Public Agency of the Year award

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SEATTLE -- The Department of Enterprise Services received the National Association of Minority Contractors Public Agency of the Year award for its work in promoting small and diverse business participation in public works contracting.

Photo of NAMAC Award being presented to DES staff by NAMC Washington Chapter President.

Photo courtesy of NAMC
Right to left: James Faison, NAMC Washington Chapter President, Bill Frare, DES Assistant Director for Facility Professional Services, Erin Lopez, DES Business Diversity Initiatives Manager, and Charles Wilson, DES Public Works Business Diversity Program Manager.

NAMC Board Member Linda Lee Womack said: "DES Director Chris Liu and his team have been a strong advocate for diverse business inclusion and one of NAMC's more ardent supporters. Consistently over the past six years, DES has been reforming its procurement practices to be more efficient, effective and transparent. This had created significant and substantial benefits to the small, diverse business community."

NAMC cited the agency's:

  • Diverse business inclusion plans for public works projects worth $1 million or more and architectural and engineering contracts worth $350,000 or more.
  • A 24 percent participation rate for small and diverse businesses in job order contracting.
  • The agency's pilot micro- mini-business assistance program titled Washington-EDGE (Encouraging Diversity, Growth and Equity).

DES has the largest authorization for job order contracts at the highest dollar value in the state ($6 million/year). In addition, DES manages nearly 400 design and construction projects throughout the state worth more than $290 million each year.

"We are committed to continuing in this important work – it is a long-term investment in the future," Liu said. "It not only strengthens our Washington communities, it brings great benefits to the state by helping strengthening economic growth, driving innovation and fostering more competition."

Between 2015 and June 2019, DES also led the state's Business Diversity Subcabinet -- including overseeing a disparity study on behalf of the state that gives the state a better understanding of where to focus efforts. The study will be used to more fully operationalize the subcabinet's work, with the Office of Minority and Women's Business Enterprises at the helm. DES remains a strong participant in the subcabinet work.

NAMC Board Member Irene Reyes said: "DES genuinely cares about knowing& what is important to small and diverse businesses and is doing significant work to help overcome persistent barriers to state contracting opportunities. The agency shows its commitment by& involving these businesses as it updates its processes and policies, through its Business Diversity Advisory Group and other means. DES, under the leadership of Chris Liu, also is focused to improve diversity and inclusion in government contracts on a statewide basis. I'd like to commend them for their leadership with the Business Diversity Subcabinet."

More information

DES business diversity

National Association of Minority Contractors – Washington Chapter

Governor's Business Diversity Subcabinet

Disparity study

NAMC-WA Public Agency of the Year Award

This award is given to the public agency, which has demonstrated exemplary leadership and professionalism in diversity inclusion by:

  • Using innovative, effective strategies to recruit minority and women's business enterprises (MWBE) participation in the agency's work.
  • Achieving meaningful MWBE participation rates that exceed industry norms.
  • Using innovative, effective capacity-building programs to facilitate diversity inclusion.
  • Guarding against discrimination in its workplaces and holding people accountable for compliance.
  • Serving as an effective community advocate for inclusion in the construction industry.
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