HISD staff took to the airwaves on Wednesday during the district’s biweekly radio show on KCOH (1230 AM), encouraging women- and minority-owned businesses to be ready for subcontractor opportunities under the district’s 2012 bond program.
“We have already selected the Construction Manager at Risk (CMAR) that will be building some of these projects,” said Dan Bankhead, HISD’s general manager of Facilities Design. “They will be subcontracting plumbing, electricity and all the other trades that go into building a school of this magnitude. This is the time for small businesses to start thinking about growing their capacity for these projects.”
The 30-minute segment offered tips for M/WBEs on responding to contract proposals and improving their building capacity and also provided an update on the design and planning process for the schools being built under the district’s $1.89 billion bond program.
HISD will build and renovate 40 schools under the bond program. The district already has selected architects for 24 projects, and North and South Early College high schools have broken ground and are undergoing site work preparation. Construction work for other bond projects will increase in the third and fourth quarter of 2014. The district will also hold job fairs to promote trade work opportunities for these projects.
“How exciting would it be for the folks who live in these communities to be able to participate in these projects,” said Alexis Licata, general manager of HISD’s Office of Business Assistance, which offers networking opportunities and workshops to help prepare businesses for the procurement bidding process. “We don’t want them to fail. We want them to be successful.”
To date, the M/WBE participation rate in the 2012 bond program for professional services, including design, is about 51 percent. Those firms awarded contracts for CMAR have committed to contracting between 20 percent and 40 percent of their work with M/WBEs.
“HISD is not guaranteeing small and minority businesses work, but they’re giving them the opportunity to find work,” said KCOH on-air host Paris Eley. “Small and minority-owned businesses have to be proactive. They’re going to have to compete to have their skills at the table.”
For more information on the bond program, visit houstonisd.org/bond