During the first two years of the program, the Program Management Team hosted multiple large-scale events, designed to establish two-way communication, and provided the business community and stakeholders with project updates and information about associated contracting opportunities. Each event attracted an average of 200-250 attendees, and were structured to provide an introduction to DEN and program leadership, schedule and scope updates, education about the client and program contracting process/requirements, and a forum to network with other interested prime contractors and small firms.
The Prepare for Takeoff workshop series was designed to assist firms in gaining a better understanding of DEN and program business requirements, long perceived as a barrier to entry for small and diverse businesses. The theme played on the aviation theme of the overall HTC Program and alluded to common desires among M/WBEs that work on the program could launch their business to new heights. Workshops covered a wide range of topics, enabling participants to learn more about hard skills, like responding to RFPs, and soft skills, such as networking. Participants appreciated the inviting format and peer-to-peer networking, but most of all, access to information they could leverage as a competitive advantage.
Close coordination with the prime contractors working on the HTC Program was critically important, given these companies were ultimately subcontracting work to the M/WBE firms. CIG coordinated regular conversations with the HTC prime contractors, DEN leadership and the City of Denver to keep everyone aligned on the goals and requirements of the Program, coordinate and streamline outreach efforts, and address and solve issues as they arose.
CIG produced a weekly newsblast to a growing database of interested local and diverse firms, providing regular updates on project progress, opportunities and events. As of June 2015, the newsblast distribution list included more than 1,000 contacts. Denver’s Division of Small Business Opportunity elected to maintain the publication as an ongoing service to the community.
A first in the Denver-metro community, the Diversity Program team, coordinated by CIG, invited representatives from the business community to serve on the selection committees for each of the professional services and construction manager/general contractor procurements. These volunteers ensured that M/WBE participation on each proposal was weighted appropriately, bringing a new level of community involvement, transparency and legitimacy to the process.