Smart Stakeholder Engagement: Leveraging Relationships
Smart stakeholder engagement and relationship leveraging are key to retaining and bringing in new members as well as creating business opportunities for small businesses. Networking events are a win-win for all parties involved to include DBE’s, Primes as well as State Local & Governmental entities. The Kansas City chapter is privileged to have member organizations at all levels of the transportation industry: Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT), Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT), Mid-America Regional Council (MARC), Kansas City Area Transit Authority (KCATA), The City of Kansas City.
Our DBE’s included several strong engineering firms, consulting firms and a couple strong business consulting firms with ties to corporate construction companies who work with DOT’s as well as airports. In December 2016, MoDOT’s External Civil Rights Division selected two firms to provide Supportive Services to currently certified Disadvantaged Business Enterprises. For the Kansas City metro area, Bellewether an established consulting firm was awarded the MoDOT Supportive Services contract. Per the contract, Bellewether was responsible for hosting two networking events in conjunction with a community partner.
Since MoDOT, Bellewether and COMTO all have members of COMTO within them, it only made sense for COMTO to serve as the community partner to host a networking event leveraging all of COMTO’s core members DBE’s as well as Primes who work with them. If you would like to learn more about the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials, please visit this link. The COMTO core members were responsible for bringing at least 2 primes as well as utilize their vast communication network. The event was advertised on KC Source Link, Eventbrite, MARC’s “Transportation Matters” blog, COMTO KC’s LinkedIn and Facebook page, and the City of Kansas City advertised the event on their website as well.
DBE’s came to the event as well as MBE’s who wanted to work create a relationship with the COMTO core member businesses, establish themselves with the DOTs, and gain insight on upcoming projects/contract opportunities. Four different entities disclosed information on their upcoming projects, funding patterns with DBE/WBE/MBE’s last year, and their WBE/MBE/DBE goals. They also disclosed where firms could go to get more information on upcoming projects. If they did not meet their DBE goals, the organization would disclose what they plan on doing in the future to meet and even exceed their goals. The following people made presentations representing their agencies:
- (MoDOT) Prenness Taylor–External Civil Rights Specialist and Brian Kidwell–District Engineer for Kansas City
- (KCATA) Denise Adams–Senior Manager of Procurement and Anita Cobbins–Senior Manager of Community Relations & Outreach
- (KCMO) Akalya Jones–DBE Coordinator and Darrell Everette–Procurement Manager
- (MARC) Beth Dawson–Senior Land Use Planner and Whitney Morgan–Transportation Planner II
Guests who attended the event and left their businesses cards received the PowerPoint with all the various contract opportunities and contact information. Over 150+ primes, DBEs/WBEs, and other firms signed up for this unique opportunity and networking event. This was just the beginning and we look forward to planning the next networking event in the near future. On behalf of MoDOT, Bellewether, and COMTO, we would like to thank all the guests for attending the monumental event and our sponsors for believing in the vision.