Quarterly Procurement meeting welcomes local business owners to work with City.
West Palm Beach, Fla.
– At the “Business at the Ball Park” Procurement meeting, held on Oct. 23, 2019 at FITTEAM Ballpark of The Palm Beaches, about 75 people came to hear from the City of West Palm Beach about upcoming opportunities and how to get involved with the SBE and MWBE programs.
Guests, which represented a large cross-section of county industries – from signage to banking – also received an informative overview on surety bonds from speaker Checree Bryant.
Frank Hayden, director of the City’s new Office of Equal Opportunity, walked the audience through the programs in place to encourage small-business and minority- and woman-owned business participation in city bids. He explained how Sheltered Market bids work – in which the City reserves a contract solicitation for enterprises that are certified as SBE, so they do not have to compete with larger entities.
Kevin Volbrecht, the City’s director of engineering, showed the audience where to find the upcoming engineering and Capital Improvement Plan projects on the City’s website. With this knowledge, they could track when new opportunities to bid on contracts would be approaching. A recent engineering RFQ (request for qualifications) garnered 79 bids, including more than 30 bids from SBE and MWBE firms, Hayden said. Volbrecht said those bids are currently under review and announcements will be made in the coming months.
From the Procurement Department, Patricia Armstrong explained the legal and licensing requirements that firms needed in order to bid on City contracts and also the steps for SBE and MWBE certification.
The last guest speaker, Bryant, presented “the Basics of Bonding,” or the ins and outs of surety bonds. Surety bonds are guarantees, required by some contracts of a certain size, that the company that wins the contracts will complete the work. If the work is not completed, surety bonds protect the City’s interests and the company owner’s assets. Bryant is the director of Surety for Innovative Bonding Services in West Palm Beach. (www.innovativebonds.com
The City of West Palm Beach Procurement Department holds quarterly business meetings to inform the business community of its projects, programs and processes. The events are also ways for local businesspeople to connect and share information. Prime contractors are often in attendance to meet new potential subcontractors, and other business owners collaborate with each other. Local MBE agency Crowned Marketing & Communications (CrownedMC.com) managed the event logistics and food.
To learn more about the next Procurement meeting, visit www.wpb.org/procurement.