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As a the owner of a sole practioner design firm that is certified as a WBE and ESB with the state of Oregon, I have found that the certification has provided no advantages in winning public project work. I have the experience to do the projects being advertised, after working for large firms for over 15 years. It is very difficult to compete against larger older firms with 30 years of project experience. These firms have established relationships with jurisdictions such as the City of Portland.
Another issue is that selection committees are not trained on how to score on the diversity sections of proposals that I have submitted in response to RFPs. I have reviewed the score sheets from selection processes and have been bemused to learn that my team (that also included other WBE/ESB certified firms) scored lower on diversity than large firms owned by white men.
What qualified MWESB firms need is not more training - they need to be awarded projects.
At this point, I rarely go after public work as the prime consultant - it is not worth the time and effort that goes into preparing RFP responses.
posted 3 years, 4 months ago
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