American DBE Magazine Fall 2013. Subscribe to print issues at

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Page 21

The new Mississippi River Bridge connects Illinois to Missouri in St. Louis

ect required innovative thinking and the application of several DBE program best practices. These initiatives have resulted in a major success for small and large DBE firms finding opportunities on the project. To date, 117 DBE firms have worked on the project, earning revenues in excess of $114 million. The 117 DBE firms have been awarded 246 total contracts in areas that include engineering, construction, consulting, materials and supplies, and ancillary services. In addition, the MRB project has achieved minority workforce utilization of 23 percent on the project. DBE best practices on the project included initiatives such as extensive community and industry participation through roundtable meetings, breaking down bid packages to promote small business participation, implementing accelerated prompt payment provisions, and encouraging mentor/protégé partnerships between non-DBE and DBE firms. Community & Industry Participation

After design on the bridge began, MoDOT established a series of community roundtable meetings to discuss workforce use and DBE involvement on the MRB project. Initially, the project held five public roundtable meetings, where various issues were discussed. After those initial meetings, the

community, as well as the Illinois and Missouri Departments of Transportation, selected a 15-person Workforce/DBE Advisory Committee. This committee—and its subcommittees—continued to research and discuss these topics through the remaining design and construction of the bridge. In addition, the bridge contracting team held additional roundtables to discuss progress and possible concerns about workforce and DBE involvement issues. MoDOT External Civil Rights Director Lester Woods said, “A lot of the recommendations we used on the project in areas such as workforce participation, prompt payments and other initiatives came from having transportation stakeholders and the community-at-large involved in the project from the beginning. We strived to have all segments of the community at the table from the beginning of the project until the end to ensure total understanding, and to have them as a collaborative partner throughout the process.” In addition to buy-in from the community and minority business organizations, the MRB project established a strong working relationship with the contracting community through the Associated General Contractors (AGC) of St. Louis. AGC St. Louis President Len Toenjes served on the MRB Workforce/DBE Advisory Committee and affirms that American DBE


Fall 2013