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Small & Disadvantaged
Business Depot
July 2021

Letter from the Chief Procurement Officer

Words cannot express the feelings of shock, loss, and grief our VTA family and the Bay Area continue to face over the unnecessary loss of life at our Guadalupe Train Yard on May 26. We mourn the loss of following:
While other organizations across the country sadly continue to face similar tragedies, VTA has the responsibility to deliver critical services, particularly to the transit-dependent and disabled communities. Despite the recent trauma and sadness, and after remaining on the job during a 15-month pandemic and a crippling attack on our technology systems, VTA employees continue to show up each day to meet the needs of the community.
Please join me in thanking these heroes and please keep the families of those we have lost in your prayers.

Despite these challenges, it has been an extremely busy quarter and anticipation is building about the
future within VTA, and opportunities for the local diverse community to participate in our programs. On May 21st, VTA’s Board of Directors formally announced the appointment of Carolyn M. Gonot as our new General Manager and CEO. Ms. Gonot will take the reins of the organization on July 12, 2021, from Interim GM/CEO Evelynn Tran, who has done an outstanding job leading the organization since January and successfully guided us through unprecedented challenges.
Our BART Phase II Extension Program continues to stay on track and the formal RFP for the Tunnels and Trackwork will be issued later this month. The shortlist of teams for the Rail Systems RFP has also been announced and details can be found inside this issue.
It is critical that you contact each short-listed team and provide them your qualifications to be included in their proposal. Additional details on how you can participate are in the BART Phase II Update contained in this newsletter.
Take the time to hold your loved ones close and tell them how much you love them every day. Be safe!

John Wesley White
Chief Procurement Officer

Carolyn Gonot Appointed as New VTA General Manager & CEO

Carolyn Gonot
General Manager/CEO
The Board of Directors of Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) officially appointed Carolyn Gonot as VTA’s next General Manager and CEO at the June 3 Board meeting.
Before Gonot became the first woman to serve as Executive Director at Utah Transit Authority in August 2019, she fostered an impressive career with VTA spanning over two decades. She will begin her new role at VTA on July 12, 2021.

Prior to heading to Utah, Gonot served in multiple leadership roles over her 23-year year tenure with
VTA, including Chief Engineering and Program Delivery Officer, Chief BART Program Officer, Chief Development Officer, and Deputy Director, Congestion Management Program.
Her education includes a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Notre Dame and a Master of Civil Engineering from Penn State University. A longtime supporter of the Women’s Transportation Seminar (WTS) San Francisco Chapter, Carolyn received the Woman of the Year Award in 2013 among other awards and recognitions.
As General Manager and CEO of VTA, Gonot will be responsible for 2100 employees, delivering projects, programs, and transit services (bus, light rail, and paratransit) for more than 2 million people who live or work in Santa Clara County.
The GM/CEO position was temporarily filled by VTA General Counsel Evelynn Tran after Nuria Fernandez left in January to join the Biden Administration as Acting Administrator of the Federal Transit Administration.

Bay Area Diversity Business Forum

The Bay Area Diversity Business Forum will be a new monthly event designed to meet the needs of diversity communities, large public agencies, and major corporations. Too many large firms complain that they “can’t find qualified diverse firms,” so let us band together and show them that we are here -- qualified, and capable of meeting their needs.
Each month, one or two large companies or agencies will present project opportunities and bring decision-makers to share immediate career, training, and procurement information for your consideration. Opportunities presented will not only be local, but also regional and national for firms with the current capacity to operate on a larger scale.
Eventually, this event will move to an in-person forum to support expanded networking and discussion of business opportunities. Live meetings will rotate each month between San Jose, San Francisco and Oakland locations. This type of event has successfully operated for years in other major cities like Atlanta, Dallas, and Houston with hundreds of attendees each month. With your support, we can make this work in the Bay Area as well.
The time is at hand to take control of our future and work together to grow a permanent capacity for diverse firms in the Bay Area that can be passed on to future generations. Our virtual inaugural meeting will be Tuesday, August 10th, 12 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. Visit the website here and register your firm here.
For more information on becoming a sponsor, please submit your inquiry to John Wesley White.

BART Phase II – Update

As a reminder, VTA’s four BSVII contract packages are as follows:
On May 11th, VTA announced that three firms were shortlisted for the BART Phase II Tunnel and Trackwork Contract. This $2B+ contract will provide numerous opportunities for local heavy equipment, trucking, concrete, and electrical subcontractors to participate.
Please submit your qualifications immediately to the following firms for consideration to be on their team:
BART Silicon Valley Phase II Tunnel Partners
Sergio Sabogal, Procurement Manager
Tel: (416) 885-2320
Bay Valley Connect
Steven Liu, Lead Estimator
Tel: (406) 586-1995
Kiewit Shea Traylor Joint Venture
Raja Ponniah, Procurement Manager
Tel: (707) 439-7300

VTA is also pleased to announce the shortlist of teams for the CPI Systems RFP. If you have experience in rail systems or computer networking and cable installation, please contact the following firms to be considered as part of the team.
Felicia Bell, Small Business Advocate
Mass Electricity Construction Company
Sidney Tew, Purchasing Manager
913-689-1942 (O)
910-231-4418 (C)
On May 14th, the Federal Transit Administration formally acknowledged VTA’s submission of a complete Expedited Project Delivery Pilot Program application for BART Phase II. This kicked off a formal 120-day review period for the application which, when approved, will allow VTA to secure the remaining funding required for the Program.
RFIF responses for CP3 were received on May 7, 2021, and 1:1 discretionary meetings were conducted for select respondents. An RFP is planned to be issued on August 23rd.
The proposed CP5 RFP for construction management will be presented for consideration by the VTA Board of Directors in September. Upon approval, the tentative notice to proceed will be April 2022.

New 10-Week Construction Project Management Course

Everyone recognizes the challenges faced by small construction contractors attempting to build their business as well as the challenges of tradespersons attempting to start their business. But few programs address those challenges with real-world solutions.
Silicon Valley Transit Consultants (SVTC), VTA, and Minority Business Consortium (MBC) discussed the possibility of expanding our current Mentor Protégé program to provide intensive hands-on technical assistance to contractors and tradespersons and prepare them to pursue the resources necessary to build their business and create a pipeline into the BART Phase II program for the next 5-7 years.
We engaged Turner Construction Group who has 50 years of combined construction and business management experience to bring their Construction Resource Center (CRC) program to the South Bay. This program aids contractors and tradespersons with standard operating procedures and best business practices associated with the construction trade, resulting in an efficient business structure and higher profit margin.

The CRC will present a 10-Week Project Management online course focusing on the major components of a project from start to close. The program is scheduled for every Tuesday evening, 6 to 9 p.m., beginning September 14, 2021, and going through November 16, 2021.
Multiple industry experts will facilitate classes on the following topics.
  •  Risk Assessment/Management
  •  Creating an Effective Estimate
  •  Creating a Comprehensive Safety Program
  •  Defining Pre-construction Processes
  •  Trade Software
  •  Creating & Managing a Budget
  •  Effective Communication
  •  Art of Networking
  •  Project Close-Out
The curriculum is interactive, and assignments include video tutorials with assessments as well as readings that promote effective project management skills.
Participants will have access to the online resources via the CRC website providing you with trade forms to customize, construction guide chapters to download, eLearning modules, and access to employment and bid opportunities.
VTA and SVTC Mentor Protégé Program will be working with local chambers and business associations to find candidates for this program. Fees are waived for a diverse group of 20 local, small businesses through VTA’s Mentor Protégé Program (for one attendee per firm). Please email MBC for more information. Additional attendees can be added with costs covered by each firm. And as an added benefit, future BART Phase II subcontractors who go through this course will be given priority when applying for VTA’s Mentor Protégé Program.
If you wish to sign up for this course outside of VTA’s Mentor Protégé Program, the fees are $345 per participant. Please register here.

New PLA Supports Diversity & Inclusion on Major VTA Construction Projects

On June 18, 2021, the Santa Clara Valley Transportation  Authority (VTA) passed a land-mark Project Labor Agreement. VTA, working with Santa Clara-San Benito Counties Building and 
and Trades Council, Minority Business Consortium (MBC), and Silicon Valley civil rights organizations, notably NAACP, La Raza Round-table de California, and Asian Law Alliance, established union guide-lines for the use of workers within local diverse communities by the Union, as well as Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) firms as subcontractors.

This agreement goes beyond the standard language for, “local hire, prevailing wages, training opportunities to minorities and women,” modeling. “Unions should take all steps necessary to ensure their hiring halls dispatch workers to contractors in a manner that facilitates compliance with affirmative action requirements on federally funded projects.

“Reginald Swilley (MBC) under-scored the importance of the groundbreaking nature of this PLA, “We not only want local hire, we also want diverse local inclusion into the full contracting processes of BART Phase II.” This goal is reflected in the following: 

PROJECT LABOR AGREEMENT 39 ARTICLE 23 FEDERAL REGULATIONS 23.1 (excerpt) “... the requirement for full and open competition for all procurements, and the prohibition on exclusionary or discriminatory specifications in procurement.”

According to John Wesley White, Chief Procurement Officer at VTA, this landmark agreement is opening doors to unprecedented contracting opportunities otherwise historically unavailable to many underutilized businesses. White said, “Together we will  work diligently to make inclusion  a reality for the life of the project.”

Silicon Valley Leadership Group

On June 15, Angelica Cortez and the Racial Justice and Equity (RJE) Committee of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group (SVLG) hosted a Town
Hall on Inclusive Procurement and Diverse Supply Chains. This is the first in a series of round tables to discuss what drives the development of diversity and racial equality in contracting. The program featured private and public heads of procurement, small business founders and executives, and community leaders.
Featuring SVLG member companies and partners, the panels provided key insights into various programs initiatives and strategies that private and public sector organizations are leading to engage small and diverse businesses in Silicon Valley, the region, and state.
The program kicked with Charlotta Carter, founder and CEO of GRI Technical Solutions and Reginald Swilley, co-founder/ owner of Minority Business Consortium providing an overview of the issues driving the need to advance inclusion procurement. Other panels addressed supplier diversity strategies in public agencies and the private sector.
From the public sector, John Wesley White, Chief Procurement Officer at VTA identified 11 new diversity initiatives VTA has put in place to support small diverse businesses. He was joined by Danetta Jackson, California Department of General Services and Chris Hickey, City of San Jose. The private sector panel included Michael Robinson, IBM, Stephanie Green, CPUC and Pradip Khameni, Blue Shield of California.
Look for the next roundtable in the fall.

VTA’s Mentor-Protégé Program

VTA’s Mentor-Protégé Program, managed by Silicon Valley Transit Consultants (SVTC) and supported by Minority Business Consortium (MBC), is off and running.
The current BART joint ventures (WSP, HNTB, PGH Wong, and Mott McDonald) chose eight DBE protégés representing firms that reflect diversity in size, ownership, and services. All are small DBE certified companies, owned and operated by: African Americans, Latinos, Caucasians, LGBT, Asians, women, and disabled veterans or some combination thereof.
The types of professional services they offer include landscaping, inspection services, environmental or civil design/engineering, project and construction management, professional staffing, transportation systems, stormwater management, infrastructure management, and technical communications.
These firms share one common goal, “how do I grow and strengthen my business?” Their questions may vary but their priorities are the same, “help my small business compete in an ever-changing business environment.”
A few common questions include:
  1. How do I market my business to prime contractors who often have their own internal capacity?
  2. How do I recruit and retain talent as a small business?
  3. How do I plan for growth?
  4. What cutting-edge technologies do I need to learn to stay competitive?
The Mentor Protégé program works to answer these questions through regular dialogues with executive sponsors and includes setting clear deliverables on goals.
Monthly Mentor Protégé workshops are open to the public and have included topics like: “Talent Acquisition and Candidate Experience,” “Digital Delivery,” and “Marketing, Teaming and Operations: Keys to Success.”
Workshops are scheduled for noon, every second Thursday of the month. They are free and open to the public. Workshop recordings are available on VTA’s resource page and on the MBC website.
Upcoming Schedule

July 8Business Development: Practices and Tips – Sheila Wray Given, Principal, PGH Wong
August 12Project Management Fundamentals – Len Turner, Turner Construction
September 9Successful Marketing and Teaming: A Prime’s Perspective
A new project management 10-week series will start on September 14 and run through November 16. The course focuses on the major components of a construction project from start to close. Multiple industry experts will facilitate the classes on fundamentals of Assessing & Mitigating Risk, Estimating, Scheduling, Calculating Overhead & Profit, Labor Rates, Safety, Industry Software, Effective Communication, Networking, and more.
Sign up for future workshops and learn about additional VTA contracting opportunities on the BART program.


Behavioral Health Services Center (BHSC)

On May 4, 2020, the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors approved the construction of a new Behavioral Health Services Center (BHSC). The center will house the Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Facility on the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center campus and construction started in late June.
The Minority Business Consortium (MBC), VTA’s choice to augment the Supplier Diversity Program for VTA’s Silicon Valley BART Phase II Project, worked with the county board to create a proposal for this multi-million dollar project that would significantly engage small, minority, and women-owned primes and subcontractors in the area.
The BHSC project is an opportune moment for the county to advance its commitment to greater equity in its construction contracting environment. A pilot program has been developed and aspirational goals were set at 25% for small, 25% for local, and 10% for diverse businesses. There are clear goals and guidelines for good faith efforts and regular monitoring. Strict compliance standards are being applied to the process. The departments within the county’s contracting environment are looking forward to integrating these local small businesses into their processes.
“The board of supervisors understood that the rebuilding of the county’s economy after the devastation that Covid 19 brought must include the small and diverse businesses that suffered greatly during the shut-down,” said Reginald Swilley, partner with Minority Business Consortium. “Opportunities like these can help rebuild the economic climate of the county, strengthen communities that have been left behind, and restore equity in county contracting.”
XL Construction has been selected as the prime contractor for this $233M project. Find out more about BHSC contracting opportunities here or email XL Construction's prequalification team or Roger Moore.

Small Business Success Story

ARC Alternative and Renewable Construction, LLC
Lonnie Coplen, Owner
ARC Alternative and Renewable Construction, LLC (ARC) is a program and construction management company established in 2015, owned and operated by Lonnie Coplen. ARC, who has identified as an LGBT firm on VTA’s BART Silicon Valley Phase II extension project, is
just one of ten companies on the Metropolitan Transportation Commission’s (MTC) Governance Consultant Bench.
Coplen wants people to think of ARC as their risk mitigation partners. ARC approaches each project through the lens of environmental impact. She starts by reframing an old business precept. “Instead of ‘start with the end in mind,’ we emphasize ‘starting and ending with sustainability in mind.’”
Coplen follows VTA’s suggestion to all certified small businesses. “Because we are small, ARC works with larger businesses that can mitigate major business risks due to their experience,” said Coplen.
Ms. Coplen believes that the environment’s “disaster timeframe” is shorter than 2050 as suggested by some experts. “Technology is not the problem: agreeing on the issues and solutions is,” she said. Coplen’s goal is to develop projects with zero impact on the environment. “That can be done much more simply than most people think. Once a zero-impact baseline is defined, clients and communities can work together to find ways to solve the problems completely.”
ARC is a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE); Woman-Owned Business Enterprise (WBE); and, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) certified business. “Often the diversity certification process requires demonstration of months, sometimes years of business experience. Apply for certification anyway. Don’t wait, as agencies are buried by paperwork and it takes time.”
The first real paying work for ARC was for an old friend of Coplen’s who owned a suffering window insulation business. While waiting for her WBE and DBE credentialing, she called to help him out and ended up building an energy-efficiency calculator, which demonstrated the return on investment (ROI) profile of his invention. “I kept at it, and it paid off!” she exclaimed.
Coplen believes certifying as a DBE is worthwhile, saying ARC would not be in business without the DBE and other certifications that they have obtained. “The greatest certification hurdle was framing my sweat equity contribution to ARC.” It was a challenge to find a way to express the value she added, but she was able to do so. Her words of advice are, “Never give up. Follow your passion.”

Upcoming Events

Bay Area Diversity Business Forum
Opportunities for diverse Bay Area firms to learn about a broad range of career, training, and procurement opportunities in one centralized location. The forum will hold monthly meetings to collectively take care of the needs of the diverse community, large public agencies, and major corporations.
• Inaugural Virtual Meeting
   August 10, 12 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.
BuildOUT California
BuildOUT California, the world’s first industry association dedicated to the sustainable development of LGBT/Allied firms in Construction services, Architecture, Engineering and Real Estate Development, has
launched its 100 in 100 Days Program to engage with 100 new LGBTQ/Allied businesses in its core industries. Benefits to participating in this program include connections with key decision-makers from large GCs/Consulting firms who make teaming decisions, advanced technical assistance training in both pre-and post-award service areas, and the ability to participate in the monthly Golden Pitch event to showcase your services/products.
Golden Pitch Events
   Fridays - July 9, August 6, and September 10, 8 – 9 a.m. sharp!
Virtual Crystal Chair Awards Gala
The event will recognize and honor extraordinary women in our community who have made a commitment to dedicate themselves not only to their businesses but to the success of other women business owners.
July 20, 5 – 6:30 p.m.

• Back Together Again Mixer
   August 17
   Silicon Valley Capital Club
   50 West San Fernando
   San Jose, CA 95113
VTA/Silicon Valley Transit Consultants (SVTC)
 • Mentor Protégé Monthly Webinar Workshops
   2nd Thursday of each month, 12 – 1 p.m. • Economic Resources for Small & Diverse Businesses - Webinar
   July 29 Time TBD
10-Week Construction Project Management Course
   Tuesdays – September 14 – November 16, 6 – 9 p.m.
Western Regional Minority Supplier Development Council (WRMSDC) 
Minority Business Enterprise Input Committee (MBEIC) is a part of the WRMSDC and has several upcoming events.
 • MBEIC Monthly Meetings
   Fridays – July 9, August 13, and September 10, 10 – 1:30 p.m.
• Construction Summer Series
   July 28, August 25, and September 22, 2 - 4 p.m.
• Multi Industries Supplier Diversity EXPO
   August 19, Time TBD
• MBE Input Committee’s Open House
   Month Dates and Times TBD

Business Outreach Committee’s (BOC) Local Certifying Agencies

BART: Joseph Towner Jr., (510) 987-5210
CALTRANS: Ayanna Nobles, (510) 286-7030
CA High-Speed Rail: Catrina Blair, (916) 669-6560
SamTrans/Caltrain: Kamal Hubbard, (650) 508-7939
SFMTA: Sheila Evans-Peguese, (415) 701-4436
VTA: Olga Medina, (408) 321-5962

Find Opportunities at Other Bay Area Agencies & Organizations

Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District

Alameda County Transportation Commission

Bay Area Rapid Transit

California Department of Transportation

California High-Speed Rail Authority

Central Contra Costa Transit Authority

City of San Jose
City of San Jose Purchasing
City of San Jose - Office of Economic Development - (408) 535-8181
County of Santa Clara
Katherine Wasserlauf - (408) 491-7400

East Bay Community Foundation Inclusive Economy Showcase
CZI Community Fund
Golden Gate Bridge Highway & Transportation District
Metropolitan Transportation Commission

San Francisco County Transportation Authority

San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency

San Mateo County Transit District

Santa Cruz Metro Transit District
For questions or more information about VTA please contact Customer Service at (408) 321-2300 or Community Outreach at (408) 321-7575.
Copyright © 2021 Valley Transportation Authority, All rights reserved.

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