2015 DISPARITY STUDY

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The Regional Transportation Commission of Washoe County Disparity Study. 

This page provides information about:

  • Disparity Study Background
  • Purpose of the Disparity Study
  • Key Contacts for the Disparity Study
  • Disparity Study Schedule
  • Events
  • Study Team
  • Federal DBE Program
  • Document Library
  • FAQ’s


Disparity Study Background 

Regional Transportation Commission of Washoe County (RTCWC) is part of a consortium that has retained BBC Research & Consulting (BBC) to conduct a disparity study that will provide information to help each participating entity implement the Federal Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Program. The study includes analyses of the participation of minority- and women owned businesses in prime contracts and subcontracts that each participating entity awarded during the study period (Oct 1, 2010 through Sept 30, 2014). Other members of the consortium include Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada (RTCSNV), McCarran International Airport (McCarran), and Reno-Tahoe Airport Authority (RTAA). For the purposes of the study, those agencies and institutions are referred to as “participating entities.” In addition, RTCWC operates the Federal Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Program for certain United States Department of Transportation (USDOT)-funded contracts. RTCWC can use information from the study to refine future implementations of the Federal DBE Program. The study kicked off in August 2015 and is expected to be complete by October 31, 2016.


Purpose of the Disparity Study

The 2015 RTCWC Disparity Study will include a comprehensive analysis of:

  • The percentage of total relevant construction, professional services, goods, and other services contract dollars that minority- and women-owned businesses received on prime contracts and subcontracts between Oct 1, 2010 and Sept 30, 2014 (referred to as utilization)
  • The percentage of dollars that those businesses would be expected to receive based on their availability to perform work on such prime contracts and subcontracts (referred to as availability)
  • Any differences between the participation of minority- and women-owned businesses in relevant contracts and the availability of those businesses to perform that work (referred to as disparities)
  • Legal considerations surrounding implementation of each RTCWC’s Federal DBE Program
  • Marketplace conditions for minorities, women, and minority- and women-owned businesses
  • Contracting practices and assistance programs that RTCWC currently has in place; and
  • Potential program measures that RTCWC could consider implementing as part of its implementation of the federal DBE program or other small business programs. 

 

Key Contacts

If you have any questions or comments regarding the 2015 RTCWC Disparity Study, please
contact:

RTC Primary Contact
Karen Heddy, DBE Liaison Officer
Regional Transportation Commission of Washoe County
1105 Terminal Way, Suite 300
Reno, NV 89502

kheddy@rtcwashoe.com
Phone: (775) 332-9511


Disparity Study Schedule

Description Date
Project Initiation August 2015
Data Collection and Analyses August 2015 through Mayy 2016
Public Hearings September 2015
Draft Data Completion May 2016
Draft Reports Completion August 2016
Final Reports September 2016
 

 

Events

The Regional Transportation Commission of Washoe County (RTCWC) is committed to engaging the public in the 2015 Disparity Study process. Participating entities and the BBC study team will host various events throughout the course of the disparity study to help the public understand the purpose of the study and to offer opportunities for the public and various stakeholders to submit testimony and comments about their experiences with and perceptions of working in the local marketplace. The events schedule will be updated regularly. Please check back periodically for those updates.


Public Forums

Participating entities and BBC will conduct four public forums throughout the state in October 2015. During each meeting, the study team will give a presentation describing the disparity study, including its purpose, methodology, and the study schedule. Following the presentation, attendees will be given the opportunity to submit verbal testimony about their experiences doing work in the local marketplace and to ask questions about the disparity study.

Information about upcoming public forums is presented below:

  • Northern Nevada Public Forums. Two public forums will be held on Wednesday October 21 in the Regional Transportation Commission of Washoe County Villanova Board Room, 2050 Villanova Drive, Reno, NV 89520. The first forum will be held from 9:00-11:00 AM and the second from 6:00-8:00 p.m. (local time). Register here.
  • Southern Nevada Public Forums. Two public forums will be held on Thursday October 22 in the Regional Transportation Commission Southern Nevada Conference Room 108, 600 Grand Central Parkway, Las Vegas, NV 89155. The first forum will be held from 8:30-10:30 AM and the second from 5:30-7:30 p.m. (local time). Register here.


If you have any questions regarding the public forums, you can contact us by using the “Contact Us” section of the webpage.


Business Organization/Trade Association Meetings

The study team will participate in meetings with various local business organizations and trade organizations throughout the state. Each meeting will involve discussions between the study team and executive committee and other members. The study team will also give members an opportunity to share their experiences working in the state and forming and growing their businesses. 

 

Study Team

The study team for the 2015 Regional Transportation Commission of Washoe County Disparity Study is comprised of 5 firms that, considered together, possess decades of experience related to conducting disparity and availability studies:

  • BBC Research & Consulting (BBC) (prime consultant)
  • Ramirez Group (NUCP-certified DBE)
  • Extare Federal Services Group, LLC
  • Holland & Knight, LLP
  • Customer Research International


BBC is considered the premier disparity study firm in the nation. BBC is a national expert in conducting disparity studies and in helping agencies implement minority- and women-owned business programs. BBC has completed nearly 80 disparity studies for cities, states, government agencies, and other entities all across the country. BBC has provided expert testimony related to disparity studies, minority- and women-owned business programs, and the Federal DBE Program on several different occasions, most recently as part of the successful defense of the California Department of Transportation’s (Caltrans’) implementation of the Federal DBE Program—which was based in large part on a 2007 BBC disparity study—in Associated General Contractors of America, San Diego Chapter v. California Department of Transportation, et al.

BBC Primary contact:
Kevin Williams, Managing Director
BBC Research & Consulting
1999 Broadway, Suite 2200
Denver, Colorado 80202-9750
Phone: 303-321-2547, ext. 231

kwilliams@bbcresearch.com

bbcresearch.com

 


Ramirez Group

Ramirez Group is a public relations, advocacy and multicultural outreach firm based in Las Vegas, Nevada. Their diverse and experienced team of experts provides a broad range of services, including issue advocacy, research and analysis, database management, and community outreach. Ramirez Group is the only Hispanic-owned, full-service public relations and consulting agency in Southern Nevada.


Extare Federal Services Group, LLC.

Exstare Federal Services Group, LLC is a 9-year old Alexandria, Virginia-based management consulting firm that specializes in designing high level policies, conducting analytical studies, and providing support services on a range of program development and implementation matters concerning small business programs. The firm routinely assists clients with establishing policies, procedures and practices for disadvantaged business enterprise (DBE) programs and local/small business programs; conducting availability, utilization and disparity studies; conducting compliance reviews; and providing strategic advice and guidance on community outreach initiatives. The firm is African American-owned and a certified DBE in several states.

 

Holland & Knight, LLP

Holland & Knight is a multi‐national law firm and has participated in more than 30 disparity studies with BBC. Holland & Knight also provided substantial litigation support to Caltrans in
the agency’s recent defense of its implementation of the Federal DBE program. BBC employs
Holland & Knight to develop the legal analysis and framework on disparity studies and to consult on legal issues. Holland & Knight also has extensive experience conducting in‐depth anecdotal interviews; collecting and analyzing anecdotal evidence; and assessing potential DBE program measures.


Customer Research International

CRI is a minority‐owned telephone survey firm that has performed telephone interviews for more than 20 BBC availability and disparity studies. CRI will provide staff members that are trained to interview managers and owners of firms as part of the availability and utilization analyses.

 

Federal Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Program

The Regional Transportation Commission of Washoe County (RTCWC) operates the Federal DBE Program for their USDOT-funded contracts. The purpose of the Federal DBE Program is to increase opportunities for minority- and women-owned small businesses to participate in federally funded transportation-related contracts and to address any potential discrimination against DBEs in the awards of those contracts. Chapter 49 Part 26 of the Code of Federal Regulations (49 CFR Part 26) outlines the rules and objectives of the DBE program. As detailed in 49 CFR Part 26, through the Federal DBE Program USDOT intends to accomplish the following objectives:

Ensure nondiscrimination in the award and administration of USDOT-assisted contracts in its highway, transit, and airport financial assistance programs;

  • Create a level playing field on which DBEs can compete fairly for USDOT-assisted contracts;
  • Ensure that implementations of the Federal DBE Program are narrowly tailored in accordance with applicable law;
  • Ensure only firms that fully meet eligibility standards are permitted to participate as DBE’s.
  • Help remove barriers to the participation of DBEs in USDOT-assisted contracts;
  • Assist in the development of minority - and women-owned businesses so that they can compete successfully in the marketplace outside the DBE program; and
  • Provide appropriate flexibility to recipients of federal financial assistance in establishing
    and providing opportunities for DBEs

Federal Regulations

Please use the following links to access federal regulations guiding the implementation of the
Federal DBE Program.


49 CFR Part 26.

49 CFR Part 26 outlines rules that guide the implementation of the Federal DBE Program for recipients of USDOT funds, including RTCWC. For access to the full document, click here.


49 CFR Part 26 – Official Q & A. USDOT offers a Q&A document to provide additional guidance to agencies receiving USDOT funds and implementing the Federal DBE Program. For
access to 49 CFR part 26, click here.


Tips for Goal-setting

USDOT’s Tips for Goal-setting provides fund recipients with additional written guidance on how to set their overall aspirational DBE goals and on how they should project the portions of their DBE goals that could be met through race- and gender-neutral measures. For access to Tips for Goal Setting, click here.


Final Rule

USDOT released a Final Rule effective February 2011 that affects how fund recipients should implement different aspects of the Federal DBE Program, including calculating availability and determining which firms should be considered eligible for DBE certification. For access to the Final Rule, click here.


How to Become Certified

Your business might be eligible for DBE certification if it is owned and operated by a member of a group that USDOT considers to be disadvantaged. For full ownership, revenue, and financial
requirements for DBE certification, click here.

If you think that your business meets the criteria for DBE certification, you should contact the Nevada Department of Transportation Office of Civil Rights or McCarran International Airport.
Both entities are certified authorities for DBE certification and accept, review, and approve or deny all DBE certification applications on behalf of the Nevada Unified Certification Program (NUCP). To access the certification site and the DBE certification application, click here.

Please contact RTCWC’s DBE liaison with any questions:

RTC Primary Contact
Karen Heddy, DBE Liaison Officer
Regional Transportation Commission of Washoe County
1105 Terminal Way, Suite 300
Reno, NV 89502
Email: kheddy@rtcwashoe.com
Phone: (775) 332-9511

 

Library

Nevada Transportation Disparity Study Public Hearing Flier -
Reno-Tahoe Airport Authority, Regional Transportation of Washoe County and Nevada Department of Transportation


FAQ’s

The Regional Transportation Commission of Washoe County (RTCWC) and BBC present answers to frequently asked questions regarding disparity studies.


Q. What is a Disparity Study?

A disparity study examines whether there are disparities, or differences, between:

  • The percentage of dollars that minority- and women owned businesses received on RTCWC’s prime contracts and subcontracts during a particular time period (referred to as a utilization analysis); and
  • The percentage of dollars that those firms would be expected to receive based on their availability to perform on RTCWC’s prime contracts and subcontracts (referred to as an availability analysis).
  • In addition to utilization, availability, and disparity analyses, disparity studies examine other quantitative and qualitative information regarding:
  • Legal considerations surrounding implementations of local minority- and women-owned business programs and the Federal DBE Program;
  • Conditions in the local marketplace for minorities, women, and minority- and women-owned businesses;
  • Contracting practices and business assistance programs that RTCWC currently has in place; and
  • Potential program measures for participating agencies to consider implementing as part of local minority- and women-owned business programs, the Federal DBE Program, or other small business programs.


Q. What will RTCWC do with information from the disparity study?

Information collected as a part of the 2015 Disparity Study will inform RTCWC’s implementation of the federal DBE program. In addition, the study will help RTCWC monitor minority- and women-owned business participation on their contracts.

Among other information, the disparity study will provide RTCWC with an independent, objective review of minority- and women-owned business participation in its construction, professional services, goods, and other services prime contracts and subcontracts. That information will be valuable to RTCWC’s leadership and to external groups that may be
monitoring the entity’s contracting practices. In addition, the study will provide insights about how RTCWC might improve contracting opportunities for local small businesses, many of which are minority- or women-owned.

Q. How can I participate in the disparity study process?

There are several ways in which you can participate in the 2015 RTCWC Disparity Study:

Share your experiences working in the local marketplace by contacting Kevin Williams, Managing Director at BBC Research and Consulting; kwilliams@bbcresearch.com.

Join us for a public forum where you can learn more about the disparity study process, submit verbal testimony, and ask questions. To find out when the BBC study team will be conducting a public forum near you, click here.

Respond to our requests to complete a survey, which will begin taking place in late 2015. If you are a business owner in Nevada, you may be contacted as a part of the utilization or availability survey process. If you are contacted for a survey, please help the study team by responding to the request in a timely manner.

Contact us if you have any unanswered questions about the study.