Business Diversity Administrators Nicole Pearson and Anita McGoogin are pictured at an outreach event seeking Disadvantaged Business Enterprises to participate in a recent project.

August 3, 2021

Minority-, Women-Owned Subcontractors Sought for Large Project

"From the perspective of the DBE or MBE or WBE, I feel like Haskell gives them every opportunity to be a success," Senior PM Tim Lehman says.


Viewed as a whole, Project Shockwave is a massive effort by Haskell and the Jacksonville Aviation Authority (JAA) to construct a new Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) Complex at Cecil Field, in Jacksonville, Florida.

But up close, a job of such magnitude consists of a million details and requirements. Under contractual terms, roughly $24 million worth of those details, or 20% of the project’s cost, must be addressed by employing Disadvantage Business Enterprise (DBE) contractors, suppliers and vendors.

“We have a 20% goal, and that's complicated even further by having to be certified through the FDOT, which has its own process and qualifications,” Haskell Senior Project Manager Tim Lehman said. “It somewhat limits our pool of available subs. We're open to anything. Concrete is one area we're really targeting, and we’re working to get some second-tier participation through electrical and some of the other trades, whether they procure equipment through a DBE or hire a DBE for a specific component of their work.”

DBEs are for-profit small business concerns in which socially and economically disadvantaged individuals own at least a 51% interest and control management and daily business operations. African Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans, Asian-Pacific and Subcontinent Asian Americans, and women are presumed to be socially and economically disadvantaged. 

In this case, requirements set by JAA for Shockwave call for the involvement of Women’s Business Enterprises (WBE) and Minority Business Enterprises (MBE). Haskell is in the process of a robust outreach campaign led by Anita McGoogin, who represents Haskell on the board of the First Coast Business Alliance and is working in partnership with JAA and other Jacksonville DBE outreach associations to fulfill the goal.

Also, project leaders have reduced the scope of some project components to make the work accessible to as many businesses as possible.

“We try to break packages up some to make it manageable for a newer business that are just getting started out or smaller businesses that just haven’t had this kind of opportunities,” Lehman said. “It can be challenging, because we're dealing with such large projects in general and trying to get companies that aren't used to doing that magnitude of work.”

Haskell has informed JAA that it may need to be open to awarding contracts that aren’t necessarily the lowest or best-value bids. Other projects with similar requirements have shown flexibility when it has been justified.

For example, the Macon (Ga.) Wastewater Treatment Plant project Haskell undertook for the Macon Water Authority (MWA) had a threshold of 20% minority firms from within Macon and Bibb County or the seven surrounding counties. Haskell determined, after reviewing proposals, that 17.5% would be the attainable goal, appealed and received dispensation. As a part of the project, Haskell and its safety and estimating teams conducted several mentoring sessions aimed at Minority Business Enterprises (MBEs). Haskell also identified two Macon-area MBEs for growth and development in order to assist the MWA in the future. Additionally, the project was able to keep 26½ percent of the money within the Macon area.

Set to break ground in Fall 2021, Project Shockwave will offer similar growth opportunities for subcontractors. The job encompasses 64 acres of site development, construction of 360,000 square feet of hangar and support buildings, 56,000 square yards of concrete apron and taxiway and associated demolition, asphalt, concrete, utilities, irrigation, grading, utilities, irrigation, landscaping, signage and markings. Completion is scheduled for mid-2023.

“Working on a project like Shockwave, it's a great experience and a great resume booster,” Lehman said. “Working with Haskell, we offer flexible payment terms for the DBEs, and we really try to give them every opportunity to be successful. So, from the perspective of the DBE or MBE or WBE, it's I feel like Haskell gives them every opportunity to be a success. And getting a few of these projects under their belt will help them be more competitive in the future going after similar projects.”

Haskell’s Procurement and Contracting team is responsible for ensuring all vendors are qualified for each project within Supplier Diversity and Vendor Prequalification standards. This group includes Teri Williams, the SBLO/Prequalification Manager; McGoogin and Nicole Pearson, Business Diversity Administrators; Kimberly Stephenson and Mary McFarland, the Vendor Prequalification Analysts; and Juliana Barraza and Alecia Taylor, the Vendor Prequalification Coordinators.

In addition to Shockwave, Haskell has opportunities for DBEs to contribute to public- and private-sector projects through its many job sites and 20-plus offices across the country. Those interested in participating on a Haskell project should follow this link for more information and all prequalification forms.

Haskell delivers $2± billion annually in Architecture, Engineering, Construction (AEC) and Consulting solutions to assure certainty of outcome for complex capital projects worldwide. Haskell is a global, fully integrated, single-source design-build and EPC firm with over 2,200 highly specialized, in-house design, construction and administrative professionals across industrial and commercial markets. With 20+ office locations around the globe, Haskell is a trusted partner for global and emerging clients.

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