DPS Stands Out as a Leader with Inclusive Business Practices

HUB award
Thursday, May 30, 2019 - 11:39am

State government has plenty of connections with the business community, using vendors and contractors which creates jobs and economic opportunities. In North Carolina, agencies have been charged to make efforts to provide opportunities that are inclusive of historically underutilized businesses (HUBs). In the past year, DPS jumped to the head of the pack for HUB-inclusive business practices among state departments, and has received special recognition for it.

DPS’ Central Engineering, a section within the division of Adult Correction and Juvenile Justice that manages the department’s expansive construction and facility needs, racked up two awards at the Annual State Construction Conference this past spring. The awards recognize business practices to encourage and include HUBs as vendors. Central Engineering was awarded for its “Outstanding Commitment to the HUB Program and Utilization of HUB Firms.” In addition, Central Engineering Director Jeffrey O’Briant won “Outstanding Individual Contributor to HUB Inclusion Efforts.” Out of the roughly 900 construction professionals present at this conference, and across the state’s entire construction industry, the commitment by O’Briant and his team stood out.

Within the past year, the Central Engineering team resolved a technical issue that had impeded being able to accurately report HUB participation previously. Now, DPS can show that its participation this year is actually the highest among all state departments.

 “There was a collaborative team effort to figure out how to accurately report construction projects.  The team was more than willing to determine a fix to the issue.  The desire was evident,” said Office for Historically Underutilized Businesses Director Tammie Hall, who leads the office that selected winners for these awards. “The entire team was definitely committed to resolving the issue. And we saw the determination, through implementation of inclusive policy and procedure, to encourage small, minority-owned or women-owned business participation.”

Central Engineering, which is essentially the equivalent of a mid-size engineering, architectural design and construction firm, has reviewed and revamped its contractor policies to ensure equal opportunities. “We’ve been more purposeful regarding inclusion of HUB vendors in the bidding process,” O’Briant said. “That inclusiveness has been incorporated throughout the procedures that we’ve set up, from A to Z.”

Central Engineering’s awards are the most recent in a series of honors that DPS has earned for its HUB inclusion efforts. Last August, DPS Purchasing & Logistics received a “HUB Champion Most Improved Award” at a procurement conference. Hall noted that DPS’ purchasing office plays a role in internal training on HUB to speak on industry best practices, and has been a prominent HUB-inclusive presence at expos and workshops.

More information on North Carolina’s HUB initiatives can be found on the Department of Administration’s webpage for the office.

George McCue