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It is the objective of XpressWest Enterprises LLC (XpressWest) that Disadvantaged and Women Business Enterprises will be substantially and significantly engaged in the implementation of the high speed rail project. In furtherance of this objective, the management of XpressWest has voluntarily committed to implement a Small and Disadvantaged Business and Inclusion Initiative (the “Initiative”). All XpressWest personnel associated with contracting, procurement and purchasing for the project will be formally advised of this Initiative, and held accountable for its implementation. In addition, majority prime contractors and suppliers will be advised of the Initiative and will be required to support its goals. Further, XpressWest senior management will actively oversee the implementation of the Initiative and track and evaluate its results on a quarterly basis.
The Initiative will proactively maximize and facilitate opportunities for small and disadvantages business enterprises to participate in the design, construction, operation, and maintenance of the high speed rail project as professional service providers, suppliers, contractors and sub-contractors. The Initiative is a strategic tool that will assist XpressWest to obtain value-added quality services at competitive prices and in so doing generate tangible economic benefits and support the growth of Disadvantaged and Women Business Enterprises.
Overview of the Initiative
To participate in the Initiative, a firm must be a U.S.-based 1 for-profit enterprise that is at least 51% owned and operated by minority individuals or women. 2 Firms must be certified by a nationally recognized supplier diversity certification organization 3 or certified as a “disadvantaged business enterprise” (DBE) or Women Business Enterprise (WBE) as defined in regulations of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). 4
Phase I--Targeted outreach to broadly communicate the XpressWest supplier diversity policy and the Initiative to governmental and non-governmental supplier diversity stakeholders 5 and DBE/WBE organizations. Also, XpressWest will engage in outreach to majority prime contractors who express an interest in contracting opportunities (particularly such contractors that have their own supplier diversity contracting/sub-contracting programs). The prime objective of Phase I will be to develop strong working relationships with these organizations and entities to proactively identify prospective diverse-owned project contractors or suppliers.
Phase II--Analyze, review and develop project contracting and subcontracting opportunities. The management of XpressWest is adopting an overall percentage DBE/WBE participation goal for the project. However, XpressWest reserves the right to establish enhanced goals for any stage or component of the project. The objective in Phase II is to establish well defined and specific contracting participation goals for DBE/WBE professional service providers, contractors and suppliers with regard to the various stages, components and aspects of the project.
Phase III--Establish mechanisms and procedures for disadvantaged and woman-owned firm registration, vetting, evaluation and qualification as potential project contractors. Also, continue outreach efforts to stakeholders and disadvantaged and women-owned firms to ensure that opportunities as well as requirements and standards are clearly communicated and understood. 6 The objective of this phase is to facilitate contract awards to responsive and qualified minority and woman-owned firms.
Phase IV--Create and maintain systems and procedures to monitor the effectiveness of the Initiative in meeting minority and women-owned contractor participation goals. These activities will include collecting information on contract awards and payments at both the prime and sub-contracting tiers. The goal of this phase is to benchmark contracting activities pursuant to the Initiative, analyze results and to develop strategies to address areas of needed improvement.
How will the Initiative be Implemented
XpressWest has identified, and is being advised by, individuals who have substantial professional experience working on matters pertaining to supplier diversity and inclusion and who have long-standing relationships with governmental and non-governmental stakeholders.
Working with its advisors, XpressWest will designate and empower a Coordinator to manage the Initiative and to serve as its central clearinghouse for information and implementation. Once established, the Coordinator will work closely and report to senior XpressWest management.
The Coordinator will have lead responsibility for implementation of each phase of the Initiative. In addition, the Coordinator will have ongoing duties to develop and maintain a responsibility matrix for XpressWest procurement/contracting personnel and to work with them on identifying and realizing DBE/WBE contracting opportunities for all aspects of the project.
2 Minority means Asian-Indian, Asian-Pacific, African-American, Hispanic, or Native American
3 The National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC), the U.S. Pan Asian American Chamber of Commerce and the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) are examples of such organizations.
4 49 C.F.R. Parts 23 and 26
5 Such stakeholders include, for example, the DOT’s Office Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU), the DOT Federal Railway Administration Office of Civil Rights, the U.S. Department of Commerce Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA), NMSDC, WBENC, the National Association of Minority Contractors, and the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials (COMTO).
6 Techniques to be used in accomplishing this include, for example, attend and participate in business opportunity fairs, attend and participate in diverse firm professional organization events, develop, distribute and collect a diverse supplier qualification survey; and develop and distribute print and electronic background materials on the Initiative.
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