A three-pronged Los Angeles regional program — consisting of the City of Los Angeles, Los Angeles County Metro, and the County of Los Angeles — has been created to help small and diverse contractors in bidding and obtaining work on infrastructure development and other publicly funded construction projects.
The regional Contractor Development and Bonding Program (CDABP) provides bonding assistance, contract financing, technical support, education, training, and other services to under-represented businesses.
The addition of a CDABP at the County of Los Angeles has led to the creation of a new regional CDABP website and to expanded outreach and supportive services in order to help contractors access billions of dollars in infrastructure work, a sector that will soon expand even more with the signing of the $1.2 trillion federal infrastructure investment plan, formally known as the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA).
All three prongs are being administered by Merriwether & Williams Insurance Services (MWIS), which has many years of experience working on public construction contracting and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) issues statewide.
“Los Angeles is a diverse region with so many talented business owners, and we need to use all their talents and optimize competition to have the greatest local economic impact of regional contracting dollars,” said Ingrid Merriwether, CEO of MWIS. “We need to break down the barriers that have prevented many small and diverse groups from accessing public contracts. This program will help to create greater equity in regional public contracting. This is an inclusionary program to build a stronger region.”
Bonding and access to contract funding can be major impediments for small and diverse contractors to be able to bid and successfully participate on public works projects. The regional CDABP helps reduce these and other barriers. For example, the program assists small and diverse businesses in securing bonds by providing collateral guarantees which enable them to bid and qualify for contracts.
By increasing access to contract funding, the program addresses the burden of cash flow gaps that exist between the initial cost for the work and the later receipt of progress payments, gaps that can be 60 days or more. In addition, the CDABP provides extensive business specific technical assistance, training, project completion support, networking and matchmaking facilitation, as well as other contractor support services.
The businesses assisted include disadvantaged, minority, small, women, and disabled veteran owned business enterprise categories (i.e., DBE, MBE, SBE, WBE, and DVBE). All regional CDABP services are provided at no cost to participants, giving them a more level playing field from which to compete.
“There are more contracting opportunities coming to localities, including the Los Angeles region, related to the $1.2 trillion infrastructure investment plan (i.e., the IIJA), which marks its one-year anniversary on November 15, 2022,” said Merriwether.
“If you are a small and diverse business, the regional CDABP can assist you in competing for upcoming construction contracts. There is an ever-increasing demand for more small, local, and diverse business inclusion in public contracting. We are expanding our outreach, which includes upcoming trainings, workshops, and academies — as well as financial resources. Contact us. We want to hear from you and include you.”
One beneficiary of CDABP assistance is Ernie Moreno, owner of Marne Construction, a DVBE, MBE, and SBE in Southern California that specializes in concrete and asphalt paving and related engineering work.
“My company has benefited greatly from the Contractor Development and Bonding Program,” said Moreno, who was a corporal and infantry squad leader in the U.S. Marine Corps. “For example, we learned about a $10 million project at Los Angeles World Airports and needed bonding assistance since this was larger than what we typically bid on. The CDABP helped us qualify for the bond, and we won the contract, our biggest ever. My staff and I are busy. We are thankful to this amazing program. It is an inclusionary program that benefits disabled veteran and small and diverse businesses, our communities, society, and our country.”
Small and diverse businesses are encouraged to participate in the Los Angeles regional CDABP. To obtain more information, go online to the new regional CDABP website at www.LAConDev.com, send an email to MWISInfo@imwis.com, or call (213) 258-3000.